Tips to Booking Cheap Cruises
Can you really pay pennies on the dollar for a cruise?
Before you book your next or first cruise, learn the different ways that you can save money. I once sat on a flight and accidentally saw the ticket price from a man sitting next to me. He paid half of what that I paid for the exact same flight. The same is true with cruises. The couple staying in the room next to you could have paid much more than you did, or paid much less. You are probably saying to yourself right now, how is this possible, a room costs a certain amount and that is the price you pay, right? WRONG! I will tell you several different ways you can pay less on your next cruise. It doesn’t matter if you want to cruise on Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival, Disney or any other cruise line. These tips WILL help you save money.
Prices on cruises can fluctuate, not as much as airline tickets but they do move up and down. If the cruise you would like to take is far enough in advance, check weekly on prices. Also, if your schedule is flexible, cruises are usually cheaper in January/February and in September/October. Depending on the time of year that you go can save you as much as 50%. Stay away from holidays and the summer months when kids are out of school and families are more likely to go on vacation.
Find the Cruise Cost
The most important thing you need to know when getting started is how much the cruise that you would like to go on cost. Go to the cruise lines website and see if they are offering any deals. They often offer deals that include room credit. Once you get the price of your cruise, you can then proceed to step 2.
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Visit the Discount Travel Websites
Now that you have the price that the cruise line would charge you if you booked directly through them, go to Book That Vacation, Priceline, Orbitz, Expedia and Hotwire and see if they are offering any specials and the bonus of room credit. Cruise Lines set the prices for cruises so the base price should be the SAME through every agency. If one of them happens to have a group, many times they can offer you that discounted price.
Call or visit your local Travel Agent
There is a secret that your travel agent probably doesn’t want you to know. While they can’t actually lower the price of the cruise, many times they throw in extras like onboard credit. This does come out of their commission so they won’t always offer it, but many aggressive travel agents will add in extras to get you to book with them.
If you have a Cosco membership, they often offer great deals on cruises that no one online can match. Sometimes they offer deals that are only valid if you pay with an American Express credit card, but as they say, American Express has its privileges.
Last Minute Deals Can Save You 80%
If you live near a cruise port, then this last and best option is for you. The weekend before my last cruise, I decided to look up what the going rate was for the cruise. I was shocked to see that the same room I paid $450/person for was going for $119/person. Cruise lines do not like to have open rooms so many times they will greatly discount rooms so the ship will sail away full. This is the best way to get a killer deal on a cruise. However, you need to live near a port or have a really flexible work schedule to take advantage of the last minute deals.