The first secret to saving money on any vacation, including a cruise is - flexibility
This seems logical – but it can prove difficult. If you are retired, this is an easy task - you may be able to go anytime. But even families can often figure out better times to cruise other than during peak season. You must understand when peak season is and that is generally going to be the summer, holidays, and spring break. Our favorite times to travel are late summer as most children go back to school and January. Study the calendar – even with children – these can be done.
If you are flexible, you can cruise for 20% of the full priced fare. How do you do this? Find a good website that offers great discounting on cruises such as Vacations to Go. You can leave the work to a tracking program to find you great cruise prices on sites like Cruise Critic. You can also check directly with cruise lines website. Whatever you do don’t pay the brochure price as the cruising business is tough competition. Be sure that you check out other options when looking to book such as last-minute fares.
You can cruise for 20% of the full priced fare!
Room types vary greatly on price. If you can tolerate an inside cabin, you can often go for pennies on the dollar. Booking rooms in undesirable locations on the ship is also a way to save big bucks. However, bargains are to be found for balconies and suites on the right cruise if you have flexibility of departure and you book well in advance.
Look for cruises that are not heavily booked. Cruise companies will be offering discounts as they like to fill their ships and fill them early. You can find these by searching the discounted offerings being given on agent sites. Either way, if you book your ship early or at the last minute, you will find tremendous savings.
Another great way to save money on your next cruise, is to depart close to home. If you live in Seattle, start with the Alaskan cruises. If you’re fortunate to live in the southeast, there’s plenty of cruise terminals within a day’s drive. Cruising from a nearby port saves on travel dollars and perhaps lodging on the front an back end. As a reminder, those flying in should arrive a day early.
Watch for advertisements offering free upgrades. Sometimes you can get a balcony for the price of an outside cabin if you watch for the sales advertisements and jump on the deal when you see it. Typically, there are new promotions almost every week. Make sure you surf the internet and look for bargains while searching for the cruise. You can often find lower prices on the same room and sail date.
One final thought is to book while you’re on board your next cruise. Many times, cruise ships will have a sales department on the ship. They seek out folks having a great time and perhaps that have had a few drinks. They will offering tremendous values with a relatively small deposit requirement. Often the deposit you pay is fully refundable or transferable to a different itinerary. The cruise sales team on board the ship will have tremendous experience and will be able to help you find a good value, using all the promotional offers available. Also, this is one of the few ways to find out about exception values on exclusive sailings and rooms that you will not see advertised on the internet.