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Wave Season Is Here! Why Now Is The Best Time To Book Cruises in 2024

Auto Club travel agents share tips and offer new trends in the cruise industry


Wave season, when cruise lines run their best deals, is upon us again. The period typically stretches from January through March. This year’s top cruising trends show that travelers are tailoring their experiences to meet their unique wants and needs, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California. Auto Club travel advisors say smaller ships, solo trips, and splurge-worthy suites are some of the biggest trends for 2024.

B-roll Video for Editors/Reporters

Ocean Cruising video (Click link to view and download)
River Cruising video (Click link to view and download)


“Cookie-cutter trips are a thing of the past. Today, travelers are looking for one-of-a-kind experiences,” said Jena Miller, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services. “We’re seeing an increase in expedition cruises, solo cruise passengers, and sold-out balcony cabins and suites. All of that tells us travelers are willing to be adventurous and spend more to have an unforgettable cruise vacation.”

Another significant trend is that more travelers are booking cruises earlier, in some cases more than a year in advance.

“Savvy travelers are wasting no time getting their cruise vacations on the books to ensure they get the itineraries, cabins, and shore excursions they want,” said Miller. “And because inventory is limited with increased cruising interest, a travel agent can provide valuable insight and value when booking. For example, AAA members get exclusive benefits in addition to discounts that may already be offered by cruise companies. Travel agents can find you deals and ensure you’re booking the right cruise for you.”

Smaller Ships

Expedition cruises are growing in popularity with more travelers looking to get up-close and personal with nature. Top destinations include the Arctic Circle, Antarctica, the Galápagos, and the Northwest Passage.

·      First-Timer? Try HX (Hurtigruten Expeditions) to the Galápagos Islands. The MS Santa Cruz II offers some of the best island coverage and wildlife viewing opportunities in the Galápagos. With multiple naturalist guides aboard the Santa Cruz II, travelers can choose from a wide range of activities including hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, and touring on a glass-bottom boat.

·      Regular Cruiser? Try Seabourn to the Northwest Passage. Join the Seabourn Venture for a 23-day journey sailing from Greenland to Nome, Alaska through the Canadian Arctic. Along the way, the 24-person expedition team will deliver immersive experiences by land and sea. Indulge in the luxurious amenities of the all-inclusive ship with complimentary spirits, wine, and caviar.

Solo Trips

More travelers are booking cruise vacations just for themselves. According to the Cruise Lines International Association, cruise line companies are taking notice and increasing the number of single cabins in new ships and retrofitting some of their existing ships to better accommodate solo passengers.

·      First-Timer? Try Celebrity Cruises to the Caribbean. On the Celebrity Ascent, you can find the Edge Single Infinite Veranda stateroom designed exclusively for singles. These cabins take your room right to the water’s edge, giving you open air access to the sea with the touch of a button.

·      Regular Cruiser? Try AmaWaterways to Europe. European river cruises are growing in popularity, and for solo travelers, they offer an intimate atmosphere conducive to meeting other passengers. Pro tip: AmaWaterways often has sales that waive the single supplement fee.

Splurge-Worthy Suites

Higher-priced cabins are selling out fast. AAA Travel has seen a spike in early bookings of balcony cabins and luxury suites. These prime categories are selling out faster than before, so travelers looking to splurge on their next cruise vacation should book well in advance.

·      First-Timer? Try Royal Caribbean to the Bahamas. On Utopia of the Seas, families can book the Ultimate Family Suite. A two-story, three-bedroom suite that sleeps up to 10 guests. The suite has a cinema, karaoke station, private whirlpool on the balcony, and even a slide to go from the second floor to the first.

·      Regular Cruiser? Try Regent Seven Seas Cruises in the Mediterranean. The Regent Suite on the new Seven Seas Grandeur is the largest suite at sea at almost 4,500 square feet. This two-bedroom, two-bath suite has its own spa with sauna, steam room, and jacuzzi, plus two wrap-around balconies, a six-seat dining room, and a baby grand piano.

Browse more cruises and find travel inspiration on Trip Canvas, AAA’s free travel-planning tool.

About AAA

Started in 1902 by automotive enthusiasts who wanted to chart a path for better roads in America and advocate for safe mobility, AAA has transformed into one of North America’s largest membership organizations. Today, AAA provides roadside assistance, travel, discounts, financial and insurance services to enhance the life journey of 64 million members across North America, including 57 million in the United States. To learn more about all AAA has to offer or to become a member, visit

Media Contacts

Doug Shupe
LA-based media contact
(512) 659-1632

Anlleyn Venegas
Public Affairs Specialist. English/Spanish Language Media Spokesperson
(619) 565-4556

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The Automobile Club of Southern California is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the following California counties: Inyo, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura.