Cruises are among the most popular vacations. They give you a magnificent view of the ocean, and travel through different locations in the same package. It is basically a hotel at sea.
There are several kinds of cruises offered nowadays. Some are simple ones that take you from destination to destination. Others offer themed trips depending on your preference and lifestyle. With the number of options to choose from, it is guaranteed that you will find something to fit your requirements, regardless of your budget.
Here are some points to suggest ways to find cheap cruises.
- Travel Agent. Hiring a travel agent may be the most expensive method of booking a cruise. Since agents earn commissions for the package, they may recommend unnecessary amenities and services. Sure, they get to book staterooms in bulk, and they may get discounts from the cruise lines, but they also charge a service fee to make all the arrangements for you.
- Cruise Lines. Cruise Lines may show you discounted prices. While these are probably already less than one would pay for a full package from the line, this is still the retail price.
- Internet Websites. To get the most affordable cruise rates, it is best to go to large suppliers. Examples are Travelocity, Expedia and CruiseDirect.com. The lack of a personal agent removes the additional charge. There is also less of a chance that you will be tricked into paying for an expensive package for the sake of the agent's commission.
These suppliers are able to get the latest discounts and offers from the cruise lines. They also buy bookings in bulk, giving you wholesale prices. Online booking websites also allow you to search for the best deals by simply adjusting the date and the destination.
- Be Late or Early. Most cruise lines are seasonal. You can easily guess that off-peak seasons can offer cheaper rates. Aside from choosing an unusual date for the cruise, you can also book in advance. Suppliers and cruise lines typically offer discounts to early buyers, since these guarantee that their trips will be booked. Some will also drop prices for last-minute bookings. In the latter case, the ship has already reached its target passengers and simply wants to make additional money.
- Theme Packages vs. Destination-Based Trips. Straightforward cruises are typically more affordable than themed ones. But there are some themed cruises that offer special packages. Family trips may be more affordable if booked on a family cruise. Organizations and clubs you belong to may offer discounted cruises centered on a specific hobby or preference.
- Inaugural and Repositioning Cruises. Inaugural trips are for cruise lines or ships that are just starting out. These are inexpensive because they are not yet popular. These can also offer the best service, since the companies want to build a good reputation for themselves. Repositioning cruises are really trips to move the ship from one port to another. This is often done due to seasonal reasons, when one port of call is more popular than the others are. Since they will be making the trips anyway, they can offer affordable rates to earn some additional money from the travel.
- Nearby Ports or Standalone Airfare. Most cruise packages include airfare to get you to the port. This can tack additional expenses onto the cost of the trip. To prevent this, you can choose a cruise with a port of embarkation near your residence. You can also search for flights on your own to get the cheapest one.
- Read the Fine Print. Some cheap cruises may also change itinerary at the last minute. This can happen when the captain decides that stopping at one port of call is not lucrative for the ship. Read all the terms of the package before booking anything.
- All-Inclusive Fares. Travelers are often misled by this term. This typically includes only the most basic services. You may still need to pay extra to get additional amenities such as Internet or safety deposit boxes. Meals are also the most basic buffets, which may not be up to your expectations.
- Port of Call Tours. Cruise ships offer guided tours. This costs you extra whether you include it in the booking or avail yourself of it once you are at the port of call. Try to do some research on the ports so that you can explore on your own.
- Travel Insurance. Insurance is one of the common expenses that are hidden in the package breakdown. Check to make sure it is not costing more than you want. There are insurance companies that offer stand alone travel coverage.