If you play your cards right, a cruise can be your best vacation bargain. When you go on a cruise, you take your hotel room with you, and the daily cost of a discount cruise can be less than the rack rate at a good hotel. When you consider that rate includes not only lodging but food and entertainment as well, it is easy to see why so many travelers find cruising such a great bargain.
Whether you are booking a cruise for the first time or just looking for a great deal, shopping smart can save you a lot of money. Just use these tips to get the most for your money on the high seas.
1. Don’t Be Scared Off By Hurricane Season
Many first-time cruisers worry that booking their Atlantic voyage for June through November will guarantee rough seas and high winds. While it is true that the Atlantic hurricane season runs starts on June 1 and extends through the end of November, it is also true that cruise ships have amazing technology that allows their captains to avoid the rough spots and find calmer seas.
Modern cruise ships are very good at predicting rough weather and altering their courses accordingly. You may experience a few changes in your itinerary and ports of call, but you will still have a great time. Even better, you will save a lot of money, since this I the time when cruise lines offer their absolute best discounts. If you are still worried about the impact of hurricane season, a low-cost travel insurance policy can provide extra protection and peace of mind.
2. Use a Travel Agent
Cruising is one place where a travel agent can be very valuable. Cruising can be complicated, especially if you have never done it before. An experienced travel agent will have insider secrets that no first-time cruiser could know. That expertise can be extremely valuable, and it could actually save you money.
A travel agent with experience in the cruise industry may be able to get you a discounted cabin upgrade so you can enjoy a bigger and better room for no extra cost. The travel agent can also help you if something unexpected happens during your trip, and that can be very important.
3. Consider a Luxury All-Inclusive Cruise
You may think that a luxury cruise is out of your price range, but that is not necessarily the case. If you are looking for an all-inclusive cruise package, a luxury line may actually be the best value.
That is because many discount cruise lines make up for their low prices by nickel and diming their customers once they are onboard. If you book one of those rock-bottom rates, you might find yourself being charged extra for everything from shore excursions and shipboard dance classes to dinner reservations and soft drinks – all things that are generally included in an all-inclusive luxury cruise.
4. Consider a Repositioning Cruise
Getting a giant cruise ship from one part of the world to another is no easy feat. The cruise ship that spends its summer navigating the glaciers of Alaska may head to the Caribbean in winter. That means a one-way sea voyage for the cruise line, and a super cheap repositioning cruise for smart travelers.
If you are flexible about travel times and destinations, talk to your travel agent about booking a repositioning cruise. You can save a lot of money and have fun doing it.
5. Look for Last Minute Savings
Travelers who are able to pick up and leave at the last minute can often score the best cruise deals. Last minute cruises are perfect for retirees and others with lots of leisure time.
You can find last minute cruise deals on the internet; a number of popular websites specialize in them. You can also ask your travel agent to watch out for last minute deals on your behalf. No matter which path you take, you can get onboard some great ships at a deep discount.