Looking for the best deal on a cruise vacation? A cruise can be one of the most memorable vacations that you take in your lifetime. Here are a few tips to help you score the best deal as you cruise to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, Alaska, or the Mediterranean.
Cruise in the off-season
Cruises will be cheaper during the off season months when kids are still in school. Cruise deals are much harder to come by during June-August and around major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Easter. The months of January, February, September and October will often have the lowest prices.
Use a travel agent for group pricing
I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard, “Why would anyone use a travel agent these days? You can just do it all yourself online.” It is a phrase I hear almost daily and while I totally understand where people are coming from when they say this, you can miss out on some great deals from bypassing travel agents.
Agents who work for large travel agencies will have hundreds of groups on various cruises. These groups will often have special pricing and offer extra onboard amenities that you can’t get from booking on your own.
Another benefit from working with a good, experienced travel agent is that they often know the best cabins to book and which cabins that should be avoided. All of their knowledge and experience comes at no extra cost to you. It is a win-win for everyone.
Book early or last minute
The best benefit of booking your cruise early is that if the cruise fare drops before final payment, you can usually get the lower price. This guarantees that you will get the lowest price that was offered. Always check with the rules of the cruise fare that you book, as some fares will not allow this.
Booking a cruise at the last minute can score you some of the best cruise deals that you can find, although cruise lines have really begun to cut back on last minute deals. Cruise lines do everything they can to make sure that every cabin is booked for a cruise. If the ship sails at 85% capacity, it will stay that way the entire week as no one is joining the cruise midweek.
To take advantage of the last minute cruise deals that cruise lines offer, you will have to have a really flexible schedule and live near a cruise port as last minute prices for airfare can be outrageous.
Cruise pricing can vary from week to week based on demand. If a certain sailing isn’t selling, the cruise line will drop the price for that week so they can fill up the cabins.
Being flexible will let you take advantage of the sailings that aren’t selling well and get you cheaper cruise fares.
This is the reason why the 3 night weekend cruises to the Bahamas often cost more than the 4 night weekday cruises on the same cruise ship. The higher demand of the weekend cruises drive up the price of the cruise fares for those sailings.
Older ships can offer great value
Some of the best cruise deals that you will find will be on older ships. Newer cruise ships always have a higher demand since everyone wants to sail on the newest and most innovative ships.
Cruise lines will often add new features to ships when they go into dry dock. You can take advantage of these upgrades and pay a fraction of the cruise fare of newer ships.
Cruise to the Caribbean
The most popular cruise destination is the Caribbean. Pricing for cruises is all about supply and demand and since there are an abundance of ships that sail to the Caribbean, cruise lines have a large inventory of cabins to sell.
You can take advantage of this aggressive discounting by cruise lines by taking a cruise to the Caribbean.
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