What About Last Minute Deals
Disney has mostly done away with last minute deals across almost all of its itineraries.
While waiting to a few weeks before a cruise is set to go likely will not net a deal, if you are very flexible , you might spot such a deal now and then.
When Disney does offer last minute deals, they typically show up 30-45 days before departure. So about two months before a cruise would sail, keep an eye out for any potential deals.
Can I Bring My Own Alcohol Beer Wine On Board A Cruise Ship
Generally not. Cruise lines prohibit alcohol being brought on board and can confiscate or levy fines. The issue is not only their monopoly on the sale of drinks and duty free bottles but the safety and liability of having excessive alcohol running free on board . Dont try to sneak it or drugs or narcotics on board. The laws are different based on ships registry and port of call its an embarrassing and expensive legal nightmare.
Are Cruises Cheaper Through A Travel Agent
Cruises should always be cheaper through a travel agent. If theyre not, then you need to find yourself a new travel agent!
Most cruise travel agents make money in two ways:
The bonuses that travel agents receive for hitting their targets can be huge. So when a sales target deadline is coming up, travel agents may be willing to sell cruises at cost price or even at a loss to earn their big bonus payment.
Whats more, some cruise travel agents use a specific business model whereby they buy up thousands of cabins in bulk for a cheap rate. Once the travel agent owns those cabins, they have to sell them. Even if they make a small loss on some of the cabins, its better than the loss that would be made if the cabins remained unsold.
As well as getting the best price on your cruise, there are other advantages to booking your cruise with a travel agent rather than directly with the cruise line. If youre booking flights and hotels too, a travel agent can get you the best package price, sort everything out for you and take charge if anything goes wrong.
To compare cruise prices from lots of different travel agents at once, I like to use Cruise Critic.
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Australia & New Zealand
If you are cruising down under, the busy months are around December and January because that is Australia’s summer and also the most expensive prices.
Royal Caribbean concludes its cruise season in April or May, so if you can snag a cruise then, you will find some great deals. In addition, November is typically a less in-demand month.
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.
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Cruise Prices Can Be Confusing
When you start looking at cruise prices, you can quickly get overwhelmed with different deals, special sales, bargains for certain sailings, package promotions, bonus offers, limited time discounts, and other pricing ploys. So how can you be sure youre getting the best deal? These 10 simple tricks can help you find substantial savings for any cruise.
Special Note: Cruise Deals After The Health Crisis
To say that COVID turned the cruise industry on its head would be an understatement. The industry has never seen anything like it before and hopefully nothing like it ever again.
So how does that impact getting a deal on a cruise? The advice above is still the best. For instance, the time of year you sail and the ship you sail will still have the biggest impact on the price you pay for your cruise.
That said, expect there to be fewer deals in the years ahead. With the pandemic, cruise lines sold off older ships while also putting a hold on ordering new ships. The result is less growth in capacity for years to come.
Assuming that cruising does get back to normal, thats likely to mean strong demand for a lower number of cabins. In other words, high demand with lower supply should lead to higher prices.
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Where Should You Stay On A Ship To Avoid Seasickness
The date range of your cruise will have more impact on seasickness than the placement of your cabin. Mid ship lower decks experiences less rolling but in calm seas this is practically irrelevant. Some itineraries traverse open seas more than others, and certain times of year are more likely to have better weather. If you get motion sickness in a car or airplane, you will probably feel sea-sick, and that does not stop people from enjoying cruises you are better to speak to your doctor or pharmacist about motion sickness if you routinely get car sick.
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.
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How Far In Advance Should You Book A Cruise
The further ahead the better. You can only book airfare about 330 days in advance and we think you should know the airfare cost or at least a ballpark. Some lines will have a price guarantee on fares under deposit, but more are introducing non refundable deposits which have varying rules on price protection before final payment. Earlier is better no question. If prices are lowered, they often do this on guaranteed categories as a way of protecting their existing bookings from price reductions.
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!
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Im Ready To Start Planning My Cruise How Can I Score The Best Deals
Whether youre looking to book a short getaway or a longer adventure to far-flung destinations, Royal Caribbean makes it easy to save big on everything from your cruise fare to special experiences onboard and onshore. The first step to making sure you get the best deals is to join the cruise lines email list. Once youve signed up, youll receive regular updates on all the latest offers, like deals by destination, kids sail free promotions and flash sales. The savings dont end when you book your cruise, though. Once youve made a reservation, youll also receive notifications about special offers for onboard experiences like discounts on beverage and specialty dining packages, shore excursions, spa services, and more via Cruise Planner.
Vantage Deluxe World Travel
What it is: A tour company with a river cruising arm, Vantage draws passengers primarily from North America and, to a lesser extent, the U.K. The line sails on the Rhine, Danube, Moselle, Seine, Elbe, Douro, Dutch Waterways, Mekong, Yangzte, Amazon, Irrawaddy and Ganges.
Average cost: While fares can vary greatly depending on length of cruise and itinerary, a 16-night cruise on the Main and Danube in June 2019 costs about $313 per person per night.
Inclusions: A Vantage fare includes a daily shore excursion and wine and beer at dinner.
Amenities:Bikes are available for free use. Ships in Europe have small fitness rooms with a treadmill, stationary bike and free weights the line’s newest ship, River Voyager, has a massage room available for treatments.
What to know: Standard cabins are 170 square feet on older vessels, they’re 165 square feet. Vantage also has solo accommodations on each of its ships that are 125 square feet. There’s also a roommate-matching program, and single supplements are often reduced.
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Find Out When Is The Cheapest Time Of The Year To Cruise And Book With Cruiseexpertscom For The Best Deals
Have you been planning this years vacation but want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck? If so, you are probably wondering when is the cheapest time of the year to cruise. You will be happy to learn that there are multiple times of the year when cruising offers rock bottom prices to those looking to sail away on vacation. On the flip side, there are also peak season prices that could cause sticker shock for those who are trying to find hot deals, or who want to spread their vacation savings across multiple cruises.
Today we are going to take a look at when is the cheapest time of year to book a cruise. Some of the time frames may actually surprise you! In general, cheap cruise prices typically occur for cruises sailing in the late winter and the early fall. It makes sense as kids are still in school or just going back to school, so most families are not traveling during this time. Also, winter holidays have just passed so most people are staying put and not spending money. Going against the grain and sailing during these times still offers you all of the perks of the cruise ship and onshore excursions without the hurried crowds and long wait time in line.
Victor and Pat C.
Now, the key to finding cheap cruise deals is knowing particular low price weeks in the seasons we mentioned above. Here is a quick cheat sheet:
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 Book A Cheap Cruise
Booking a cheap cruise is actually quite easy and requires only one thing: flexibility. See, cruise pricing is similar to tour pricing. The closer you get to the departure date, the cheaper the cruise becomes.
Because cruise ships dont want to depart with half-empty boats, so they drop prices steadily until that boat is leaving port, since for them empty cabins mean less money.
Cruises make the majority of their money from what people purchase on board, so they want bodies on those ships.
You can also book early, but I find last-minute bookings to be the best. And since you are booking close to departure, you need to be flexible with where you are willing to go or OK with not booking the actual cruise even if you booked your flights.
Another tip comes Doug Parker of Cruise Radio, When the kids are in school, the rates are the best. This holds true in all travel but especially cruising, because it is such a family activity. Dont travel when everyone else is traveling! If you do that or travel during the shoulder season, you can find the best rates. Chris from Chris Cruises also reiterates my recommendation: Book far in advance or last minute for the best fares.
Older Ships From Mainstream Cruise Lines
Cruises on older ships tend to have lower rates for two reasons — the ships lack the amenities and the hype of the newest vessels, and they tend to be deployed on shorter or less popular routes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a grand old time on an older ship, and if you’re a first-time cruiser, you won’t even realize you’re missing anything — other than higher fares. It’s also important to note that lines have by no means neglected these older ships most have gone under the knife for multimillion-dollar refurbs.
The rock-bottom rate award at this point goes to Carnival, where we’ve seen four-night cruises for $179 per person on Carnival Victory, which launched in 2000. Fleetmates Carnival Inspiration and Imagination have four-night Mexico cruises for the same price. The 2,350-passenger Majesty of the Seas, built in 1992, is another good bet with fares from $209 for a five-night cruise . Norwegian Spirit has an 11-night Mediterranean cruise for $599 per person .
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Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line
Two-ship Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line offers two-night budget cruises from Palm Beach, Florida to the Bahamas aboard Grand Celebration and Grand Classica. The line is aimed squarely at first-time cruisers looking for a cheap way to try a cruise, and we’ve seen sale fares range from $109 to $179 per person .
While not quite mega-ships, the Bahamas Paradise ships, which carry 1,500 to 1,700 passengers, sit very much in mainstream cruise ship territory. Onboard, passengers will find a variety of restaurants , several bars and lounges, a casino, a theater, a spa and gym, and sun deck space with pools and hot tubs. For the youngest cruisers, there are age-specific kids’ clubs and a waterslide.
Which Side Of A Cruise Ship Is Better Or What Side Should By Cabin Be
There is no real difference when docked. Ships can dock on either side, and the view from either side could be favourable in one place vs another. If scenic sailing from your balcony is important, you need to consider the route and direction during the scenic sail. This can get complicated on Fjord and Alaska cruises as the ships sails between various islands. Consider this only if your ship is sailing in one direction and not a back and forth scenario.
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