How to Find a Cheap Cruise
Smaller boats are often less expensive. (Photo: cruise ship leaving image by Paula Gent from Fotolia.com )
Considering that most of your food, drink and entertainment is covered in the price, a cruise is actually not an expensive vacation–that is, if you stay in a less-expensive, lower, interior stateroom and forgo the sometimes-costly excursions and extra packages. Combine those savings with a cheap booking price, and you can experience the luxury of a cruise without breaking the bank.
Book early. Making reservations six to 12 months in advance can yield more savings than booking closer to the sail date. You also are more likely to find a promotion or special, such as one that will give you an upgrade to a nicer stateroom or give back money in the form of cruise bucks to spend on your trip. Cruise lines often offer promotions to get the staterooms booked early.
Book within 30 days of your intended departure date as an alternative to booking well in advance. This is more risky and you will have fewer cabin choices, but you might find a better bargain, since cruises do not like to set sail with empty staterooms.
Depart from popular ports. For example, Baja California cruises that depart from Los Angeles are cheaper than those that depart from San Francisco. Find cheap airfare or perhaps spend a day driving, and you can save hundreds of dollars per person.
Travel to less-exotic destinations. For example, porting in Nassau, Bahamas, is less expensive than porting in St. Thomas and the Virgin Islands.
Research online using a site such as Kayak.com, which will searches hundreds of travel booking sites and all of the major ones for cruises, such as cruises.com and cruises411.com.
Use a travel agent, who will have access to the best deals and has the experience to tell which deals are better than average. He is also more likely to get you an upgrade or two. Tell your travel agent about the best deals you found online, so he can find a better rate or another cruise that is even cheaper. He also might be able to negotiate with the cruise line to get some of your money back if rates drop after you book.
Leaf Group is a USA TODAY content partner providing general travel information. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.
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About the Author
Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
- cruise ship leaving image by Paula Gent from Fotolia.com