Cruises are some of the most versatile travel options you can find. A cruise can take you to a tropical paradise, set you on a tour through the Amazon, take you to an Alaskan expedition, show your family the time of their lives (with an extended stop at Disney World!), and so much more. But finding the best deals and the best ways to save money when cruise shopping isn’t always easy. Below are ten tips from the seasoned agents here at WorldTravelService®. For more tips on getting the best cruise rates, contact us for exclusive travel offers.
So, how exactly do you save money when booking a cruise?
- Identify your must-haves - Before you even begin your cruise search, you should identify your must-haves. This includes the most important things you care about for your vacation, and where you’re willing to have wiggle room to save some extra cash. For example, if you’re not willing to budge on airfare, finding a port that has the cheapest flights for you to get there may want to be the most important search factor.
- Have flexible dates - If you’ve already put in a request for time off at your workplace, or are dead-set on being on-board for your anniversary, chances are you might not get the best cruise prices. Having flexible dates allows you a broader range of cruise lines, ships, and destinations to choose from.
- Use a travel agency - Let’s be honest. If time is money, you’re wasting a lot of money doing all the research on your own. Unlimited options and access to unfathomable amounts of information on the internet is enough to make any vacation planner tear their hair out. Travel agencies like WorldTravelService® won’t just save you time and peace of mind, they also have access to some insider deals the public may not know about. It’s their job to put together the best packages and create the best deals because let’s face it, if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be in business.
- Book early - This one is pretty self-explanatory. Room rates get higher the more in-demand they are, so you can find cabins at a significantly reduced rate if you book way in advance.
- Book late - This one is also pretty self-explanatory. Like hotels, cruises want to sell out all available rooms, and usually have last-minute discounts to fill up the ones that haven’t sold..
- Do your research on discounts - Did you know there’s such a thing as National Cruise Week,where you can find discounts of up to 50%? That and other industry tidbits are at the tip of your fingers if you know how to use Google. Compare discounts from different cruise lines and even hotels and airfare to put together the package that costs the least.
- Become brand-loyal - Most cruise lines have a rewards program that offers you discounts non-members may not have access to. For example, some offer huge price reductions if you book your next cruise while your onboard your current one. They’ll even usually throw in a few extra goodies, like on-board credit.
- Sail on an older ship - Cruise lines really want you to sail on their newest, most tricked-out ships, so tickets for their older ships often come at a discount. If you don’t mind cruising without a rock-climbing wall or 37 restaurants, this could be a good opportunity for you to save some money.
- Sail off-season - Certain destinations aren’t as popular certain times of the year, and in between the high season and the low season is what’s called “shoulder season” in the travel world. Shoulder season is the perfect time to go because temperatures are still mild but crowds are less and prices have already dipped. If you time it just right you can land your dream cruise for a fraction of the price it would be two months earlier! Depending on your destination, shoulder season varies. European cruises, for example, tend to be cheaper in late fall and early spring. October is a great time to find excellent discounts on cruises in the Caribbean, but it also coincides with the tail end of hurricane season. Don’t worry about getting caught in one, cruise ships can always alter their itinerary to sail around brewing storms, but be prepared to be flexible.
- Be smart about airfare - What’s the point of saving $500 on a cruise if you have to pay an extra $700 to get to its port? Airfare has a nasty way of sneaking up on your after you’ve decided your budget for cruising, so make sure to think ahead. There are tons of ports around the US you probably didn’t even know existed, so - ask one of our agents where the cheapest airfare can get you and what cruising options you have.
Congratulations, you’ve now become an expert on how to save money on cruises! So what are you waiting for? Book your dream cruise today!