Cruises are one of the most desirable vacations available. If you’re one of the many people who would love to experience the fun, adventure and luxury of a cruise, but have written it off as too expensive, check out these tips for finding great discount cruises.
As you would expect, longer cruises tend to be more expensive. Choosing your cabin is main factor in cost as well. Many cruise lines offer relatively spacious suites, cabins with balconies, cabins with outside views, or inside cabins, which are the least expensive. If all you want to do in the cabin is sleep, and change clothes for your next activity, then the inside cabin is the best value for your money. If the scenery is one of the major reasons you are taking the cruise, you may want to spend the extra money to have a balcony.
Cruises during the summer or during times that are traditionally school holidays can be more expensive because that is when demand is highest. Many families with children can travel only at that time. Just like with hotels, deals can be found in the “shoulder” seasons for cruises. Cruising in the autumn months, after the kids are back in school, can often be a bargain.
Cruise lines themselves, just like hotel chains, have different price levels. Some are clearly designed for the budget conscious, such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival. But there are even cruise lines that are in the luxury category such as Cunard line and Seabourn. You have to understand which amenities and level of service are offered by each cruise to understand what truly constitutes a bargain fare.
The law of supply and demand affects the discounts available. If you want to go on a cruise to a less popular or remote destinations, such as Tahiti and the South Pacific, you may find it more difficult to obtain a discounted cruise than you would for, say a 7 day Caribbean cruise, which is offered by a number of cruise lines with large ships and has the capacity for several thousand passengers.
Remember to factor all the costs of the trip into your budget, not just the cruise price itself. Airfare can be a consideration. One saving strategy is to find a cruise that leaves from a port close to where you live, so you can drive there. Californians, for example, can save by going on a Mexico cruise that departs from nearby Los Angeles, and enjoy the same type of experience they would with a Caribbean cruise that they would have to fly across the country to meet the ship.
Traditionally, meals–breakfast, lunch, and dinner–are included as part of the cost of the cruise. But other activities may not be, such as visit to the ship’s luxury spa, or excursions or sports activities such as sport diving. To get a true view of what you get for your discounted fare, make sure you know what is included and what is not.
As a budget savvy traveler, your goal is more than finding the “cheapest” cruise. That could end up being a disappointing, even frustrating experience, much like booking a hotel room that advertises “ocean view” rooms and when you get there you find out you would need a telescope or a vivid imagination to get any glimpse of the sea. What you want to do is find the best value, in other words the richest experience for the lowest cost. To do so requires considerable research, and for that your best resource is the online travel store that deals in cruises, and has a large number of choices available. Also, you will be able to find online reviews by other travelers, which can give you a better idea of what to expect on a given cruise. Be careful, though, because the reviews can be skewed toward the negative, simply because people who have had a negative travel experience are more likely to post a review.
Online Travel Stores
Websites that sell cruises are a great tool for the budget conscious traveler. The sites that deal in heavy volume can offer rates that reflect the lower prices they are able to negotiate with the cruise lines because of the amount of business they do. They are also valuable sources of information for the first time or novice cruiser, who generally has a difficult time choosing the cruise that best suits their needs. The websites allow you to make a travel inquiry and get your questions answered via e-mail or phone call. They offer unbiased opinions about the relative merits of the various types of cruise experiences available.
Book Your Cruise Early — or Late
If you can plan your trip well in advance, three months or so, it is possible to find cruise lines that offer specials on these advance bookings. The savings can be up to 20%. In the event the advertised price drops even lower prior to departure, the cruise line may even make up the difference to you. The other extreme is last minute booking. If the cruise is not sold out in the days or weeks before departure, some cruise lines offer deeply discounted prices–50% or more, so they can fill up the ship. One strategy is to bookmark the websites that list these deeply discounted cruises as they become available, and keep checking back, because the cruise you want may only be available at the discounted price for a few days or even a few hours because it sells out. If you are self-employed or retired, or have a flexible schedule, you can take advantage of these savings and still experience the cruise you want.
Both early booking and last minute booking require you to have already selected your ideal cruise. Do your online research and find the destinations you are most interested in visiting, the on board activities you are looking for, the size of the ship, and the price category. Remember, you may be able to find discounts for even the upscale cruise experiences, not just with the cruise lines that are already modestly priced.
By Johan1127 from Pixabay