During my research for a cruise on a budget, I came up with 5 ways to get a cheap cruise. The secret is patience, versatility and a little bit of luck. There are plenty of offers on the internet and vouchers available. First, do some preliminary research online to find out the normal prices. Then, you need to consider when you want to go, the itinerary and how much you are willing to spend. Keeping an open mind and knowing what you need and what you are willing to be flexible with is key to being satisfied with your cruise.
1. Off-Peak SeasonCredit: http://www.avidcruiser.com/2010/03/03/off-peak-europe-alaska-cruises/
Consider travelling during the off-peak season. The Peak cruise season depends on a number of factors, but is normally considered to be the summer school break. Another important factor is destination. For example, there are twelve basic destinations, each with its own low season which I have in parenthesis: Alaska (May through September), Australia (May through September), Bermuda (April through May and September through October), Canada/New England (May through August), Caribbean (April through May and September through January), Europe River Cruises (March and November through December), Hawaii (May through June and September through December), Mediterranean (October through April), Mexican Riviera (January through May and October through November), Northern Europe (May and September), South America (April and October) and Tahiti/South Pacific (November through April). Aim for the low season.
2. Shop AroundCredit: http://www.simplyforties.com/2010/08/festival-of-frugality-243-cruising.html
Start shopping around a year and a half or so ahead of when you want to take your cruise. This is a long time and you can try to shop around closer to the date, but you need to start at least months ahead of time. Go to several travel agents and talk to them about what you want. They are in the best position to know about deals and they may offer you upgrades or other gifts for your business. Sometimes cruises that are going to depart soon offer deals.
3. Repositioning Trips or Shoulder CruisesCredit: http://www.ehow.com/info_8101752_cheap-cruise-trips.html
Cruise ships usually are repositioned twice a year, meaning that they change their route and need to sail from their old route to their new. A repositioning trip often stops in unusual ports and can lead to a truly special trips. Shoulder trips are trips with traditional itinerary but at the beginning or end of the season, when the weather is turning less than desirable.
4. Inside versus Outside CabinsCredit: http://www.semesteratsea.org/our-ship/cabins/
Most people want an outside cabin that is equipped with a porthole, picture window or even a balcony and the company can charge more for this. Inside cabins can be up to 30% less than outside cabins, but the competition is high among budget travelers. Again, this is another important reason to book well in advance.Credit: http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p238335
5. Included Add-ons and Excursions
Be careful to consider excursions and add-ons, often they are not the best value. Frequently shopping for your own excursions can bring down cost significantly. Also, look into add-ons and make sure to know exactly what is included. Usually add-ons is related to food and beverages including gourmet meals and dining rooms.
Use these 5 ways to get a cheap cruise to find inexpensive packages and to go on vacation for less!