If you’ve made the decision to book a cruise for your next holiday, you might be left wondering how to go about finding the best cruise deal. With so many cruise providers, low-cost deals and amazing destinations to choose from, figuring out how to find the best cruise deal for your money can prove daunting. Should you book in advance or wait to find a last-minute cruise deal? Is it going to save you money to book a cruise with added extras, like drinks packages? Can you still enjoy glorious weather outside of the peak season? Find out how to get the most for your money on your next cruise deal with these seven tips:
Book Outside of Peak Season
If you’re hoping to bag yourself a low-cost cruise deal, one of the best ways to find the cheapest cruises is to look out with the peak dates for cruise destinations. It should come as no surprise that cruising costs more during the high season, and when the school holidays are taking place. For Europe, this is generally from July to September, with the Caribbean peak cruising months falling between December and April. Christmas and New can also be an expensive time to take a cruise, depending on where you want to go, but if you can be flexible with your dates, you’ll find a huge range of off-season cruise deals to choose from. The shoulder months of April and October are a great time to find a low-cost deal on a cruise to the Mediterranean, and those looking for sunshine will still find plenty of warm, sunny days to enjoy. For those hoping to book a bargain cruise to the Caribbean, the months of June and July fall within the official hurricane season – which runs from the 1st of June to the 30th of November – but out with the high-risk times of mid-August to mid-September, meaning the chances of enjoying good weather on your cruise are much more likely.
Wait for Last-minute Cruise Deals
Many people believe that booking far in advance is the best way to secure a great deal on a cruise, but for those who can wait until the last minute or those who’ve had some free time unexpectedly come up, there are incredible savings to be made on last minute cruises. Unless you have your heart set on a particular ship or sailing, last-minute cruise deals are one of the best ways to experience a luxury cruise for less. The reason that cruise providers offer such low-cost, last-minute cruise deals is to ensure that liners have as high a capacity of passengers as possible, as they generally make their largest profits from onboard spending. If you’re flexible with your dates and destination, you’ll discover some incredibly cheap last-minute cruise deals, giving you more money to spend on shopping and excursions to explore your destination.
Look out for Guarantee Cabin Deals
If you’re a fan of free upgrades, a guarantee cabin could be the perfect option to save you money on your next cruise deal. When you book a guarantee cabin, your type of cabin is ensured, but you won’t discover which grade you have until very close to your departure date. For example, if you were to book a guarantee balcony cabin, you are guaranteed to be in a balcony cabin, but you could find yourself in one that has a partially obstructed view, or you might find yourself being upgraded to the highest grade of balcony cabin. It’s a bit of a risk, but if you feel like taking a chance, these kinds of deals often offer incredible reductions, as well as the chance you could end up in a luxury cabin for less.
Look out for All-Inclusive Deals and Free Extras
Most people are aware that cruise companies will try to get you to spend as much money onboard as possible, but there are some great cruise deals that will keep your onboard spending to a minimum. Look out for low-cost all-inclusive cruises, where your food is included in the cost, and cruise deals which come with added extras, like flights and accommodation. Drinks are often not included in cruise deals, and for those who want to enjoy a regular tipple on their holiday, the cost of onboard drinking can soon add up. Look for deals on pre-paid drinks packages which can save passengers a huge amount of money in the long-run.
Consider a Repositional Cruise
Many of the major cruise liners will move to another location at the end of a region’s high season, with Mediterranean cruise ships relocating to the Caribbean after the busy summer months and back again in the Spring. Cruise companies offer these repositional sailings to customers, often at incredibly low-cost prices. This is one of the best ways to experience a luxury cruise for less and, as long as you don’t mind fewer port stops along the way, you can find yourself sailing to top holiday spots like Barbados and Florida.
Use a Cruise Advisor to find the Best Deals
It might seem like booking direct with a cruise company would be the cheapest option, but in most cases, cruise agents and advisors like Cruise nation have access to lower cost deals and better value packages. Discounted deals from cruise agents often include extras that can save you money in the long run, with packages that can include flights and free accommodation in your cruise departure city. As well as expert knowledge of the cruise industry, cruise agents also know the best ways to save money on extras like excursions, transfers and drinks packages.
Look for the Best Value, not just the Lowest Cost
When you’re searching for a great cruise deal, it’s better to think of the total value of the cruise, rather than just booking the cheapest one available. Most cruises are all-inclusive, meaning you won’t pay for your food onboard, but you should also look for cruises offer you more for your money. If you find a cruise deal which includes flights, free stays in port cities and extras like free cabin upgrades or drinks packages, you can make incredible savings and you won’t need to worry about blowing your budget when you are onboard. With these types of cruise deals, you’ll find that you can save a lot in comparison to land-based holidays.