Despite video of stranded ships and tales of irate passengers going viral, the cruise industry insists that it is not sinking. However, in an effort to entice travelers, many cruise companies are offering super sales on late summer sailings.
If you are looking to take the plunge and book a voyage in the near future, consider the following to keep costs down:
Travel Agents: If you are a first-time cruiser, opt to use an experienced travel agent. Many of these travel experts that specialize in cruises do not charge for their services because they are paid a commission by the cruise line. In other words, you can get free advice from a professional who will be happy to match your wants and needs with the right itinerary. What’s more, travel agents often have access to specials deals, enabling you to get a reduced rate on your dream cruise. Some travel agents also know about unique money-saving offers, such as free airport transfers, complimentary meals, on-board credit and pre-paid gratuities.
Size Matters: The larger the ship, the more options you have. If you are traveling with extended family or friends, it pays to have a myriad of choices on hand, including entertainment and dining. Also, cruises on larger ships typically come with a lower price tag. Smaller ships generally cater to luxury travelers who enjoy higher crew-to-passenger ratios and big cabins. Smaller vessels also have more all-inclusive options, which means all food and beverages are included in the fare, as well as activities you would be charged for if you were to cruise on a larger ship.
Timing is Key: To save money on a cruise, depart during off-peak periods. You can often double your savings if you book a repositioning cruise. These sailings are discounted because their main goal is to relocate ships from one region of the world to another to start a new season. Last-minute voyages are also a good bargain. Aim to book your cabin when others are cancelling theirs without penalty—usually 60 to 90 days before departure.