Rule #: Dont Get Distracted By Cruise Line Sales
The cruise lines are like department stores they constantly run sales and special offers. Sometimes it is 50% off the second fare. Sometimes its lower deposits. Sometimes its onboard credit.
Weve found that there is a constant flow of deals, and they usually are all about the same. In other words, we dont really think you should let it influence whether or not you buy or let it affect the timing of your purchase.
Yes, it is possible that one deal might be better than another. However, they typically end up around the same price. If a cruise line really needs to fill rooms, they will simply lower the price of the specific cruise instead of offering a fleetwide discount.
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
Are Cruise Drink Packages Worth It
If you drink a lot on vacation, probably yes. A lot would be a few drinks starting after lunch and throughout the afternoon, a cocktail before dinner, two glasses of wine after dinner, and more drinks after dinner during entertainment then yes. But many people dont drink that much, and for them, unless it is a great promotional offer on the cruise fare with a small supplement over no beverage package, the drink packages are not worth it. Also, both parties in the cabin have to buy the package so you both need to drink enough to get your moneys worth. If you like ordering wine by the bottle, this is not included in drink packages only selected wines by the glass. Your waiter will also store unfinished bottles for consumption the next night. Your itinerary will also determine how much time you are on board vs ashore so European, Alaska, and port intensive Caribbean cruises will have you spending less time during the day on the ship. Some of the drink packages also include specialty coffees and other fancy non-alcoholic drinks that you should factor. Coffee is free at the buffet, but an Americano or Cappucino at a bar is extra and on some drink packages, included.
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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.
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.
How To Get The Best Cruise Deals In 2021
Looking for the best deals on cruises in 2021, 2022 and beyond? With a high demand for cruises once they resume and an overall increase in pricing, cruise passengers are looking for ways to continue to cruise affordably.
While there are many cruise travel hacks that still work, there are also specific things you can do to actually find those great deals and promotions in 2021.
In this post, I share 5 simple, but great ways to find the cruise deals, promotions and specials that arent highly publicized. This will give you the best chance of finding lower priced cruises, as well as cruises with extra perks which provide value in the form of on-board cash credits , free gratuities, beverage packages and more.
This post contains affiliate links which means if you click and buy that I may make a commission, at no cost to you. Please see my disclosure policy for details.
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Last Minute Cruises Can Sometimes Be The Cheapest Cruise Deal
Sometimes, but not always, the cheapest cruise deal is a Last Minute Cruise. You won’t get a wide selection of stateroom categories or a chance to select your stateroom location but if your schedule is flexible you just might find a cheap cruise price on a last minute cruise. Last minute cruises are cruises leaving in the next 90 days. The cruise line really wants to fill those last few staterooms and sometimes will offer them at a discount cruise price in exchange for you giving up your right to a full selection of cabin categories or deck locations. CruiseExperts.com makes it easy for you to poke around and see what’s available in last minute cruise deals. View our Last Minute Cruise Deals by clicking here and give it a try. This is one of our most popular website features.
The Best Time Of Year To Book A Cruise
The best time of year to book a cruise is often January through March. During this period also known as wave season industry-wide sales occur and the price of that cruise youve been dreaming of may drop significantly. Its also a good time to find booking promotions, like free upgrades, prepaid gratuities, or onboard spending money.
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Which Cruise Lines Are All Inclusive
Pricey luxury cruise lines such as Seabourn, Crystal, Regent, Sliversea are all inclusive but Oceania, Celebrity, Norwegian and MSC offer drink packages in some promotional fares to make them all inclusive, meaning, you can have all meals and basic bar in one fare. Gratuities are typically extra for all but the luxury lines.
Rule #: Do Be Flexible With Your Days To Cruise The Cheapest
As you can see in the chart below, the fares for the same cruise can vary dramatically, depending on when you sail.
Holidays like Christmas and New Years fetch the highest prices by far. These rates can often be double what you would pay in the lower season.
The highest rates found around the holidays are closely followed by peak summer rates when families with kids like to cruise.
The best times with the lowest rates? The fall months when people are back at school and work are less popular for cruising, meaning that rates hit their lowest. You can also find low rates in the time between New Years and Spring Break.
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Cruise Deals Tip #3 Finding Additional Discounts
If you qualify you can get additional 5-10% discounts, which are always a plus off the pricey cruise fare. Some cruise lines will offer seniors discounts for individuals 55 and older. Military and repeat passenger discounts are also quite common, so you should definitely research whether these apply to your specific cruise line and itinerary. Some travelers swear by booking one-way cruises, which tend to be much cheaper than round trip ones. Repositioning cruses also fall along the lines with potentially incredible cruise deals. At the end of each cruising season, usually early fall and spring, many cruise lines will only sell certain ships one way and offer a lot of perks and discounts along with themed adventures and experiences. The main thing is to be flexible with the dates of your travels and research the fine print carefully before you make a deposit. Purchasing travel insurance could help you get a cruise fare refund in case you have to cancel your trip due to unforeseen events.
Check Out Repositioning Cruises
If you dont mind a one-way cruise, then a repositioning cruise could be your next best cruise deal. When a cruise line has to move one of their ships from one homeport to a new homeport, sometimes you can snag a really great cruise deal. And this could be almost any time of year. Just be prepared to pay for a one-way flight home.
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Develop A Relationship With A Knowledgeable Cruise
Working with someone you know and trust makes more sense than spending hours chasing down a bargain on a computer. More times than not, if its too good to be true, it usually is.
Online mega-sized travel agencies may charge hidden service fees, cancellation fees and even penalty fees for name changes. Sometimes the fees or penalties are written in grey and in teeny, tiny font. If you should find something fabulous online, let your travel agent know and they can almost always match it or do better.
Travel agents also know when the cruise lines open their new deployment schedules. A home-based travel agent has access to the same sailings and rates as do the huge online agencies. Let your travel agent know whats on your cruise bucket list and they can watch for it to become open to sell and grab the best rates and the most onboard amenities on the first day.
There you have it eleven ways to find the best cruise deal and value for your money. PS. If you have any tips for securing a good cruise price, please leave a comment to share with others. Happy cruising!
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.
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.
What Are 2020’s Top Ships And Itineraries
New ships are always popular and sell out quickly. Agents are reporting lots of demand for Celebrity Apex and Norwegian Encore . Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, fresh from a major refurbishment, is also popular in 2020, especially with East Coast cruisers because it will be sailing to the Bahamas from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey — the first Oasis-class ship to sail from an East Coast homeport.
While Virgin Voyages, a new adults-only cruise line, is grabbing headlines ahead of its 2020 debut, the agents we spoke to are not reporting above-average demand to book. They expect to see a bump in consumer interest after Virgin Voyage’s inaugural sailing and once more people experience the product.
Popular destinations in 2020 remain consistent with previous years, including the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Alaska.
Because cruisers are actively looking for itineraries that include private islands, agents are also seeing increased interest in short three- to five-night cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean that call on private islands.
When Virgin debuts this spring, its ship will sail short four- and five-night cruises to Key West and Mexico from Miami, including a stop at Virgin’s exclusive private beach club in Bimini.
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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.
Time To Choose Your Best Cruise Deals
Norwegian Cruise Line regularly offers deals on select cruises throughout the year with multiple dates available for sailing! Youll find instant savings, plus Norwegians amazingly popular Free at Sea Promotion where depending on your sailing date and destination, offers may include FREE Shore Excursion Credits, Specialty Dining, Wi-Fi Packages or even an Unlimited Open Bar! Talk about the best cruise deals, wow!
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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.
Ask For A Price Drop When Fares Change
If the cruise fare changes after you’ve booked but before you’ve made your final payment, it’s possible to take advantage of the lower rate. Enlist the help of a travel agent who can monitor pricing after you’ve booked, and who can request a re-fare to the lower rate.
If the fare plummets, you can request a rate change, cancel and rebook at the lower rate or request the difference in onboard credit. What you’re entitled to varies by cruise line, but it all leads to more money in your pocket. Note that some lines may have nonrefundable deposit policies always read the fine print before deciding to pull the trigger and cancel and rebook.
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Book Your Next Cruise While On Your Cruise
The cruise lines know that the best time to sell a cruise is when their passengers are having a wonderful time on their current cruise. Most cruise lines are very generous and offer special savings to passengers that reserve and deposit a future cruise while still onboard. You may receive onboard $$$ credits towards that future cruise, a discounted rate, category upgrades and a reduced deposit.
Another advantage of booking onboard, if you know when youd like to cruise, is that you can usually find a perfect cabin location, itinerary and sail date. Most important, all you have to do is to tell the cruise lines onboard booking agent that you want to have your travel agent back home handle your new reservation.
If youre not sure of when youd like to take your next cruise, but want to take advantage of the discount, cruise lines offer a future cruise booking opportunity. You place a small deposit for a future cruise and then when you know when and where you want to go, you or your travel agent will inform the cruise line of your future cruise deposit by using the reservation number given to you at time of booking.
Future cruise bookings may have time limits or other restrictions, so be sure to know what youre buying.
The Onboard Cruise Consultant will look up your travel agents name from your existing reservation and give the credit to that agency. Chances are, the agent at home will be so excited that you might even receive a special thank you gift for your effort.
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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