Cruising is one of the most popular vacation choices. A cruise can bring travelers to half a dozen destinations in a single two week trip. In the last few decades, this industry has seen tremendous growth. Taking a cruise also eliminates the need to make complicated travel arrangements. Cruise travelers also enjoy many amenities along the way such as fantastic, world class menus, maid service and access to pools and entertainment each night. When looking for the right cruise, it makes sense to seek out the best possible deal. Using a few techniques can help make any cruise more affordable. A cruise deal can also help the traveler enjoy a better placed cabin and even have more fun on shore excursions.
A Few Basics
Before starting a search for a cruise, keep in mind a few basic principles. The industry is booming and deals are everywhere. You can find cruise ships that will take you to all continents and nearly all countries. If you like Europe, you can discover cruises that will bring you to port cities like Venice and Stockholm. You can also find cruises that will take you all over Central America and even through the Panama Canal. It’s important to think about your favored destination as well as your price range and the number of people who will be with you the trip.
Flexibility is Key
One of the best ways to get a fantastic deal is to be as flexible as possible with your cruise dates. Keep in mind that cruises, like many other vacations, have high seasons. You will pay more for a cruise during Christmas or New Year’s Eve than for a cruise at the start of January. You’ll also pay more if you want to cruise during the summer when kids are out of school. Some of the least expensive times to travel are during the fall and after New Year’s.
Work With Cruise Sites Directly
While working with a travel site that offers multiple potential deals can seem like a good idea, this is not necessarily where you will find the best rates. You might be better off looking up the cruise companies you like and then heading for their websites. This takes out the middleman and makes it easier for you find out specifics.
Last Minute is Not Best
Many people think that booking last minute can save a lot of money. However, this isn’t true. Cruise ships want to fill cabins. Cruise ship owners do not want to wait until the very last minute because this makes it hard to plan. They’ll often offer you a few special tokens like drinks but they’re going to give away the cabin for a song.
Cruise Line Sales Can be Misleading
These deals seem like a great thing to catch. Just be aware that many cruise lines run lots of deals all year long. Just because you see a deal today doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be there tomorrow.
Older Ships May Be Cheaper
The latest new ships are often in high demand. This makes the older ships a better place to find fabulous deals. An older ship goes to just as many places as the larger, newer ships. Many are also just as comfortable. However, they may not offer those amusement parks amenities many people have come to expect. If you don’t need that huge water slide, you can save money booking a trip on a slightly older ship. They’re just as safe. The savings can be remarkably huge even when one company owns both boats.
Know How Rooms are Priced
In general, you will pay less for rooms that are on lower decks. The savings can be up to ten bucks a day or even more. You’re only going to be in your cabin to sleep. The rest of the time, you’ll be eating, dancing and exploring the location. Consider a lower deck or a cabin to the front or back and you’ll find lots of deals.
Ignore the Wave Season
Many cruise lines promote what they call a wave season. This is from January to March when people are cold and want to get away to a warmer destination. However, it’s also when many people don’t get vacation time. While you can save money by traveling then, the deals are not always all that cheaper than what you might find during other seasons.
You Don’t Have to Book So Far in Advance
If you’re planning a cruise next year, you don’t have to book it immediately. A cruise in August is going to have a specific cost whether you book it in March or May. Take the time to find the right cruise but remember you don’t have to jump this second. A lot can happen in six months.
Don’t Pay in Full
Even if you find the perfect cruise, it’s best not to pay in full immediately. Put a small deposit in case something goes wrong. Something can also go wrong on their end such as bad weather. In that case, it might take months to get your deposit back.
Monitor Your Cruise Rate
Keep a close eye on the rates of your cruise. If prices drop, you might be able to get a bigger discount even after you’ve paid. If you have a small deposit, you’ll have even leverage with the cruise company and a potentially larger discount.