How is booking a cruise like buying a car? Well, once you pay for it, the seller doesn’t want to hear from you again. Until you’re ready to buy another. And should the price of the vacation you’ve already bought go down, they really don’t want to hear from you. (Currently, an October cruise we booked with a nice discount in January was being advertised in August for a lot less, along with incentives like free cabin upgrades and on-board credits.) So perhaps you can benefit from a few things we’ve learned. As with many corporations that deal in sales, cruise companies’ best deals seem to emerge just in time to boost quarterly numbers: end of March, June, September and especially December when important end-of-year figures are tallied. Vacation discounters advise booking only 30-90 days in advance for the best prices. It’s also probably a good idea to be fully happy (like us) that the itinerary and the price are both to your satisfaction. And to avoid checking (unlike us) on what the updated offers may be after you’ve paid. Jay (shown here with our ship in the background) and I are looking forward to our next Windstar cruise, happy that we got a good deal, and only slightly miffed to learn that we could have done a smidgen better had we been earlier or later with our purchase. We’ll just take extra shampoo and moisturizer from the excellent on-board bathroom amenities.