A cruise can be the ultimate vacation. A luxurious vessel that delivers you from incredible destination to incredible destination while offering top-notch amenities, mouth-watering food, and memories to last a lifetime? What could be better?
Everything that makes a cruise amazing also, unfortunately, factors into the pricing. For all of their benefits, cruises can command top dollar prices. For the budget traveler, or anyone just looking to not waste money when it is possible to spend less, finding the best cruise deals is a critical part of vacation planning.
We have compiled our top six tips for landing yourself the best cruise deals. Are you ready to just book? Skip ahead to our Choose a Trusted Source section and click the affiliate link to be taken directly to a guaranteed resource and book your dream vacation now.
Timing is Everything
Anyone who has spent time traveling knows that the timing of booking can make or break your travel budget.
Knowing the best time to book a cruise is a great place to start. You can book the exact same cruise on the same ship headed to the same destinations and see two very different prices.
As a general rule, cruise prices are at their lowest during the early months of fall- September, and October- as well as toward the end of winter- January and February. The lower pricing of these dates centers around the typical school schedule; since most are in school and at work during these months, fewer people are traveling. Summer trips and dates of other major holidays tend to book early, especially those ships visiting exotic destinations.
However, this is not always true. If you look at a cruise through New England or Canada in the fall, the prices may be higher, as visitors are looking for a chance to appreciate the beauty of the fall foliage in these regions. Asian cruises in January and February will see a spike of their own as visitors take their holidays during Chinese New Year.
Another factor to consider is the negatives that come with your booking times. Sure, you may save on a Caribbean cruise in the fall, but there is also the likelihood that a hurricane could impact your trip.
The key to achieving the best deal is to book early… but not too early. Cruise lines love to have their cabins booked as early as possible. For this reason, early-bird bookers who book at least six months in advance are likely to receive the best deal.
The other benefit of early booking is the ability to choose your ideal cabin. This is particularly important if you are traveling with a larger group.
Typically, cruise ships are not the place to look for last-minute savings. They are also not the trip to book too far in advance. If you book your tickets more than a year in advance, you may end up missing out on any savings available and will receive no real benefit.
Do Your Research
It may feel exhausting to look at cruise line after cruise line, researching the difference between ships, destinations, and offerings. However, trust in this- you will not regret it. Don’t settle for a fantastic cruise deal without checking out the ship, its reviews, and the destinations, because no matter how good the deal if the trip is disappointing you will be walking away unhappy.
It can be well worth paying a bit extra to ensure that the trip encapsulates your dream vacation, and saving a hundred bucks will not make up for a disappointing vacation.
Take Advantage of Social Media
In today’s world of social media and aggressive marketing, it is possible to utilize your social media accounts for cruise discounts.
First, if you have Twitter, follow all of the major cruise agencies. Many will tweet their best deals or other news. Newsletters are also likely to contain deals. Sign up for the email alerts for your favorite cruise lines to receive regular updates on promotions, offers, and last-minute deals.
There are a few discounts to keep in mind that you may be eligible for. If you meet any of the below criteria, you may be able to score a better price on your dream vacation:
- Active Military
- Emergency Responders
- Specific State Residents
Speak with your travel agent or cruise line today to determine if you or your group are eligible for a discount due to the above statuses.
Repositioning is when cruise ships are moved to different locations for maximum service. Cruise ships cannot typically run the same routes all year round. For example, an Alaskan cruise would not be particularly pleasant in the middle of winter, nor would a trip to the choppy seas of the Mediterranean during the winter months.
To avoid these issues, ships will change position. To avoid sailing a ship with empty rooms, cruise lines will drop prices sharply.
One excellent way to save on your cruise booking is to take advantage of these deals. However, before you do, consider these points. On the one hand, you will be able to visit some unique locations you might never have made the time to visit before. Also, many of these trips have rich activities onboard. On the other hand, though, you may be looking at a longer trip overall, with more days at sea as the ship crosses wider expanses of ocean with fewer stops at ports between. There is also the consideration of the “open jaw ticket”, or airline tickets that have different departure and origin cities.
Choose a Trusted Source
If you are simply ready to book your cruise and do not have the time to price hunt and scour page after page, we have you covered!
We are a proud partner of Get Away Today, a resource dedicated to offering the best deals for all those looking for the best prices right now. Book now through their easy, convenient portal to access immediate savings without any of the legwork.
Dean has been writing and blogging for over 10 years. He specializes in Disney theme park news including updates, openings, special events and general advice for travelers. He doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly. His previous work includes being a Cast Member at Disneyland and working as a travel agent.