Dont Forget To Factor In Gratuities
Tips for cruise staff members are an important cost that youll need to factor in.
Gratuities are charged per person, per day and added on to your bill for you to pay at the end of your cruise. The fees vary depending on the cruise line but are often around $15 per person, per day. When you add those on, a seven-night cruise for a family of four can cost an extra $400, or more.
However, not all cruise lines charge extra for gratuities. Some include gratuities in the ticket price of your cruise.
Cruise lines which dont charge extra for gratuities are:
- Celebrity Cruises
How To Get Last Minute Cheap Cruise Deals
Doug advises that you start with a travel agent, as they have relationships with the cruise companies and can often get better rates and last-minute deals. And my experience has me agreeing. While there are many do it yourself options, travel agents often can find much lower prices and can act as liaison to cruise companies when something goes wrong.
If you want to go with the do it yourself angle, you only need to go to these three best websites for finding a cheap cruise:
These websites do a detailed job of scouring the web for cheap cruise deals. Vacations to Go is more of a travel agent/operator and thus often has better deals since they can negotiate with the cruise lines directly, but keep in mind that they add a lot of fees. Cruise Sheet is simply a website aggregator that crawls the web and then displays cheap last-minute fares. This is my favorite cruise site, as it seems to find all the deals and makes finding a cheap cruise easy.
In terms of timing, dont book early. As Doug states, the only benefit to booking early is to secure the room you want. If you want a specific cabin, book early. Otherwise, wait until the last minute. As I said in the beginning, cruise companies dont want to sail empty ships and so do heavy last-minute discounting be sure to sign up for cruise company newsletters to stay informed!
Tweet Your Way To Savings
Tech-savvy shoppers can try Twitter for last-minute cruise bargains. Just about every agent and agency — including Cruisedeals.com , Cruise.com and Best Travel Deals — is tweeting its best cruise deals. Take it a step further by customizing a list of deal tweeters using Twitter’s list function, in essence creating your own deals aggregator.
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Save At Least 60% With Expert Tips Tricks And Hacks
Whilst this article has given an overview of the cheapest cruises, I realise that not everyone wants bargain-basement holidays like I do! What if you want luxury for less? A balcony cabin or a suite? An exotic destination? A cruise and stay holiday?
Many of you will no doubt be familiar with Emma Cruises who has a very popular YouTube channel and cruise blog.
Like me, shes an expert in finding cheap cruise deals, but Emma has taken things so much further by developing an incredible online course entitled How to Cruise for Less.
Emmas course details the tips, tricks and hacks that she uses to cruise for $50 per night whilst securing upgrades and freebies. It contains video lessons, cheat sheets, checklists and handy tools to help you save at least 60% on advertised cruise prices.
As well as helping you to save money when booking your cruise, Emma will also teach you how to choose the best cruise line for your family, how to pack your suitcase like a pro and how to save money whilst youre on-board as well.
Emma is one of the worlds leading cruise experts and the opportunity to have her provide tailored advice before you hit the book button is priceless.
The best part? Emmas How to Cruise for Less course is super cheap! Youll easily make that money back, and so much more, with the savings youll make when you come to book your next cruise.
How Do I Find The Best Last Minute Cruise Deals
Its easy! Check out our last-minute cruises and youll find the last cabins available for voyages happening in the next 180 days. While you might think these cruise holidays will cost more, these last-minute cruise deals can be more affordable as the cruise line wishes to bring aboard as many people as possible before it sets sail! As such youll often find cruise deals and cruise sale offers for a majority of these last-minute voyages. If youre in need of the best cheap cruise deals Australia has on sale today online, this is the best place to be. Well make sure you receive the lowest cruise prices on all the cruise holidays we have on sale. For massive deals to all the major destinations across the globe, look to no other place than Cruise Guru for all your cruise holidays.
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How Do You Get A Free Royal Caribbean Cruise
Believe it or not, you can get a free Royal Caribbean cruise. For reals.
Free cruise offers always sound suspicious, and with good reason. There are plenty of scams on the internet that promise free cruises, but there are also some sanctioned ways to get a free cruise.
What constitutes “free”? Essentially, an offer to not pay anything more for the cruise fare . That is not to say you may not have to spend money elsewhere in order to qualify for a free cruise.
In addition, a free cruise means you will still have to pay for cruise add-on costs, such as gratuities, shore excursions, drinks, etc. Plus there are other travel expenses that may be required to get you to and from the cruise.
Here is what you need to snag a free cruise.
Book At The Last Minute
For those who can be spontaneous, flexibility can pay off. Check out our last minute cruise deals section, which features bargains on a variety of sailings leaving within 90 days — 90 days out being the typical point at which final cruise payments are due. In general, there are always plenty of Caribbean and Mediterranean cruise deals.
Other hard-to-fill cruises — such as shoulder season cruises and one-way repositioning sailings, where open-jaw airfare is required — can be deeply discounted at the last minute. Of course, booking last-minute airfare might wipe out any savings. Plus, you’ll have a limited selection of cabin locations and dinner seatings. But, if you’re flexible and can drive to a cruise port — or have plenty of frequent flier airline points to burn — it’s a great way to take a cruise without breaking the bank.
Related:Last Minute Cruising: Tips for Getting a Deal
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The Best Cheap Cruise Destinations
The cheapest cruise destination for you will usually be not too far from home. If you can drive to the cruise port rather than flying, youll save hundreds straight away as you wont need to pay for a flight or pre-cruise hotel.
If you live in the UK, choose a cruise that departs from a UK port. Southampton is the most popular cruise port in the UK and it handles over 90% of UK departures.
If you live in the US, youll find that most cruises depart from the various cruise ports in Florida, although you can also embark in Texas, New York, Louisiana, Alaska, Washington, California and Massachusetts, amongst others.
Be sure to look up your nearest port and see which ships sail from there to see if you can save on airfare.
The Scoop On Shore Excursions
For a first timer, these can be confusing. Details arent often added to an itinerary until six months or so before sail date check back regularly, snap up a place on any excursions that are of interest, and book earlypopular options can reach capacity long before sailing. In pre-pandemic times, it was easy to go off-menu and arrange private excursions, using independent companies, which can often be cheaper than the line’s options. But as cruising restarts, the focus on the ships own bubble, keeping passengers and crew together and safe, might mean these independent options aren’t available. Check the rules when you book, and keep checking as protocols like these are inevitably in flux.
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Rule #: Dont Buy The Wave Season Hype
You might have heard of wave season. This time of year running from January through March is supposed to be when the cruise lines offer the best deals. Thats due to the cold weather in most of the country making people think of warmer places combined with the passing of the Christmas holiday.
Our take? Wave season is hyped up, similar to Black Friday. Sure there may be good offers but not enough to keep us from booking a good deal when we see one a different time of year.
Remember, if everyone waited until the wave season deals, then the cruise lines wouldnt have anyone book the other nine months of the year. Youll find that the deals offered arent that much different than those found the rest of the year.
Arrange A Group To Get A Group Rate
The more people you bring on your cruise, the cheaper it can become. This can be anything from your family to a group of hundreds.
Cruise lines that are good for families will often run specials for free or reduced fares for your 3rd and 4th guests. This allows you to bring your kids or another couple along for free.
Bigger groups like clubs or other organizations can arrange large group cruises. The organizer can reserve hundreds of staterooms on one cruise ship and get a discounted rate, very similarly to how conventions reserve many rooms in a hotel for a cheaper rate. Organizations can arrange conventions and events on cruise ships, too.
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Cruise In Shoulder Seasons
If you can go on a cruise in the slower times of the year, referred to as the shoulder season, you can net some deeply discounted cruise prices. These are times of the year when most guests are unable or unwilling to go on a cruise. Typically this is when school is still in session and/or immediately before or after a common time for vacations.
If you want to target these slower times of the year, consider cruises during:
- First two weeks of February
- Early May
Rule #: Dont Think There Is A Magic Website With Cheaper Cruise Fares
The cruise line website, Expedia, Cruises.com, Travelocity the list of sites where you can search for cruises is endless. The odd thing? They usually all have the exact same rates.
We researched the most popular sites for an upcoming Carnival cruise, comparing prices with the cruise lines official website. Weve tabulated the prices we found below:
So which site should you use?
We generally suggest booking through the cruise lines website. We like this because it takes out the middleman in booking your cruise. Should there be an issue, you can call the cruise line directly and everything is dealt with through their site.
However, many third-party sites can have special deals such as onboard credit thats not available if booking through the cruise line. We seen up to $750 in onboard credit just for booking through these types of sites, depending on their offers.
Read:The Best Websites to Book a Cruise
As well, third-party sites take your search across multiple cruise lines. So instead of just searching for Carnival cruises to the Caribbean in October, you can search every cruise line potentially finding a cheaper cruise with another line. Meanwhile, you typically wont pay any more than booking directly from the cruise line.
If you know the cruise line youd like to sail, we suggest booking directly through them. If you are open, then third-party websites give you the ability to search more cruise lines and itineraries to find a better price.
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Are Cruises Cheaper In Wave Season
In the cruise industry, the period from right after Christmas, through to February is known as wave season because cruise lines see a big wave of bookings around January.
The reason for this wave is that Christmas is out of the way and people start to think about what they want to do in the coming year. Thoughts naturally turn to travel and marketers cash in on this by offering incentives to get people to book cruises.
Is January a good time to book a cruise? Possibly. There are some good deals. But there are also some medicre deals that are disguised as good deals. Just keep your wits about you and dont jump to book just because you saw a January Sale banner.
Make The Most Of Past Passenger Discounts
Like frequent fliers, frequent cruisers are able to benefit from brand loyalty. Sticking with one line means earning perks like nightly cocktails in private lounges, free laundry, complimentary dinners in alternative restaurants and even free cruises once you’ve earned enough “credits” — all things you’d typically have to pay for. Past passengers can also take advantage of special discounted sailings throughout the year, or be entitled to book new itineraries before the general public can.
Related:Cruise Line Loyalty Programs
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Bring The Whole Family
If you’re willing to book in bulk, most cruise lines will offer free berths, depending on the number of passengers in the group. For instance, Princess Cruises offers a Tour Leader/Conductor credit based on 16 lower berths booked. The ratio is reduced for small-ship and luxury lines, so you might only have to get a group of 10 to earn a free berth. Group leaders can choose to spread the savings across the group or keep it all for themselves. Groups can get other perks, as well. For example, in addition to offering a free berth for every 10 passengers booked, luxury line Crystal throws in extras like onboard credit, free photos and discounts on select group excursions. Throughout the year, many cruise lines offer promotions that include free cruise fare for third and fourth passengers booked in the same cabin. Watch for the deals that also include those passengers in bonus offerings like drink packages or prepaid gratuities.
Rule #: Do Choose Your Room Location Carefully
While not every cruise line does it, many will charge you different amounts for the same class of room in different locations of the ship. For example, a room on a higher deck will cost more than one on a lower deck. Through years and years of bookings, the cruise lines know which rooms are most desirable and charge accordingly.
Most times the premium you pay for room location wont seem like a big deal. The cruise lines typically frame it by adding something like $3-5 per person, per day.
Lets do the math, however.
A room with two people being charged an extra $5 per person, per day would rack up $10 per day or $70 in room location charges over the course of a week-long cruise. That may not sound like much to some of you, but that comes about to about 6-8 drinks from the bar if you were to want to spend your money on alcohol instead.
The rule of thumb is that the higher up your room is on the ship, the more you will pay.
For the absolute best rate for your particular room class, let the cruise line place you automatically at their lowest rate.
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Cruise Specials From Durban & Cape Town
We regularly highlight cruise packages available with top cruise liners such as the and MSC Opera for the 2020/2021 seasons – brand new and revamped with more family cabins and other renovations. Watch this space!
There are also the occasional cruise specials with Crystal Cruises, Oceania Cruises & Cunard from Cape Town. And check out our for your cruise. Email to make a booking.
Send Deals To Your Inbox
The vast majority of cruise lines and agencies still rely on eletters to help fill cruise ships. Major cruise lines, such as Celebrity, Norwegian, Holland America, Princess and Royal Caribbean, offer deals emails with ongoing promotions in addition to last-minute deals and short sales. For the hardcore deal-seekers who don’t want e-deals cluttering up their personal inboxes, we suggest setting up separate accounts just for bargains mailings.
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The Best Cheap Cruise Cabins
The cheapest cabins are inside cabins with no windows. I almost always choose an inside cabin when I cruise. The only reason I would choose a cabin with a balcony is if I were cruising to a scenic destination like the Norwegian Fjords or Alaska.
Other reasons why people pay extra for a balcony include claustrophobia or having a baby who will only take naps in a bed.
Sometimes, youll find cruise promotions offering free or cheap upgrades to balcony cabins. However, these are usually only on cold-weather cruises where you wouldnt want to spend a lot of time on your balcony anyway.
The cheapest inside cabins are called guarantee cabins. This means that the cruise line chooses your stateroom number for you and youre guaranteed a cabin of that type, or better. If you want to, you can pay extra to choose your own cabin number but in my opinion, this is rarely worth it.
Does It Pay To Plan Ahead Or Should I Wait Until The Last Minute
Its an age-old question does the early bird really get the worm, or are there perks to taking a wait-and-see approach? If youre booking a cruise vacation, youll find there are benefits to both strategies. Planning ahead is a great way to score big savings, as Royal Caribbean often runs early saver deals to guests booking well in advance. Its also pretty safe to assume prices usually go up as availability goes down the closer you get to your sail date, so booking ahead is a surefire way to lock in a great rate. That said, booking a cruise at the last minute can also yield some unexpected savings but only if the itinerary youre interested in hasnt sold out yet.
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