Cruising is an easy and affordable way to crush your bucket list, but these days, prices are higher than ever. It always comes down to supply vs. demand, and demand is off the charts BUT you can still score a good deal if you are savvy.
I am often asked how to get the best “deal” on a cruise and I have two answers for you (in reverse order, if I do say so myself):
The lowest cruise prices will be found when demand is lower: mostly when schools are in session and on more basic itineraries. These days schooling is becoming more mobile friendly, which is blurring the lines.
If you want to plan a family cruise, you may be limited to the same school breaks as everyone else. One common misunderstanding is that cruises to the Caribbean will be lower in the summer because it’s so incredibly hot. Or that people want to stay home during the holidays.
FALSE! This couldn’t be further from the truth.
These are peak season and the prices will reflect that.
Maybe you work in an industry that only allows time off during a certain time of year, and it just so happens to be peak season.
If you want to cruise to a destination with a shorter season, like Alaska or Europe, demand will be a bit higher. The same goes for more unique itineraries in places like Antarctica, Asia, Africa…That’s a lot of “A” destinations but you get the idea.
So, how can you ensure a memorable and value-packed cruise experience throughout the year? Here are some tips, whether you choose to work with a cruise specialist or not:
1. Book as Early as Possible
One of the golden rules of finding the best cruise deals is to book as early as possible. The best rates are usually available when you plan ahead. Cruise lines often reward early birds with lower fares and additional perks. This can also allow you to make payments if you wish, which just makes it feel more affordable.
2. Stay Loyal to One Cruise Line
Loyalty pays off in the cruising world. Stick to one cruise line to build loyalty status, which can result in discounts and exclusive perks. Accumulating loyalty points can open the door to upgrades, priority boarding, private parties, and other benefits that enhance your cruise experience.
3. Look for Qualification Discounts
Make sure to explore any discounts you may qualify for. Factors like your state of residence, military service, or being over 55 can open the door to special rates and promotions. It's essential to check all the boxes to secure every discount available to you.
4. Consider Non-Refundable Deposits
Booking a non-refundable deposit rate can often yield lower fares. If you're confident in your commitment to the cruise, non-refundable rates are usually the most cost-effective choice. However, in some cases, our exclusive rates are even lower than these non-refundable rates and are refundable.
Balancing Cost and Experience
Remember that a cheap vacation can be a very expensive mistake.
While budget-conscious travelers aim to find the best deals, it's crucial not to compromise on the overall cruise experience. Flexibility can lead to discounts, but it's equally important to ensure you get the experience you are looking for. If you're a fan of brand-new ships with all the latest features, don't settle for an older, worn-out vessel that might annoy you for the whole trip. Similarly, if you're a foodie, choose a cruise line renowned for its culinary offerings.
Avoid the Gimmicks: It's the Final Price That Matters
Cruise lines frequently promote various specials, sales, and promotions. While these can be enticing, it's important to remember that the final price is what truly matters. Don't get too hung up on marketing gimmicks. Look for the bottom line, which includes all expenses, to make an informed decision.
The Expert Touch: Working with Cruise Specialists
Our team is equipped with the experience and technology to identify the best cruise experience and value based on some basic criteria. If you're flexible with your travel dates, we can swiftly pinpoint where you'll get the most bang for your buck. We'll also ensure you access every available discount and amenity, providing you with a comprehensive package tailored to your preferences. We are the best matchmakers, having sailed on many ships and lines ourselves. We know because we go!
Even if you are a luxury cruiser, you can still benefit from working with us. We offer $300 to spend on board on most luxury lines and we can help you identify the best-priced sailings during your travel dates. We also offer “hosted” cruises with additional amenities like cocktail parties and/or free excursions.
Once we have nailed down the value part, we’ll continue to service your trip until you return and beyond. We’ll make sure you always know what you need to do and when, and that you are fully prepared to enjoy every minute of your cruise.
If you are interested in working with a cruise expert who will learn about your priorities and take the time to find the best options for YOU, click HERE to get started.
If you are not ready to plan, but want to know about our exclusive rates and amenities, join our email list HERE.