If you want to go on a cruise, you can’t simply show up at the dock on the day of departure and expect to get on a ship. You have to first search for deals on cruises and make your reservation. While some last minute deals may be possible, you still need to make the reservation as early as possible before the ship is scheduled to take off.
There are many things to consider before deciding on a cruise: the itinerary, price, departure location, ports of call, excursions, number of nights, cruise line, ship, etc.
Keep these factors in mind when searching for deals and comparing itineraries.
Here are a few tips on getting good deals on cruises:
• Don’t spend twice as much on airfare. In most cases, it’s a lot cheaper to cruise when the departure and return city are one in the same. This way, you’ll save on airfare and cruising both. Or, if you’re within a day’s drive of the departure city, it might be a lot cheaper just to drive to the port and pay to leave your vehicle parked or the duration of the cruise. Compare the costs of daily parking with airfare.
• If you’re traveling with the family or a group of friends, look for family or group discounts. There are many types of group discounts offered by the cruise lines: wedding ceremonies, anniversaries, birthday parties, class reunions, retirement parties, and so forth. The leading cruise lines all offer some sort of discount for kids as well. Some even offer free fare to kids below a certain age.
• Keep in mind that cruise fares – just like airline tickets – fluctuate often. In fact, they can change daily. In general, the lowest fares are usually the earliest (eight months or more prior to the departure), or the latest (within two months before sailing). However, if the cruise is popular and the cabins are selling out fast, you might not want to risk waiting until the last minute. If you’re not picky, however, and have no specific dates in mind, it might be worthwhile to wait and see what kind of last minute deals pop up.
• Decide whether or not you just want a basic package as possible. Do you need any of the “extras”, like a dining and drinking package, spa package, excursions, concierge service, a private balcony, etc? Or would it be cheaper just to pay for some of these as the need for them comes along? It’s almost always a given that the shore excursions planned by the cruise lines are NOT the cheapest, and that you will save by either going through a third party travel company or planning the excursion yourself.
These are just a few ideas to give you an idea of the kinds of discounts and deals on cruises available.
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