Cruising is one of the best ways to spend your vacation, but it often comes at a steep price. Still, if you know a few secrets, you will not have to pay a whole lot to enjoy a trip to your favorite exotic locale. Use the following tips to get a great deal on the cruise you've been looking for.
There are several different ways that you can save when you are booking. Any one of these options will save you money on your overall cruise costs.
1. First, you can save money by booking your cruise several months in advance. Most cruise lines offer an "early bird discount." You can get these discounts by contacting a cruise line six to nine months before you plan on leaving. This can also help save your budget because you'll have several months to pay off the balance on your account. Instead of paying one lump sum for your cruise, you can make small installment payments.
2. You can also save money on a cruise by booking a last minute cruise. Cruise ships do not want to leave the harbor with empty rooms. They will give great bargains in order to get those rooms filled. The closer the departure date gets, the better the price. If you choose your date, start looking a few weeks before the trip. With this method, however, you'll be limited in your cabin choice. You'll have to take what you can get.
3. Another cheap booking method is to take a one-way cruise. These are offered when a cruise ship is changing port cities for the season. You can take the cruise ship to its new destination and then fly back home when you're done visiting there. Call your favorite cruise line and see if they offer any "repositioning cruises." They can last from a few days to a few weeks and have unique itineraries with lots of days at sea.
4. You can save even more money by traveling as a group. Group cruise packages are often less per person than the costs would be if you cruise alone or as a couple. If you can gather a group of eight to twelve people, you can sometimes get a free room. Split the costs among the entire group and you can all save.
5. There are off-season periods for all of the popular cruise destinations. Do not try to travel during the busy times of year. Early May to late September is off-season for Alaskan cruises. European cruises are cheapest before and after summer. Caribbean cruises have the best prices during the month of January. Do a bit of research on the popular times to travel and then plan your trip for an off-peak season.
6. Do not be afraid to consult with a travel agent. Although there is a bit of a belief that travel agents have more expensive rates, a qualified travel agent can find a good deal for you based on your budget. They can be especially helpful if you're going the group route. Instead of trying to organize the arrangements yourself, you can simply let a travel agent do it for you.