Sailing the seven seas sometimes comes with a hefty price tag. In fact, some cruises can cost up to a half-year’s salary, thanks to new ships, technology and recreational activities. But not all cruises are expensive especially when incorporating budget-friendly strategies. When needing to keep your checkbook in mind, be sure to contemplate these following tips to help fund a fantastic yet affordable cruise.
Book with a Travel Agent
Technology and phone apps make travel arrangements easy; however, when looking to score a deal, consult your local travel agent. Travel agents can score a deal while educating you on what parts of the cruise ship are most ideal for lodging. Every agent is different, but going to a company’s agent will land a better deal or discount. Plus, an agent has connections with local vendors who can get discounts or cheaper prices on land activities.
Avoid Peak Season
High season means high prices. Low season means cheaper prices. If you’re heart isn’t set on a crowded atmosphere or whether or not the whales will swim by, book outside the peak window. Peak season for many locations like Alaska, Europe and islands are during the summer months or when school and work is out (holiday weeks).
Most sailors’ dream of waking up to open their eyes to the oceanfront view. Unfortunately, suites and ocean-view rooms are more expensive. Travelers looking to save a buck, and only spend their sleeping hours in the room, can book an inside cabin room. These rooms are not fancy but provide the sleeping attire. Booking inside rooms can save several hundred dollars.
Sign up For Deals
American businesses thrive on deals and discounts. Websites such as Groupon and Living Social periodically offer cruise deals. Plus, a newsletter such as Travel Zoo scope out the latest deals and provides them in their weekly newsletter. However, be sure to read the fine print as some promotional deals sound too good to be true, which includes taxes and port fees that can range up to $500.
Go Big or Go Home
Cruise ships come in various sizes and capacity limits. Small ships are ideal for travelers who enjoy an intimate atmosphere and an opportunity to get acquainted with crew members. However, smaller ships at times cannot compete compared to larger cruise ships such as NCL, Princess and Caribbean. Since there are more people on these cruise lines the prices are typically lower and offer more sales.
For a better selection and opportunity for a free upgrade, make your travel plans early. January through March is known as the cruise industry’s “wave season,” which offers extra perks such as room upgrade, free transportation, onboard credits and even free airfare. Last minute deals offer cheaper prices but perks are generally not included.