How To Find Discount Cruises in 2024

How To Find Discount Cruises in 2024

Cruises can be such a fun break from real life—you explore several places in a short amount of time and spend your days lying out by the pool instead of driving from location to location. There are also plenty of options for indulging in different types of foods and drinks, watching shows, and participating in other social activities with your fellow cruise-goers. [1]

It’s no wonder that cruises are so expensive, as they include easy access to amenities and offer the convenience of not having to drive– but are there options for booking cruises in a more affordable manner? Try utilizing these tips to get you sailing more often for a cheaper price.

Timing is Everything

There are two perspectives on this tip—either book early, or book late. Whichever route you choose should be dependent on several factors, such as the time of the year and the location you would like to visit. During more popular seasons (which are dependent upon the weather of your desired location), cruisers are encouraged to book early, as fares may increase and rooms are likely to get booked quickly. This is especially true during the summer and other school holidays, as many families do not have the option of traveling at other times of the year. [1]

Planning to go somewhere fun and exotic? Places like Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands tend to fill up very quickly, so it is recommended to buy your tickets sooner, rather than later. This is also true for cruises that are themed as well as luxury cruises. The closer you get to setting sail, the more the price will likely increase. If there is a place you are dying to go and a particular cruise line you want to use, try not to delay your booking. [1]

On the other hand, waiting to book your cruise can save you money, depending on the circumstances. If your cruise line is having difficulty fully booking the ship, the company may reduce the prices as the trip gets closer to avoid losing money on empty rooms. This can work to your advantage, especially if some of the more expensive cabins have not yet been booked, as the cruise line will not want these rooms to be empty. [2]

There are pros and cons to booking early versus booking late. While you may save some money, you also take on the risk of prices increasing, rather than decreasing, and you may have limited options for choice of cabin. If you are trying to book a popular cruise during a high season, you risk not getting a spot altogether if you wait too long to book. Another factor to consider when booking closer to the cruise date is whether you will need to fly, as airfares are often higher when booked shortly prior to departure date. [1-2]

Be Flexible With Your Options

If you are able to take vacation time with little notice, you may save yourself money by booking cruises during off-seasons or during special promotional periods throughout the year. Booking a repositioning cruise during a shoulder season, which is dependent upon the destination, can save you a lot of money. For example, the shoulder seasons for an Alaskan cruise are April and September. Rates for cruises to this destination are likely to be cheaper at these times, and the cruise may also be less crowded; however, be sure to check your destination’s weather during these months before making a commitment. [1-2]

Try booking a guaranteed cabin if you are able to be flexible with the location of your cabin on the ship. These deals guarantee you a spot, but they do not allow you to select the exact room. In doing so, you may save around 50-100 dollars per passenger, which can add up to quite a bit, especially if you are traveling with others. On the other hand, this may not be a great idea for individuals who get seasick, as the cabin you end up in may not be in a location that is conducive to keeping you stable and well. [1]

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Traveling in a group can also save you money, if you are interested in including others as a part of your journey. Some cruise lines will provide people traveling in groups with extra amenities (such as credit to use on the ship) or discounted fares. Be sure to check with the cruise line to determine how many travelers need to be together to be considered a “group” so that you can plan your trip accordingly. [1]

Use All of Your Resources

There’s something to say about being prepared and intentional. Using all of your resources can help you save big in the long-run. Firstly, ask about any special discounts that may be applicable to you. For example, some cruise lines offer discounts to seniors aged 55 and older or discounts for military veterans. Some cruises may offer residential discounts in effort to bring in more passengers from a particular state. [1-2]

When doing your research, be on the lookout for special bundles. They may not look like true discounts on the surface, but when you organize all of the expenses for the trip, these bundles will likely be cheaper than purchasing each portion of the trip separately. Cruise lines may provide packages that cover hotels, flights, and excursions into one price. [2]

It is also important to be on the lookout for special promotions, which may include deals to save you money on the amenities offered on the ship. Look for promotions on free WIFI or drink packages to help save on the bottom line. Additionally, if you are able to book multiple cruises with the same line, you will likely build up loyalty points over time that can be used to offset costs of future trips. Being a loyal cruise-goer will increase your likelihood of getting perks such as complimentary drinks and cabin upgrades. [1]

Lastly, use your Internet and travel agency resources to help save money on your next vacation. If you know where you want to travel early on, you can research the typical rates for cruises in the area and search for available specials. You could also register your email address with cruise lines you are interested in using so that you will receive promotional information in a timely manner. [1]

Using a travel agent sounds like it would be more costly, but it can actually save you money in the end. Travel agents tend to have relationships with cruise lines that they often work with, which makes them eligible for deals that may not be available to the general public. These agents also book in bulk, which can help them qualify for additional savings. [1]

Looking forward to your next cruise? These tips can save you a boatload of money to get you set up for future vacations. Being savvy with your booking strategies may take some extra practice and time, but it’ll be worth it in the end when you’re sailing through the Mediterranean with a cocktail in hand!

References:

[1] https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=1096
[2] https://travel.usnews.com/features/how-to-score-last-minute-cruise-deals-in-2022

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