When we think of how to save money on a cruise, thoughts often turn to finding a sale, taking advantage of past guest rates or cutting back on some part of the experience. Those ways still work and many travelers stand by waiting for a special promotion or figure ways to spend less on board. Another idea is to take advantages of new ways to save on a cruise not possible just a few years ago.
Save On Other, Less Important Parts Of Life
If your definition of a good cruise brings a price tag of concern, another way to save is controlling other expenses that have nothing to do with travel. The thought here: ‘I’ll save on other expenses so I can spend more on my cruise addiction’. Not a bad idea really, there are far more dangerous things to be addicted to.
Rather than throwing away coupons that come in the U.S Postal service mail on ‘junk mail day’, save and use them. One cruiser’s junk is another cruiser’s casino action, spa treatment or other optional onboard expense they might not have enjoyed without the savings from those coupons. The same can be said for switching cellular service companies (just use T-Mobile and laugh all the way to the bank), making a real attempt to turn off lights at home when not in use and a variety of things your parents said you should do that you don’t.
Take Advantage Of Inclusive Promotions And Onboard Specials, Maybe
Just because a cruise line places a lot of focus on their current sale, promotion or offer does not mean it’s the best value…and the word ‘value’ is one to focus on here. A promotion that touts your selection of free internet, onboard credit, shore tours or something else needs to be looked at and compared in detail.
Just the other day, I ran across a promotion from a major cruise line that offered a choice of several fares from which to choose. A resident rate for travelers who lived in a certain state brought one price. A past guest rate brought another. A special promo at the time offered a choice of customizable options, some of which were easy to define, others not so much.
At the end of an exhausting search, it came down to a fare that came with easy-to-define $300 onboard credit or a resident rate for the best value. Choosing between the two, the choice was actually quite easy: the fare that included $300 onboard credit cost $400 more than the resident rate. In other words, we would pay $400 more to get $300 onboard credit. Dumb move. We took the resident rate.
Focus On The Stateroom Category You Really Want
Sticking with a focus on value, cruise line promotions often feature “up to” a certain $ amount of savings, “up to” some number of amenities and so on. That “up to” category required to get that advertised offer is most often a suite. If you always book inside, oceanview or standard balcony staterooms, this offer is out of your reach.
In other words, don’t get too excited about a cruise line promotion until you price it out one way or another. Smart travelers will use a travel professional that knows all the ins and outs of booking with a cruise line. They can see all the different fares you qualify for lined up and easily comparable. This issue alone is one really good reason to use a travel agent as one part of your buying strategy.
Consider Booking The Beginning, Not The End Of The Buying Process Cruise lines can and do discount sailings after you book them. While spending the time to find the best value yourself or using a travel agent to do so is a good idea, consider booking just the starting point in the process. Occasionally take another look at the same exact sailing via the cruise line website. Become familiar with that site and know your way around it. Forget other buying sources for now. When a new promotion comes along that you qualify for, call the cruise line if you booked it yourself or call your travel agent if they did and see if that promotion applies to your existing booking. It may or may not.
The frequency of when to check can be as little as once every few weeks if final payment date is far in advance to every day or multiple times during the day as the sailing date comes closer. It’s up to you and often has more to do with your desire to save than any other factor.
The point of all this is to walk on the ship knowing you have made the best deal and have funds available to enjoy all the cruise line has to offer, to its fullest. Tuck these new ways to save money on a cruise away, bookmark this page, and come back later to actually do these things. You’ll be glad you did.
Chris Owen shares frank, inside information about cruise vacations on ChrisCruises.com.