What Is Wave Season and How Can You Take Advantage of It - My Family Travels

Ready to ride during Wave Season? No, not a surf lesson. We’re talking about Wave Season, the period from January through March when you will find some of the best cruise deals of the year. 

Family with couple and two children in summer outfits are posing with hands in the air on Carnival cruise ship deck.
“Choose Fun. Together.” is the motto of Carnival Cruise Lines, whose ships sail from more homeports across the USA than any other. Photo c. Carnival

According to CruiseCritic.com, the cruise industry created “Wave Season” to combat traditionally soft bookings post-holidays. They promote perks, upgrades and enticing deals to encourage first-time and experienced cruisers to book. If you’re not taking an amazing winter getaway, sit down and book a cruise today.

Watch for everything from deeply discounted deposits, free flights and cabin upgrades to complimentary WiFi and drinks packages. That’s on top of low nightly cruise fares.

Carnival Cruises’ Wave Season Deals

Two couples dining on the verandah deck of a Seabourn ship enjoying a meal together and toasting each other.
Dine on fresh, locally sourced cuisine at Earth & Ocean, one of Seabourn’s many gourmet eateries included in rates. Photo c. S. Martin for Seabourn

Carnival Cruise Line, which historically carries more kids than any other, has some great Wave Season deals. Your family can book a cruise, for example, for less than $100 a person per day.  Check the Carnival website for the best deals.

Carnival, incidentally, operates from more U.S. homeports than any other cruise line. That means that half the U.S. population lives within a five-hour drive to one of them. Driving to your cruise embarkation guarantees your family saves immediately by not buying flights.

Mardi Gras, sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida, has proved a big hit with its different complimentary food options (including Shaq’s Big Chicken.) Families love the organized programming for potty trained  kids as young as 2, the first roller coaster at sea, and the expansive water park. Fares include plenty of entertainment and adult-only areas to enjoy.

Luxury cruisers traveling with adult kids or friends can find The Suite Life deals on all-inclusive Seabourn ships. Small, intimate luxury cruises sell during Wave Season for 15% off ocean voyages.

At Seabourn, get 25% off their new cruises to the Arctic, Antarctica, the Amazon and more. Book by the end of February to sail on Seabourn’s purpose built expedition ships for a true bucket list adventure.   

Princess Cruises in Asia and Alaska On Sale

Man holding two fish he has caught in Alaska on a Princess Cruise Lines excursion.
If you’re lucky, catch your own supper on a Princess Cruise in Alaska and enjoy it together the same night. Photo c. Princess Cruise Lines.

Princess Cruises, popular with families, has announced it will begin homeport sailing in Japan starting in Mid-March. Look for Princess’ 43 unique itineraries including ones focusing on festivals (attend seven of them!) and spring cherry blossoms.

Princess Cruises’ Best Sale Ever is back with up to 35% off cruise fares. Book during Wave Season for up to $150 onboard spending money and more incentives. Purchase Princess Plus or Premier packages for the whole family and the savings are even greater.

Many families opt to cruise with Princess in Alaska. At select ports, choose a fishing shore excursion and have the Princess chefs serve your catch at dinner exactly the way you like it. Menus on board Princess ships feature dishes inspired by local eateries. In Alaska, enjoy everything from Juneau’s favorite crab cakes to Ketchikan’s fish tacos and Skagway’s famous seafood chowder.

Wave Season Washes Over Holland America Lines

Holland America's Westerdam ship sails past a shelf of glaciers in Glacier Bay, Alaska.
See Alaska’s unbellievable glaciers up close when you book a top value Wave Season package aboard Holland America. Photo c. HAL

Holland America Lines is especially popular with multigenerational families. Families especially like Holland America’s “Alaska Up Close” program that deeply immerses guests in the local culture with authentic onboard programming. Cruise Alaska with HAL for special cruise activities and shore excursions. Onboard, experts lead workshops and talks exploring locals’ stories. HAL supports sustainable seafood programs too. The company’s six ships in Alaska serve more than 2,000 pounds of Alaska salmon and 800 pounds of Alaska halibut per cruise, among the seafood offerings. 

Having just celebrated its 150th anniversary cruising in Alaska, HAL has now added pickleball courts to its fleet. Save on learning the latest recreation craze. Take complimentary beginner lessons from shipboard instructors who teach guests the basics of playing pickleball. If you need more instruction, “How to Play Pickleball” tutorial videos play on in-stateroom TVs.

Through Feb. 28, 2023, guests who book select Holland America summer 2023 to spring 2024 cruises receive a free stateroom upgrade, fare discounts, free fares for kids and reduced deposits. Additionally, Wave Season bookers can select the “Have It All” premium package for complimentary tours, beverages, specialty dining and Wi-Fi. There are also kids-free deals; note that taxes, fees and port expenses are extra. As a bonus, HAL cruisers who book by Jan. 31, 2023, also receive up to $400 per stateroom onboard credit, depending on the length of the cruise.

Luxury Cunard Rides In With 30% Off Sale

A fancy afternoon tea with champagne in the Verandah restaurant on a Cunard cruise ship.
We love the High Tea aboard Cunard ships, designed with treats for all ages in the British style. The daily event is included in Wave Season packages. Photo c. Cunard

Luxury cruise line Cunard’s partnership with the legendary Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) brings experts from the RCGS on 2023 voyages in Alaska. Alternatively, opt for their Canada and New England fall foliage cruises in September. RCGS speakers are part of Cunard’s renowned Insights onboard enrichment program on these itineraries.

Cunard began its famous transatlantic service between the United Kingdom and the U.S. over 182 years ago which continues today. Their ships still have the only kennels at sea to accommodate passengers relocating overseas. Cunard also now sails in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Europe and other destinations. We love their afternoon High Tea served on all cruises. And besides organized activities for kids and teens, families appreciate the complimentary Night Nursery for children aged 6-23 months.  

Get up to 30% off and up to $2,000 onboard credit when you book a Grills Suite during Wave Season. On Cunard, drinks are part of the deal as long as you book by March 28, 2023.

Cruise Critic updates Wave Season cruise deals throughout deals season. If you’re online a lot, follow #cruisedealsforall and see what you can find. A travel advisor can also help you find the best deal and choose from the bewildering array of cruise lines, itineraries and cabin choices. Find a cruise expert near your home at the Cruise Lines International Association website.

Bon Voyage!

Eileen Ogintz is creator TakingtheKids.com and an avid cruiser. This post is sponsored by Carnival Corporation & PLC, parent company of Carnival, Holland America, Princess, Seabourn and Cunard Lines among others.

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2 Replies to “What Is Wave Season and How Can You Take Advantage of It”

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