Book Your Cruise Early
In recent years, many cruise companies have ditched last-minute discounts even if this means ships are not full when they sail.
To bag a bargain, grab an early-bird fare usually released 12 to 18 months in advance. Youll get a great price, have your pick of the cabins, choose the departure dates and flights you want, and be showered with complimentary extras.
We checked Celebritys nine-night Adriatic Discoveries cruise in its first week on sale . We found savings of up to £700 on the fare, plus a free all-inclusive drinks package, valet parking and $300 to spend on board.
Hurry deals, early-bird deals and Black Friday sales Which? Travel is always investigating how to get the best price on your holiday. Find out more aboutWhich? Travel
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.
Check # Of Days At Sea And Port Calls
This is a tip that I probably wouldnt have initially considered, but I think its really important. When youre evaluating which cruise to take, look at the number of days youll be at sea and the port calls . Its unusual to find a cruise with no port calls, but it does happen. So, unless you think you wouldnt mind taking a 21-day cruise with zero stops, this is a big one to keep in mind.
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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.
Rule #: Do Monitor Price Dropsand Call The Cruise Line
So what if after all this you book your cruise, and then the price drops?
First, you should be monitoring the price of your cruise after you book if you want to save money. Were not saying to check it every day, but once or twice a week is sufficient.
If you run across a price drop, then you should contact the cruise line immediately. This is where having put down only a deposit and not paying in full buys you some leverage.
Many times the cruise lines will work with you to compensate for the lower fare, even though they often arent obligated to do so. They can refund the difference or offer onboard credit to make you happy.
Some lines have price protection policies in place. Carnival, for example, has its Early Saver Program:
1. When you book a 3-5 day cruise three months in advance, or 6 day or longer cruise five months in advance, you are assured the lowest rate.
2. In the unlikely event that you do find a lower Carnival-advertised rate after booking your cruise, we will honor it and adjust your cruise rate accordingly. Simply fill out the Price Protection Claim form and well take care of the rest.
If you only have a deposit down, and they wont work with you on the price difference, determine the refund policy to see if it is worth it to cancel your original trip and re-book the cruise at the lower rate.
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How To Get A Cheap Cruise For As Little As $30 Per Day
12/8/2018 | December 8th, 2018
Cruises can be expensive affairs.
First, ships reel you in with a cheap room and an onboard credit but then smack you around with high-priced drinks, non-included restaurants, and dollar-a-minute Internet.
A couple of years ago, I went on the Oasis of the Seas on a seven-day cruise around the Caribbean. The listed price of this cruise?
Thats expensive for a week of cruising. You could go to Southeast Asia for a month on that kind of money.
Luckily, there are, in fact, ways to take a cheap cruise for as little as $30 per day. It just takes a bit of skill, a lot of discipline, and a bit of sneakiness.
Rule #: Do Sail On Older Ships For Cheaper Deals
Its not written in stone, but you will usually pay much less to sail on an older ship compared to a newer one. Older ships are still kept up and comfy, but simply cant offer the space or amenities as the larger, newer ships.
Over the past decade ships have seemingly transformed from seagoing vessels to floating amusement parks. From huge waterslides to walking promenades, robot bars, ice rinks, and more, its hard to believe what they can put on a new ship these days.
If you dont need these sorts of things on your cruise, then look for an older ship to get a much cheaper cruise.
Its difficult to compare apples to apples as different ships sail to different ports at different times, but we found two similar cruises to compare.
The first was a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard Royal Caribbeans Symphony of the Seas from Miami, departing April 2020. Symphony of the Seas is among the cruise lines newest ships, and its priced accordingly.
The cheapest price we found for an April sailing on this new ship was $997 per person.
Compare this rate with a 8-night Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard another Royal Caribbean ship Empress of the Seas. We found this cruise departing Miami during the same month . Despite being one night longer, the trip was priced at just $439 per person for an interior cabin.
In other words, sailing the older ship in this example costs less than half the new ship despite the cruise on the older ship being a day longer.
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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!
Final Thoughts: How To Get The Best Deals Specials And Promotions On A Cruise In 2021
After almost a year of a cruise shutdown, cruise passengers are looking forward to cruising again in 2021 and 2022. These tips and tricks are simple, but will help you find the best deals and promotions and save money on your next cruise.
Have you seen any deals not found anywhere else either with a cruise line, the loyalty program or through a travel agent? Please let me know your best tips for finding the best cruises at the best price in the comments below.
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Disney Cruise Discounts And Deals
Disney Cruise discounts are sometimes hard to find, but this is the place to find them! Listed below is every known deal, offer, coupon, onboard credit or discount available for Disney Cruise Line , plus lots of FREE information about how to save money on a Disney cruise!
Other useful Disney Cruise Line information pages:
- For tips and tricks that will help you plan your cruise, visit the Planning Tips & Tricks for Disney Cruises page.
- For advice that will help you save time and get the most out of your cruise once you are onboard, visit the DCL Onboard Advice page.
- For advice that will help you with excursions, tours and activities while in port, visit the Tips & Discounts for Port Excursions page.
Look On Social Media For Cruise Deals
Companies have always used every avenue that they possibly could in order to advertise their products. That has now moved onto social media and you are seeing companies increasingly advertise deals on the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
This can be a great place to look for additional deals that you might otherwise miss. You can even get notifications sent to your phone if you really wanted to keep on top of the latest deals that you can get. Cruise companies are using social media more than ever before, and you want to take advantage of that.
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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?
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.
When You Find A Good Price Book
When you find a price you are comfortable with, take advantage of it and book your vacation. If you wait the prices are likely to change, and may go up based on the cruises popularity, time of year, or other circumstances such as ship redeployments or itinerary adjustments.
The longer you wait to book your cruise, the more cabins will be sold and the less choice youll have for the stateroom you want. If you wait too long, you may not be able to get on the cruise at all, at any price.
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Check Online Travel Sites
Did you know that you will never pay less by booking directly with the cruise line. Its actually cruise line policy and the arrangement they have with travel agents.
Large online travel agency sites like Expedia Cruises, Costco Travel, Vacations To Go and other websites will be running promotions as they partner with various cruise lines.
Is Cruising Good Value
Cruises offer the best value for money of all holidays. Why? Because so much is included! When booking any kind of holiday, its important not to think about the ticket price, but to think about the total price, after youve paid for absolutely everything.
All cruises include:
Of course, any extras are optional. I usually dont bother dining in speciality restaurants and I like to take my own drinks on board when I can.
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Leave The Deals Search To The Experts
If you don’t have time for Twitter, online cruise research or gathering up a group of 20 friends, nothing beats a good travel agent to help you score a deal.
Because agents often book in bulk and work directly with the lines, they have access to deals that normal cruisers don’t. Cruise lines will offer their top agencies special discounts that the agents can’t promote on their websites, so even if you see a good deal online, it’s best to talk to a real person and ask for the best fare.
Even if savings aren’t necessarily there for every sailing, agencies often offer deals with value-added perks like onboard credit or prepaid gratuities, which can amount to nearly $100 per person on a weeklong sailing.
The Best Cheap Family Cruises
When youre cruising as a family, one of the most important things to pay attention to is the child prices.
Sometimes, kids cruise free and sometimes youll be charged the full adult fare for each child. Choosing a cruise where kids go free for a family of four will save you up to 50% on your total cruise price straight away.
Heres how much each cruise line charges for kids:
- Carnival Full adult price
- Celebrity Cruises Full adult price
- Costa Cruises Children under 18 pay only port fees and service fees
- Cunard Full adult price
- Disney Cruise Line Full adult price
- MSC Cruises Children under 18 cruise FREE when booking in the USA and from £119 when booking in the UK
- Norwegian Cruise Line Full adult price except when the Free At Sea promotion is on when kids cruise free
- P& O Cruises Full adult price in the school holidays and £99 per week in term-time
- Princess Cruises Full adult price
- Royal Caribbean Full adult price except when the Kids Sail Free promotion is on
Cruise prices for babies vary hugely, depending on the cruise line.
MSC Cruises and Cunard do not charge for children under two years of age. Costa Cruises, P& O Cruises and Disney Cruise Line charge a reduced fare for babies. Most other cruise lines charge the full adult price unless theres a special promotion on at the time of booking.
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Join The Cruise Lines Mailing List
While it may seem as though e-mail isnt as big as it once was, it is still a vital source of contact for businesses. They can instantly connect to people who they know will be interested in the deals that they will have to be able to fill up their ships quickly.
While a lot of what you get in your inbox can be junk, getting them to send cruise newsletters to your inbox can actually be extremely useful. This gives you instant access to the information while other interested parties might not yet be aware.
Sign up and we’ll send the best cruise deals to your inbox.
Where To Find Cheap Cruise Deals
Now you know which cruise lines offer the cheapest cruises as well as which ships to choose , cabins , destinations and the cheapest time of year to cruise .
The next step is to know where to look for the cheapest deals. My one secret to finding cheap cruise deals is
Dont go looking for deals, let the deals come to you!
Why? Well, lets imagine you own a cruise line for a moment Most of the time youll want to sell cruises with as much profit margin as possible, right?
Most of the time, you can rely on a steady income of high-profit sales. People search for your website, find what they want and book it.
However, that strategy doesnt work when:
a) Its getting closer to the sailing date but your ships are still half-empty
b) Youve just released six months worths of new itineraries so your ships are completely empty
In these cases, cruise lines will reduce prices and add on free extras to encourage people to BOOK NOW. When they do this, theyre no longer going for a high profit margin theyre going for volume of sales.
Now, imagine you work in the marketing department of the cruise line. The prices have dropped and its your job to sell as many cruises are possible. How do you get the biggest volume of sales?
You could reach out to contact as many potential customers as possible and tell them about the great deals. Or, even better, you get travel agents to do it for you.
How do customers find these cheapest cruise deals?
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