Discount cruises allow travelers on a strict budget to enjoy high seas adventures. However, the key to getting the most bang for your buck is to shop around. Fortunately, the boom in online travel has made this much easier than ever before. These days you can sail for less with a few simple clicks of a mouse.
Where to Find Discount Cruises
The best place to score super savings on a variety of cruises is to shop online. The Internet is teeming with reputable resources that offer amazing deals on cruises to some of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, including the Caribbean, Hawaii, Europe and Mexico. To take advantage of these hot deals choose your dream cruise destination, visit multiple sites and compare prices. The following websites will help take the hassle out of cruise booking and allow you to sail the open sea without draining your wallet:
- CruiseForLess: This discount cruise retailer deals in large sales volume, which allows it to substantially discount all cruise lines' prices, well below quotes provided by traditional travel agents. The company has been in business for nearly two decades and has been a top seller of cruises for more than 15 years. It offers deeply discounted sailings to Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean.
- Cruise.com: This reputable company works closely with individual cruise lines to secure the best possible prices. In addition, to low prices, the website features additional money-saving amenities, such as onboard credits, pre-paid gratuities and discounted airfare.
- CruiseMagic.com: The top-rated online cruise dealer has been offering amazing savings on luxury voyages since 1996. The site is extremely user-friendly and features a host of weekly specials and last-minute deals that can save you hundreds of dollars per booking.
- DiscountCruises.com: This online cruise travel site offers some of the best prices from the top cruise lines, including yet-to-be-published deals and exclusive booking dates. The site also provides access to professional travel planners who are avid cruisers and know inside information on the newest ships, latest trends and the hottest promotions.
Other Ways to Save
In addition to browsing online, there are a number of other ways you can save on your dream voyage, including:
Contrary to popular belief, you can save on cruise cabins by booking early. Cruises, generally, may be booked up to 18 months in advance. Most lines are eager to fill their ships as soon as possible for budgeting reasons. Consequently, some lines offer generous early booking discounts. In addition, several luxury cruise lines, such as Seabourn, even offer a discount if you pay in full at the time of booking. What's more, highly desirable cabins, such as verandah cabins, those on holiday sailings, and the least expensive cabins, fill up early and are rarely available if you wait until the last minute to book your cruise.
Member Program Discounts
If you are looking for additional ways to save on cruises, membership pays. Members of AAA or AARP can take advantage of travel discounts or rewards just for joining. When booking a cruise be sure to ask about special member discounts offered by the aforementioned groups.
Like airlines, most cruise lines reward repeat passengers with money-saving extras, such as free upgrades, preferred pricing, and special on-board amenities, such as cocktail parties and gifts. Members of Holland America Lines' Mariner Club or Celebrity Cruise Lines' Captain's Club also get advance information on new itineraries, special pricing, and cruise line enhancements. Membership is free and the the rewards increase the more you travel.
Repositioning cruises might be the best-kept cruise travel secret around. These one-of-a-kind sailings, generally, are offered in the spring and the fall when cruise lines are moving their fleet from one part of the world to another. For instance, a ship sailing in the Mediterranean during the summer months might be moved to the Caribbean for the winter season. The cruise that takes the ship from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean is a repositioning cruise. These unique sailings offer lots of days at sea, unusual ports, and, often, substantial savings, often in excess of 40 percent off rack rates. However, because they need to travel long distances, repositioning cruises are usually longer, and are not always suited for travelers with limited vacation time.
Almost everyone is a member of some kind of group, perhaps a church or a book club. If you are, consider taking a cruise together. Not only will you be able to share an enjoyable travel experience, but you'll often save money in the process. Most cruise lines offer special pricing to groups of 15 passengers or more. The discounts are more substantial for larger groups and for less popular sailings, such as those in the off-season. In addition to discounts, groups may also receive extra amenities, such as a complimentary cocktail party, group photo, or even a complimentary shore excursion. Do you have a large family? Family reunions also make excellent cruise travel groups.
Cruise travel doesn't have to be expensive. With a little flexibility and careful planning you can set sail for your dream destination without breaking the bank.