Finding a real cruise bargain or even just a high quality cruise that fits within your budget is a combination of good planning, timing and a splash of good fortune. Also, what counts as a "special," "good buy," or "great deal" is a matter of perception, differenting for most individuals depending on their budget, cruise ship experience and the amenities they expect to receive.
Remember, like any product, you often get what you pay for with cruises. That does not mean there are not good deals to be found. But much like the hotel markets, cruise ships will range from top-of-the-line deluxe ships with five-star restaurants and all-inclusive amenities to outdated boats with basic rooms and cafeteria-style buffets.
Because of this discrepancy in accommodations, food and facilities, cruises can range in price from less than $ 100 per day for a person to over $ 1000 a day. You may think you're getting the deal of your life and soon find yourself in an inside cabin with no windows, sailing on a boat that charges you $ 8 for a glass of soda and does not even have a pool.
First time cruise buyers should either consult directly with an experienced travel agent or be willing to invest a lot of time reading online customer reviews and consulting with friends about ships and lines to look for, and those to avoid.
The easiest way to stay on budget or find great deals is to either be incredibly flexible or thoroughly planned. The first option of total flexibility allows you to look on discount travel web sites for either last-minute deals or unexpected specials. If the destination and dates are of little importance to you, this can be a great way to pick up a fantastic discount.
Your second option is to choose a destination, set a maximum travel budget and start surfing the web sites of cruise lines that interest you. Most cruise line companies will advertise their weekly or daily specials directly on their web sites, allowing you to quickly scan for deals that fit your timeline, wants and cabin requirements.
Another way to save money is to opt for an inside cabin on an upscale cruise. Admittedly, your room will most likely be small and windowless, but if you book on a luxury cruise with a wide range of amenities, you'll be spending the major of your time outside your cabin anyway. You'll also have more of your budget available for trips like shore excursions and spa treatments.