Ahoy Matey! Have you always dreamed of taking a cruise? Are you a seasoned cruiser, just waiting for that next ship to sail? Either way, you’ll be happy to hear that now might just be THE time to book a cruise.
Why? Well, it’s simple supply and demand. Lots of ship setting sail into the sunset. Not enough cruisers to fill them up. Cha-ching! Deals all around for the savvy sailor. And that sailor could be you!
Here’s five examples of cruise deals you can take advantage of right now:
- Royal Caribbean Hot Deals: These sizzling Spring savings will have you cooling off on the sea in no time.
- Cunard Feel Famous Fares: Feel famous without paying fancy fares. Save as much as $2000 per stateroom on cruises well into the summer.
- Norwegian Specials and Promotions: Too many to list! Check out their Last Minute Deals and let Norwegian sail you away in April or May.
- Carnival Quick Getaways: Short on time but long on escape plans? These prices will have you sailing into the sunset for a long weekend getaway.
- Princess Top Cruise Deals: With deals on cruises from Rome to Vancouver, the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, there’s something to please most every budget minded cruiser.
And one bonus deal! Check out Celebrity Cruises! From transatlantic to Bermuda, Alaska and the Caribbean, whether you are looking for a hot or cold adventure, there’s a cool/hot deal at Celebrity.
New to cruising? Here’s five tips to help you set sail in no time:
1. Choose a destination. Where do you want to go? One suggestion is that you have more than one destination. This will give you more choices for finding the best deals. The wider you cast your net, the better your chances are of finding a great cruise price.
Flexible travel plans? Then consider first looking for the best cruise prices, then pick your cruise destination. But be prepared. There are so many cruises to so many destinations that it can be overwhelming for a rookie cruiser to put “the deal” first. But hey, travel is all about the adventure, isn’t it?
2. Establish a realistic budget. Be aware that most cruise lines include all the food you can eat, and various types of entertainment, but not everything is included. Keep a portion of your travel budget set aside for extras such as wine with dinner, shore excursions, and souvenirs. And, if you are flying to your port city, you will need to factor this in as well as a possible hotel night.
On that note: if you are flying to the port city, you should consider arriving a day ahead of your cruise departure date. Ships don’t typically wait for airline delays, especially if you did not book your flights through the cruise line.
3. Determine your ideal travel time. With a little bit of “insider knowledge” you can set sail with a great cruise price. Most cruise destinations have what’s called the shoulder season, and often offer discounts on these dates. So, with your destination and budget in hand, take a look at your travel window and see what lines up with a cruise line’s shoulder season.
Got flexibility? Can travel at the last minute? If so, then pack your bags and sail off with a last minute cruise deal. The ship will sail regardless, and it would rather sail full of people, even if it means selling those remaining cabins at a discount. But it is a bit risky to wait until the last minute as you may not get your preferred cabin or destination. Either way, it could still be a great way to sail away.
4. Pick a cruise line that suits your personality. Huh? Ships have personality? Yes, yes they do! A family with younger kids might prefer a Disney Cruise, but a family with older kids might prefer Royal Caribbean. Princess Cruises are known to be child-friendly. Norwegian Cruise Line tends to be more casual. Upscale your preference? Oceania, Crystal and Regent may be for you.
Choosing your cruise line can be overwhelming, especially if booking it yourself. Consider doing some research before you book. Cruise line forums abound, but one favorite is www.Cruisecritic.com. Take the time to see what others are saying about the cruise line you are considering.
5. Inside view or outside view? Most cruisers don’t spend a lot of time in their cabins, therefore prefer to book the cheapest cabin possible. But be aware that the lowest priced cabins tend to be smaller inside rooms with no view. Need space for the family? Then you might consider splurging for a larger, more expensive cabin. Want to watch sunrises from the privacy of your cabin? Then consider higher deck, outside cabins. But remember: these types of cabins come at a premium.
Also consider your destination when choosing a cabin. Is there something worth splurging on to have that outside view? Some cruises are all about the view, like Alaskan and Mediterranean cruises. Others spend lots of time at sea, where your outside view will often be large expanses of blue.
Time to book it! Now it’s time to pick your cruise! But how? There are so many cruise booking sites to choose from! You can book directly with the cruise lines, book through specialized cruise line travel agents, or book via cruise discounters. Where to book your cruise can be as overwhelming as choosing a cruise line! If you have chosen a specific cruise line, you may want to check their site first for any specific deals, such as those sites discussed at the beginning of this blog post. Otherwise, here are several industry respected sites to get you sailing away:
- Cruising.org: This easy to use site can help you determine which cruise best suits your style.
- CruiseVacationGuide.com: This site is chock-full of useful tips to help you pinpoint your “best-fit” cruise.
- CruiseCritic.com: Not only is this a great site for cruise reviews, it also helps you find your cruise.
- CaribbeanCruiseDiscounts.com: A Caribbean experience your desire? Find the deals here!
- CruiseDeals.com: Their motto is ” Better Prices – Exceptional People” to help you find a great cruise price.
Not looking to cruise right now, but plan to in the future? Some of the best deals are are given to those who book far in advance. Meaning in some cases, a year or more out. It’s all about supply and demand again! As more people book, the prices go up. At least until the month before sailing.
Are you considering a cruise in 2012? Are you an experienced cruiser? Share your plans and tips with us in the Comments section below.