The End Of July Through November
Mexicos west coast, often called the Mexican Riviera, is a popular destination for cruisers embarking from Californias ports. You can cruise along Baja California and visit Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas, as well as Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta on longer cruises, year-round.
Bargain Mexican Riviera cruises can be up for grabs during the slower season from the end of July through November. But the weather can be hotan August sailing will save you money, but be prepared for 90° temps during your days in port.
Cruises to ports on Mexicos east coast are often part of Caribbean sailings, so if youre interested in visiting Progreso, Costa Maya, Cozumel, or Cancún, jump to my section on Caribbean cruises to find the cheapest month to go.
Should You Hold Out For A Last
If you want a cabin for two people and arent fussy about where you go, when you go or on which ship, then you can definitely save money by booking your cruise 6 to 12 weeks before departure. Prices are likely to drop at this time because balance payments are due and some passengers drop out.
However, if you want a family cabin for three or four passengers, then the sad truth is that you are very unlikely to find a cheap last-minute deal.
Cabins with extra beds are always in short supply. I once went to book a cruise the day after it went on sale and all the inside four-berth cabins were already gone!
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.
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One Final Note About Finding Inexpensive Cruises
Our list of the least expensive cruise lines is focused on a general look at their prices. Its important, however, to keep in mind that just because one cruise line might have generally cheaper prices doesnt mean another cant have a cheaper cruise.
If youre focused only on the lowest price, we recommend looking across multiple cruise lines using a cruise aggregation site like our partner, AvoyaTravel.com. These websites look at all your options and you can sort the results based on the lowest price.
This is a better way to find deals than simply sticking to one specific cruise line.
Answered: Which Cruise Line Has The Cheapest Drink Package
Cruising and drinking go together like peanut butter and jelly. Sure, you dont have to drink if you dont want to, but its by far one of the most popular things to do on the ship. You only need to look to the dozen or more bars that dot a modern cruise ship to know that having a drink is a popular pastime at sea.
The one drawback of that love of drinking is that it can get extremely expensive. Beers on a ship can cost about $8 after gratuity. Want a cocktail? Expect to spend $10-12 each. It would be simple to rack up a $100 bar tab on a single evening.
Enter cruise line drink packages. For those that plan to drink heavily on their cruise, these packages are the perfect solution. You simply pay one set daily price and then you get pretty much anything you want to drink on the ship . So instead of worrying about your bar tab, you know exactly what youve spent and can just enjoy yourself.
Now, you should know that cruise lines wouldnt have these packages if they couldnt make money on them. There are a few rules around the packages that can make them more expensive for passengers.
First, drink packages have to be bought for the entirety of the trip. While you are charged on a per-day basis, you have to purchase them for every day of the cruise. Second, if one adult in a cabin purchases the drink package, then usually all adults have to buy it as well. This prevents people from buying one package and sharing it.
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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.
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.
- Marriott points are not useful if you dont stay at
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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Tips To Helps Enjoy A Cheap Cruise
Tip 1: Cruises are not often all-inclusive and become increasingly less so each year. Chris states, the gravy is what people spend on board. Cruise ships want you spending, since thats where they have the best margins. However, if you are smart and disciplined, cruises dont have to cost much more than the price of the cabin itself. Heres how to save money while on board:
Tip 2: Skip the soda A long time ago, soda was free. Now, you have to pay around $3 USD for a tiny glass, or you can pay $45-60 USD for a soda card that gives you unlimited soda for the duration of the cruise. Youd have to drink a lot of soda to make that worth it. Instead, stick to the free water, iced teas, and juices on the ship. Your wallet and insulin levels will thank you.
Tip 3: Say no to photos Do you really need some cheesy professional photos of your family? I didnt think so. Get them done back home for less or take a digital camera and have someone take them for you on the ship.
Tip 4: Avoid the restaurants On most cruise ships these days, there are specialty restaurants that you can book for an added cost. Some are à la carte, some charge a set fee. Avoid these specialty restaurants. The food in the dining areas, the buffets, and the other shops is just as good and less costly.
Tip 6: Bring your own supplies Cruise companies will let you bring one case of your own water, soda, and beer, as well as a bottle of wine onto the ship.
Tip 8: Avoid the casino This goes without saying.
Budget Options From Luxury Brands
Brit-popular cruise lines such as P& O Cruises and Cunard have sales all year round, when bargains can be snapped up on ships that don’t fall into the budget category. What’s more, these well-priced sailings are on new ships equipped with modern facilities.
P& O Cruises in particular makes a virtue of its Last Minute Cruise Deals. There are summer bargains to be had if you want to escape the British weather — even during school holidays. Plus, with P& O Cruises’ Early Saver and Saver fares, there are great discounts for those who plan ahead. These fares aren’t just applicable to European destinations either, with deals on trips to the Caribbean available.
And although Cunard would never use the word ‘bargain’ to describe its cruises, it does have Cruise Deals throughout the year. Early Saver reductions are also available if youre able to prepare in advance. Not only are there spots on European trips, but transatlantic voyages too.
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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.
What Is The Cheapest Month To Cruise
Cruising at peak season can be expensive. But if youre flexible with your travel dates, you can often find discounted cruises when you sail off-peak. Heres the cheapest month to cruise to many of the most popular destinations around the world.
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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 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.
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The Best Cheap Cruise Ships
Youll find some large price differences between different ships in each fleet. Cruising on a newer cruise ship will cost more than a cruise on an older ship. Why? Well, newer cruise ships are larger with more facilities on-board. People get excited about new ships and dont mind paying more, especially for the maiden voyages.
Are new cruise ships better? Not always. Cruise ships are thoroughly refurbished every three years, so even on the oldest ships youll never find peeling paint or shabby furnishings.
Royal Caribbean charges around $1 more per drink on the newest ships, which doesnt sound a lot but it can add up. Royal Caribbean drinks packages cost more on the newer ships too.
Rather than looking for the biggest, newest ships, dont rule out some older ships which will be as good as new once you get on-board.
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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How To Find Cheap Cruises
The first step to finding a cheap cruise is to choose your cruise line wisely.
Some cruise lines offer much cheaper cruises than others. Whilst there may be some differences in the level of service on-board or the quality of the food and entertainment, there are no bad cruise ships in the way that there are bad hotels and resorts.
Whichever cruise ship you choose, it will be spotlessly clean, the staff will look after you and youll have a great choice of quality food and entertainment.
Night Repositioning Cruise Frombarcelona To Tampa
$59 Per Day
$821 TOTAL Trip
Chase the Autumn Blues away by hopping on Caribbeans Rhapsody of the Seas. Its setting sail November 7th, 2020, and tickets are super affordable.
This repositioning cruise deal landed in our number 4 spot and is sure to impress. Enjoy 14 days of gorgeous cruising all the way from Tarragona to Tampa.
The itinerary has port stops in: the Canary Islands and the Bahamas. This ship holds up to 2400 guests and was recently renovated in 2016. Definitely a bucket list cruise at a truly affordable price.
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Night Repositioning Cruise Fromsavona To Pointe
$26 Per Day
$516 TOTAL Trip
Topping our list in the number one spot is the cheapest cruise in the world! Costa is known for being budget friendly, but this price is outta this world! For only $26 per day you could be sailing for 20 days from Savona to Pointe-a-Pitre on the Costa Magica.
Departing on December 6th, 2020 the ship will set sail with stops in: France, Spain, The Canary Islands, Martinique, Domincian Republic and St. Maarten.
The ship was refurbuished in 2017 and can hold up to 2600 passengers. On board amenities include 4 pools, 5 jacuzzis, casino, gym and spa.
We hope this list of the Cheapest Cruises in 2020 gives you some great ideas for your next vacation! Like we mentioned above, this list changes as ships get sold-out. We will be updating it frequently, so check back often!
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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.
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