No one wants to pay more than they have to for anything. So just like you wouldn’t pay over the odds for your weekly grocery shop or for a new TV, you shouldn’t have to pay top dollar for your cruise either. If you’re hunting for a bargain cruise holiday, check out our advice on how to find the best cruise deals to save yourself some serious cash.
How to Find the Best Cruise Deals
1. Book as late as possible
A cruise holiday is one of those things where it’s best to wait until the very last minute before you book up. As a general rule, cruise prices are always at their most expensive as soon as they’re released and gradually drop down in price the closer to the departure date you get. As long as there are still cabins available, prices will continue to drop up until about three weeks before departure, at which point the prices tend to stick at their lowest or slowly begin to climb as they’re booked up.
2. Be flexible with travel dates
Don’t expect to find an incredible cruise bargain during Christmas, New Year’s Eve or Easter, because it simply isn’t going to happen. Instead, consider travelling during the less popular seasons, such as November for Mediterranean cruises or September-November for Caribbean cruises. There is a chance the weather will be cold and wet during this time in the Med and these months fall within the hurricane season for the Caribbean. So you will be taking a risk by booking during these dates, but it’s what you’ve got to do to bag a bargain.
3. Consider repositioning cruises
A repositioning cruise is a one-way cruise which is offered when a company moves a cruise liner from one region to another. Since travellers are usually required to pay for at least one long-haul flight to go on this type of cruise, they’re not as popular as the more traditional round-trip cruises which require no air fares to be paid. However, if you can get a reasonably-priced flight and wait until the last minute to book a repositioning cruise, you can get a superb deal. Keep in mind that repositioning cruises generally last at least a fortnight and include a lot of days at sea, so make sure you get a cruise liner that you won’t mind spending a lot of time on.
4. Look out for freebies
Remember that getting a good deal doesn’t just mean getting a cheap price – freebies also play a huge part. Some cruise liners throw in free onboard spending, free upgrades, free all-inclusive drinks packages, free shore excursions, prepaid gratuities, prepaid internet access and discounted third or fourth passenger rates at no extra cost. Don’t forget that these freebies are only worth something if you’ll actually get to use them. So dismiss deals which look superb value-for-money if you don’t plan on ever using the added freebies.