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How to Save Money Booking Cruises

June 3rd · No Comments

Celebrity Cruise Ship CenturyIf you’re a fan of cruises, you’ve probably picked up a few tips on how to save a little money on cruises. This post will discuss some of the techniques and tips I’ve learned for how to save money while booking your cruise. This isn’t a list of tips for when you’re on the cruise itself, that’ll be later, but by being smart about your reservation, you can save money for excursions, booze, and souvenirs.

Cheaper Cruise Lines

There are upscale cruise lines and then there are budget cruise lines. By being selective about which cruise lines you sail on, you can save yourself a significant amount. The typical sailing of Windstar is going to be a lot higher than a Carnival Cruise or Norwegian Cruise. That’s not to say Carnival or NCL put on cheap cruises, it’s that it’s a different class of cruising compared to Windstar. A 7-night Greek Isles sailing (June 5) out of Istanbul, Turkey and ending in Athens, Greece starts at $3449 per person (not including taxes, government and security fees).

Shorter Cruises

In general, the shorter the cruise, the cheaper it’ll be per day. This isn’t a guarantee but in general your 2-night to 4-night cruises will all be under $100 a day while your longer, 10-night+ cruises will generally cost more per day. My guess is that this is a reflection of the types of passengers taking each cruise. A couple going on a 14-night cruise is generally going to be older, with more free time and discretionary income, so they will be willing to pay for a more luxurious trip. The shorter cruises may be for younger people who may not have quite so many vacation days.

Last Minute Cruises

The best way to save money on a cruise is to book a last minute cruise sailing. This can sometimes be a risky move since you’re never guaranteed the sailing you want will launch a last minute sailing discount just to fill the decks. If, however, you have a very flexible travel schedule and are willing to take the risk, cruise lines love to pack on the passengers if they can. They’re like hotels and airlines in that regard, they have a perishable product. They will have to pay for the staff, load and serve the food, and sail the ship regardless of how many passengers are on the trip. Every extra passenger they put on board is another ticket they can sell.

Book an Interior Cabin

Interior cabins don’t have a window to the outside, are usually somewhat small, but are much cheaper than balcony cabins. If you don’t mind sleeping in a cave, booking an interior cabin can mean big savings. When you think about it, you probably don’t spend much time in the cabin anyway (there’s so much to do on the cruise ship!) so why pay for a nicer room?

Take Popular Routes

The more popular a route is, the competition there is. The more competition there is, the cheaper the bookings. Anywhere in the Caribbean out of Miami, Florida will be competitive. Anywhere to Bermuda from the east coast will be fairly competitive. Alaska is a fun one out of Washington State for a 7 day cruise and the Mediterranean is a popular European track. If there are a few cruise lines battling for business, you know you can get a pretty decent deal on the price of the sailing.

Avoid Peak Seasons

Don’t sail on Christmas or New Years, as those are a few of the most popular times of the year to travel. So if you book sailings right before Christmas, you can usually find a great deal. With so much travel during Thanksgiving and around Christmas, most people don’t think to cruise in that period between them. You can take advantage of the slow period by snatching up a good rate.

Loyalty Is Rewarded

Every cruise line as a loyalty program and they kick in after the first cruise. If you like a particular cruise line, milk the rewards by sticking with them. Norwegian’s Bronze Membership (1 sailing) rewards you with priority check-in and a members-only cocktail party. Princess Cruises Gold Members (1 sailing) get discounts on bookings from $50-$300 (many cruise lines offer this).

I hope these tips will be helpful in booking your next sailing!

(Photo: jimg944)

Filed Under: Money Tips

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