When To Book Cheap Cruises By Region
Different cruise regions have different high and low seasons, meaning that while you may find great deals on Caribbean cruises during the summer and fall, prices on Mediterranean cruises at the same time could be sky high. We collected and analyzed tons of data to help you save up to 71% by booking at the right time for your cruise destination.
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How Can I Maximize The Value Of My Cruise Vacation
There are plenty of ways to get more bang for your buck when you sail on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Every ship in the fleet offers a range of delicious complimentary dining options, but you can dig into even more crave-worthy flavor by purchasing a Specialty Dining Package for less ahead of your cruise. Add a Specialty Beverage Package which includes unlimited alcoholic beverages, soda, and more and your experience is as close to all-inclusive as it gets. And with so many complimentary shows and attractions onboard, you can easily fill every sea day without spending a single dollar extra.
Royal Caribbean also offers deals based on departure ports and destinations, so if youre a flexible traveler looking for great savings, you can plan your next vacation around which itineraries are on sale. Just check your email or visit RoyalCaribbean.com/cruise-deals to stay up to date on promotions, sales and special offers. You can even browse sailings and deals by homeport, destination and season, so you can rest assured youre getting the best possible deal no matter when or where in the world you choose to set sai.
How Do I Afford To Cruise So Often
Ill be honest with you. I dont spend a lot of money on cruises. My holiday spend is pretty average, I just make the most of the money I do have available.
In fact, the total I spend on multiple cruises for our family of four each year is less than most people spend on leasing a car.
You could also raise the money for up to five family cruises per year by quitting smoking, making a packed lunch each day for work or getting a better deal on your household bills. As long as you know how to find good value cruises, that is!
So, read on to find out how to go on a cruise for cheap
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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.
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.
What about your flight? Dont book your flight with the cruise book it separately. Check out this guide to finding a cheap flight to lower that cost.
Also Check: Marriott Cruise Partners
Use Travel Rewards Or Loyalty Points
Over the past 5 years, we have sailed on three cruises for only the cost of the port taxes and fees. How? Well, we used rewards points from our credit card and redeemed them for a free cruise.
Whether you have general travel points, airline miles, or a cruise lines credit card, earning points and then redeeming those for cheap cruises is easy once you earn enough points.
Indeed, you need to review the terms and conditions to make sure the offer is right for you. When deciding whether to join a rewards program or apply for a credit card, make sure that you understand the benefits and potential fees for said programs.
For us, we have credit cards with the major cruise lines and airlines with which we regularly travel. With smart money management, we have used these for the above mentioned free cruises as well as dozens of free flights over the years.
Of course, if you are loyal to a particular cruise line, you can also earn discounts and even free cruises. By enrolling in cruise line loyalty programs, you will earn points for each day you spend at sea. Once you achieve a high enough status with the brand, you can begin taking advantage of these perks.
Related Post:Hidden Costs of Cruising
Choose Shoulder Season Sailings
If you’ve already honed in on a destination, the best way to save is to focus on travel dates just outside the peak season. This might mean picking April or late September as the month to visit Alaska, March as your best bet to sail the Mediterranean and October for your Caribbean cruise — before or after the summer swell of family vacations. In addition to low prices, you’ll encounter fewer crowds on the flip side, the weather might not be as ideal for sightseeing.
Related:Shoulder Season Cruise Deals: 5 Tips to Save
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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.
How To Find Cheap Cruises
First and foremost to start your hunt for cheap cruises, we always recommend visiting a third-party cruise booking site like Expedia, Orbitz, or others.
When you start your search, you have tons of different options. You can go straight to a cruise lines website to find deals. However, when you do that you are limiting your search only to trips on that companys cruises. Unless youre an avid fan of one cruise line, this isnt the best way to plan your voyage, since it gives you only a small sliver of whats out there.
On the aggregator travel sites you can set up search parameters for all the cruise lines at once, then sort by price, departure port, date and more. Thats why we like to start our search on these sorts of websites. It gives you all your options instead of just one line.
Beyond that, there are a few other simple tips for cruise fans shopping for dirt-cheap fares.
While we have a full list of rules on getting the best deal on a cruise, the easiest way to find an inexpensive trip is to keep these things in mind:
- Look for shorter cruises
- Sail when school is in session
- Book an inside cabin
- Sail aboard an older ship
These four factors will have the largest impact on what you pay for a cruise.
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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.
The Cheapest Time Of Year To Cruise
Certain months are much cheaper than others and this depends very much on the destination and the weather that you can expect at that time of year.
The cheapest time to cruise in Europe and the Mediterranean is December and January . This is mainly because the weather is cold.
The cheapest time to cruise in the Caribbean is August, September and October. This is because of hurricane season and the risk that cruises may miss ports or be cancelled altogether due to bad weather.
If your cruise is cancelled due to a hurricane youll get about two days notice, so hopefully, you wont have taken your flight, but youll probably have packed your bags!
The most expensive time to cruise is always Christmas and New Year when prices will skyrocket to double or triple the normal price. The UK school summer holidays can be pretty expensive too.
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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.
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.
Read Also: Norwegian Breakaway Drink Packages
How To Get Cheap Cruises: An Insider Guide
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one, I may earn a commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
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.
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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Tips To Help You Find Cheap Cruise Deals
If youd love to see several far-flung places in a single trip without going over budget, then read on, fellow traveler. A cruise could quite possibly be just what you need. This, without any further ado, here are 20 tips to help you find cheap cruise deals.
20 Tips To Help You Find Cheap Cruise Deals
Access Military Senior Or Residency Rates
A number of cruise lines have special programs for seniors, military personnel and even teachers. For example, MSC Cruises provides discounts of up to 10 percent to active and retired military families on almost all sailings. AARP members can find exclusive senior discounts on multiple lines when booking through the AARP Travel Center Powered by Expedia.
Many lines also offer residential discounts. Here’s how it works: In essence, a line’s revenue stream is based on a formula that requires a certain number of bookings from various cities, states and regions. So, if it’s not getting enough bookings from one particular place, it’ll drop the price slightly — say, in Florida — to entice more Floridians to book.
There’s no guarantee you’ll get a residential discount, but it can’t hurt to mention your home city and state during the booking process, just in case. Even if it only saves you $50, it’s still $50 in your pocket.
Also Check: Cruises For Single Seniors Over 60
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.
Day : More Mojitos But No Waterpark
With the full day on the island, we decided to make the day into two days. A few hours on the beach in the morning, lunch, and then heading back to the ship for a quick nap to recover from the late night and drinks the evening before. The timing was perfect as there was a shower passing through just as we were heading back.
Feeling reset after an hour or two, we went back for more. By now the weather was back to being amazing. The island was just stunning. There were also more people out and about, but the island was still far from full. It was like having your own personal island.
With the afternoon, we decided to see if we could get into Thrill Waterpark without the huge price tag. Online, the price for admission was $80 per person nearly as much as our cruise fare. Surely with only a few hours left it would be cheaper, right?
No luck. The gate attendant told us there was no discount even though it was the afternoon. Instead, we hit the pool thinking it would have warmed up, but after a couple of minutes in the water, it was just too cold.
So we headed back to South Beach where actually the ocean water was warmer than the pool. Mojitos in hand, we spent the rest of our time on the island just relaxing, hanging out in the water, people watching. It was fantastic.
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