Avid cruise guests will know there is an art to getting a good deal on your cruise booking. Not only do package deals fluctuate frequently and significantly, but there are also many other elements that can affect the total cost of your holiday.
But don’t fret; we’ve created 10 top tips to help you navigate the different options and ensure you get the best value deal.
1. Timing is critical
Prices may reduce at the last minute to fill a ship. However, you could also get the best price when a new itinerary is released as cruise providers assess its popularity. So, keep checking in or sign up for price alerts to weigh up your options.
2. Look for early bird, low-price guarantees
Cruise providers are keen to fill ships early, so sometimes offer a low-price guarantee, meaning they’ll match any better deals later on.
3. Be flexible on where and when
If you can travel out of peak season, are prepared to pack your bags and go last minute or are up for discovering different destinations, you are more likely to find the best deals.
Look out for repositioning cruises. These are one-way trips when cruise providers move ships from one part of the world to the next and can offer great bargains.
4. Size matters
Ship and cabin size will affect the price of your package. Larger ships provide a more extensive range of facilities but are likely to be more costly. Similarly, you’ll pay extra for a more spacious cabin or one that offers a balcony. Weigh up the importance of these elements to find a cruise that is best for you.
5. Deals on dining and drinks
Standard dining and drinks with meals are included in most cruise packages. But speciality dining and additional drinks are often extra, so check what’s included in your holiday price. Evaluate the benefits of adding a drinks package and look out for other discounts offered at the time of booking; these can help avoid ad hoc costs adding up when onboard.
6. Explore independently
Cruise providers will offer excursions at every stop-off. But often they sell out and can make your cruise more expensive. When sights and attractions are easily accessible from the port, try exploring independently. However, for more remote locations, a guided tour may make more sense. Do your research to work out which excursions are most worthwhile.
7. Evaluate entertainment
Cruise ships are well-known for their fabulous shows, and usually, these are included in your package price, as are a variety of other games, quizzes and entertainment. However, some specialist activities, such as cooking classes, yoga and spa visits, may cost extra. Sometimes, you can enjoy savings if these are pre-booked, so try and think about what you want to do in advance.
8. Get familiar with gratuities
Tipping while onboard is expected, so to make things easier, cruise providers offer prepaid gratuity packages that can be added to the cost of your holiday. Alternatively, cruise ships may add an auto-gratuity payment to your ship account. Check with your cruise provider to find out which option offers the best value.
9. Loyalty pays
Once you’ve experienced a cruise, it’s more than likely you’ll be hooked. It’s an incredible way to holiday! And the great thing is most cruise providers offer loyalty schemes, rewarding returning customers with all kinds of upgrades, special packages and VIP events.
10. Research, research, research… or call us to help!
To get the best deal, it’s worth spending a bit of time researching what your options are and how they stack up against one another. Of course, you can also get in contact with one of our specialist cruise consultants, who will help you find the best deals that ensure you get the most of your next cruise holiday.// END - About the Author ?>