Many options exist for those who desire relaxation, and satisfied vacationers have been choosing cruises for years. But how do you get a great deal? You’ve heard of last-minute deals regarding hotels and concert tickets but ‘last-minute’ adopts a different definition when it comes to cruising.
Well in Advance
Time stops for no one, so while it may be an added preliminary step to book your cruise well in advance, as time passes, you’ll have reason to look forward as well as added money in your wallet. Cruise professionals advise, as with airlines, cruise ships offer discounts and possible extras to those who book well in advance – eighteen to twenty-four months ahead of time. Smart travellers book about 150 days before shipping as online surveys reflect. Such ‘early bird’ rates could equal up to 50% less than the advertised brochure price. Click here to peruse online options.
Wait Until the Eleventh Hour
To contrast the suggestion above, if you’re not terribly picky, wait until a few weeks before a cruise sets sail, when vendors are rushing to book rooms and accommodations are still available. The strategy comes with a caveat; you’re not likely to get the best rooms and must be flexible regarding where the ship is going. If you’re just searching for relaxation in addition to keeping money in your pocket, this may be your best choice. Again, if you’re accustomed to getting your way and don’t like being flexible, this strategy is not for you.
Book a Reposition
So called ‘repositioning cruises’ are associated to extended time at sea with the ship moving locations (from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean for example). If you’re a newcomer to the sea, this option may not be for you, since you’re unsure if you’re prone to seasickness. You’ll have to settle for scaled-down personnel and limited onboard options in addition to a longer time at sea, but for some, this is a welcomed alternative and a great way to save a lot of money.
Go Out of Season
It’s popular to head to warmer climates in the winter or seek winter wonderlands for ski season, but those are times for hotels and vacation vendors to increase prices; demand dictates supply and price! However, taking a cruise to a destination that is labelled ‘out of season’ is another way to save a lot of money and avoid larger crowds. However, cruise professionals suggest seeking ‘shoulder season’ (February and late October) as opposed to 0ff-season cruises. The latter attracts crowds while the former is largely passed over by the masses and those on Christmas vacations, etc.
Choose an Inner Cabin
Just like those who don’t seek apartments or houses in the prestigious regions of a city, those who are not picky about their cabin or the view on a cruise ship save lots of money. Considering cruise vacationers spend little time in cabins and have access to the main decks of the ship, choosing a smaller, inner cabin is a great way to save lots of money on your next vacation. If you book a less-popular room well in advance, inquire about a possible upgrade a few weeks before the cruise begins. Some lines, happy to fill open rooms, may reward your early patronage by bumping you up to a better cabin by time of departure.
Michael Wilson is the Managing Director at Bolsover Cruise Club, originally known as Bolsover Travel, a company founded by his parents in the late 1960’s. He is passionate about the business, taking an interest in every aspect of it. Outside of work, Michael likes gardening, rugby and holidays with his family.
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