How To Get Cheap Cruises: An Insider Guide
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Before I became a full-time blogger, I worked in the marketing department of a well-known specialist cruise travel agency for five years.
In that time, Ive sat at my desk and watched the price of cruises go up and down, and up again.
Ive seen cruises priced at £13 per night and cruises that cost over £4,000 per night. Ive spotted some incredible deals and Ive also scratched my head at why some cruises are priced so much higher than others.
I always like to have at least five cruises booked at any one time. People ask me how I afford to go on so many cruises? Am I rich? Do I have a rich husband? Alas, the answer is no! Ive just learned how to get cheap cruises from working in the industry.
Cruises arent expensive if you know how to find the cheap deals.
How Much Are Drinks On A Cruise
Youll find drink prices about the same as whats offered in most average chain restaurants at home. Beer will be in the $6-7 range, Wine in the $8-11 range, and mixed drinks with regular spirits and simple cocktails within the range. Prices are in US dollars and typically have an automatic 15-20% gratuity added to the bill. They are not cheap, but they dont take advantage of their monopoly. There are the odd drink specials on featured cocktails or multiple beer purchases.
Use Marriott Bonvoy Points To Pay For Your Cruise
Its a great option to be able to pay for your cruise with points, and Marriott makes that possible. However, its not the best use of your Marriott points.
When booking a cruise with Marriott points, youll only get 0.4 cents per point in value. Since about 0.7 cents each youll be missing out on some value. You might want to look into other ways to redeem your Marriott Bonvoy including hotels, flights, or Hotel + Air packages.
Pros and Cons of Marriott Cruises
- Members can earn extra Marriott points.
- You can pay for your cruise with Marriott points.
- The site offers a 110% best price guarantee.
- Youll be charged a non-refundable processing fee of $24.99 per reservation.
Bottom Line: When you book a cruise through Marriott, you can pay for your cruise with points or you can choose to pay cash and earn Marriott points on your purchase.
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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.
Tips For Finding Cheap Cruise Deals
Somewhere out there is a seven-night cruise from $299, a luxury sailing at 75 percent off and an empty cabin on the “sold-out” sailing you wish to book. Knowing where and when to search for the best cruise deals could mean the difference between unearthing that low fare or compromising on price and itinerary.
You probably have a tried-and-true method of searching for cheap cruises. Perhaps you wait for missives from your trusty travel agent, or maybe you’re a tiger when it comes to prowling the Internet for low fares. You might book your cruise right when the brochure is first published, or you might bide your time until two weeks before sailing. But have you explored all possible ways of nabbing that steal?
Let us share some of our favorite tips for finding cruise deals. While some might be old hat, others may catch you by surprise. Use them all, and you’ll be ready to pounce on that cheap cruise when the right promotion comes along.
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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.
Rule Of Thumb For Cheapest Times To Cruise
While we believe that there are no bad times to take a cruise, certain weeks of the year are often cheaper than others. A good rule of thumb is that prices are likely to be higher around any holidays or when kids are out of school.
So basically the most convenient times of year to cruise are also the most expensive. Want to save money? Go against the flow. Book your vacation while everyone else is busy working or in school. Itll make your vacation photos that much sweeter when you come back to show all your friends how awesome your cruise getaway was as well.
What causes prices to change from week to week? It is all based on supply and demand. While some weeks are notorious for having high rates due to an increase in demand, the following weeks are generally the cheapest times to take a cruise.
It is worth noting that any week can have high prices if a specific sailing is selling well, even if it is during a week listed below. But if youre asking, When is the cheapest time to cruise? youve come to the right place.
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Do Cruises Get Cheaper Closer To The Sailing Date
Its a myth that cruises get cheaper closer to the sailing date. In fact, cruise prices are cheapest when they first go on sale which is 18 to 24 months before the departure date. Only if the cruise doesnt sell out will there be a price drop. This will happen 6 to 12 weeks before departure.
The following graph demonstrates what often happens to cruise prices over time. The red circles are the cheap prices that you want to book!
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.
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Whats The Most Expensive Room Or Cabin On A Ship
Usually what they call the Owners Suite , but its more like an apartment. There are many affordable mini-suites and suites offered, and you need to compare the included amenities. The suites are targetted to people who live in large luxury homes and who expect more space, finer furnishings, and more attentive service. They are limited in number, book very far in advance, and are seldom discounted other than on a no cabin assignment basis.
Three Things To Remember When Booking A Cheap Cruise
1. Smaller is cheaper Smaller boats tend to be less expensive since they offer fewer amenities and attractions.
2. Cruise in the off season Traveling off season will get you markedly cheaper fares.
3. Take a repositioning cruise Repositioning cruises are when cruise lines move ships from one part of the world to the next in anticipation of the upcoming season. These cruises are a great way to cross an ocean or sail down a continents coast on the cheap and can be found on any cruise booking website.
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Cheap 2022 Alaskan Cruises
During the past few years, interest in sailing to Alaska has soared. Its not hard to see why.
Alaska is known at the last frontier, and like any frontier, it can be difficult to traverse. With a limited amount of roads and other transportation, the easiest way to get around the picturesque coastline is via boat or plane. Luckily, thats also the best way to view the natural scenery.
And as word spreads about the beauty of taking an Alaskan cruise and as the cruise industry grows in general more and more people are considering taking a trip.
The good news is that with increased interest in cruises to the region, cruise lines are sailing more ships to Alaska. Today, there is a staggering amount of Alaskan cruises to choose from across every budget, cruise line, and itinerary.
If youre looking for cheap Alaskan cruises, however, then you need to be prepared to shop around. Trips to this area are seasonal sailing from May through September. Since there is only a limited window of time to cruise, prices are considerably higher than similar Caribbean cruises you might be familiar with. As well, prices change frequently.
Below, we highlight some of the cheapest 2022 Alaskan cruises. The prices for these trips start at just $339 per person. But before we get too far, here are some tips on how to find the most affordable trips to this region
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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.
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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.
Whats The Best Cruise Line
Best for who? Your needs and your budget? Depends on your expectations of service, space, quality of food and beverage, type and amount of on board entertainment. The lines offered on our site are all good, some are excellent, and some our outstanding, but what is best is determined by your needs and budget. Speak to our agents to help sort through this. Really, there are no bad cruises offered on tripcentral.ca
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How To Find More Deals On Carnival
While weve included the cruises with the absolute cheapest prices we could find, its understandable if these trips arent exactly the ones youre looking for. Maybe you want a longer cruise, or to sail from a different port.
Fortunately, there are plenty more deals out there. If you want to find the best prices, stick to a few simple rules
Timing of the Cruise: When you sail makes a difference in cruise pricing. The basic rule of thumb is that choosing a cruise during the off-season helps reduce your fare. If your schedule permits, sail during the school year when fewer people are free to travel .
As you can see, many of the trips above sail in January or February. This is right after kids go back to school for the holidays, meaning that families are less apt to book this sort of cruise. Other affordable times to sail include April-May, as well as the fall months.
Choose an Older Ship: Unless you have your heart set on sailing a cruise lines latest ship with all the newest bells and whistles, choose a voyage aboard an older vessel. The fares on these ships tend to be significantly lower.
With new ships, there is typically more demand and interest, which coincides with higher prices. Dont be scared of older ships. They are updated regularly with many of the features found on newer vessels, including favorite restaurants and amenities. No, they arent the exact same as a new ship, but still offer plenty to like.
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The Biggest Factors To Finding A Cheap Cruise
While starting with an overall inexpensive cruise line can help you save money, it shouldnt be the only way that you save. Keeping the following in mind can help you find more affordable cruises, even on pricier lines.
Sail During the School Year If we have just one tip to save you the most money, it is to sail when school is in session. For the major cruise lines, families are a major part of their business. When school is in session, it means fewer families can sail. With less demand, the cruise lines cut prices to fill up the ship.
For instance, we found a 7-night Caribbean cruise aboard Carnival that runs regularly from Galveston. Leave in September and the prices start at $489 per person. The same cruise leaving in July costs $924 per person!
Look for Cruises on Older Ships Cruise lines continue to build bigger and better cruise ships. Well be honest, the difference between new ships and their older counterparts can be drastic. All things equal, we prefer to stick to newer ships. To us, there is more to do on them.
But all things are not equal. To keep older ships full when there is strong demand for newer vessels the cruise lines often cut the prices. As a rule of thumb, its cheaper to sail older ships.
It makes sense that the less time you spend on the ship, the less you would have to pay.
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Cheapest Time To Cruise Hawaii
The same rule applies for cruises to and around Hawaii. Book during the slowest time, which is typically from November to February, and you will save the most money. This is also the rainy season for Hawaii so expect to see a few rain showers on your trip. During holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas you will see a spike in prices, as some travelers want to book their vacations during time already off from work.
Some like to cruise Hawaii between December and April because this is when humpback whales can be seen in these waters.
Between mid-April and mid-June there is often a lull in travelers to Hawaii so cruise costs can take a small dip during these times as well.
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How Long Is An Alaskan Cruise
Too short! Make sure to plan extra time for traveling to and from the ship and any extra activities you plan on doing on land.
Most cruises last 1-2 weeks. If you live in a port town and want to get away for a few days look into a 4-day cruise.
Longer cruises can last a month or more, making them best for retirees with plenty of spending money for food and drinks while at sea.
Which Cruise Line Is Most Affordable
It depends on where you are travelling and when. Within the mass market lines that comprise 90% of the bookings by Canadians, it will vary and this is the beauty of the tripcentral.ca grid we find you the lowest price or best value for all the major lines. Sometimes its Royal Caribbean, sometimes Celebrity, sometimes Carnival, Norwegian, Princess or Holland America. MSC and Costa are often the most affordable in Europe.
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What Cruise Lines Offer The Cheapest Rates
Looking to cruise for as little money as possible? Some of the most popular cruise lines that offer great deals on cruises are Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean, with Royal Caribbean on the higher end of that spectrum, but offering great value for the price.
MSC Cruises often offers mind-boggling deals as they are still trying to break into the market.
For the absolute lowest price on a short 2 day cruise, its hard to beat the price of Bahamas Paradise Cruise line, with rates as low as $129 a person. You can read about our first experience on this cruise line here.
Whats the best deal you ever scored on a cruise just by going in the off-season? Let us know and we will do a happy dance together. Does this post inspire you to get a sweet deal on a cruise? If so, we have done our job!
Learn the cruise secrets most people don’t know and cruise like a boss. Check out Intelligent Cruiser here for a better cruise vacation.