When the economy is in a down turn fear not, this is the time to save money on your next cruise. You will find that there are fewer people who are booking cruises and cruise lines are continuing to build more and bigger cruise ships. All of this makes it a buyer’s market for those looking to find cheap deals on cruising. Here are seven tips on how to find the lowest price on cruising, and how to save more money while sailing.
1. Save Money on Your Cruise by Looking for the Bulk Buyers
Do not make the mistake of trusting either yourself or a travel agent to find you the best price on a cruise. A bulk buyer is another term for a cruise consolidator. These cruise consolidators are companies that buy large blocks of cabins from the individual cruise lines at very deep discounts. The savings can be significant on many of their deals however; many of them don’t include airfare so take that into consideration.
2. Save Money on Your Cruise by Booking Off-Season
Many times, you are going to save a significant amount of money if you choose to cruise off-season. However, don’t feel you have to book a cruise right in the middle of off-season. Many rates are lower if booked on the shoulders of the off-season. If you enjoy Alaska, try sailing in either May or in September instead of the middle of summer. Try the Caribbean in April or September as well to avoid the peak season rates.
3. Save Money on Your Cruise by Using the Calendar
Most cruise lines understand that their bread and butter are the families that cruise. Rates on cruising are much higher when the school kids are out for summer vacation or spring break. Booking around those times will find you with less competition for cabins and therefore better prices. Cruise lines will discount deeply after the Labor Day holiday and after Thanksgiving.
4. Save Money on Your Cruise by Booking Last Minute
If you have the luxury of not having to specify a specific date to cruise, booking online at the last minute can save you lots of money. Most of the cruise lines will quietly unload any remaining unsold cabins as the departure date gets closer. However, be warned that since 9/11 security for cruise lines regulate that they close their passenger list at least 96 hours before sailing.
5. Save Money on Your Cruise by Understanding How to Tip
Cruise lines don’t really make much money on the cabin they sell. For them to make a profit they need to separate you from your money in other ways. One of those ways is tipping for service while on your cruise. Some cruise lines automatically add the gratuities to the final bill while others leave it up to the passenger to decide what to tip. Find out before hand what the policy is on the cruise your taking.
6. Save Money on Your Cruise by Choosing Your Dining Venue
The trend of many newer cruise ships is to have specialty dining rooms. These have been set up to give the passenger more options than the main dining room or buffet. However, if you choose to dine in one of these designer restaurants you will pay extra, as much as $25 a person to enjoy a different dining experience.
7. Save Money on Your Cruise by Budgeting Your Booze
Many people have tried and many people have failed on trying to bring their own booze on board the cruise ship. Most cruise lines frown on it and some actually have a group that will look for it, seize it, and hold it until after your cruise is over. Take your time and budget accordingly for the alcohol you will anticipate consuming while on your cruise. If done right you won’t have any surprises on your bill when you depart.