Cruises are expensive. If you have bought into this huge lie, you may very well be missing out on some great vacation experiences. It is true that some cruises can be expensive but if you know what you are looking for and where to look, you can snag a fantastic dream cruise to a variety of different ports-of-call. However, it will take a bit of time and patience on your part, an easy trade off for the hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars you will save on your next cruise. At any given time throughout the year (not just the off-season) there are many discount cruises departing from various ports to various destinations around the world. By now, I must have peaked your curiosity and you must be wondering just how you can get one of these discount cruises and embark on your dream vacation. Below are some tips and resources on how to make that dream a reality.
The first thing you need to do is access the internet. If you do not already have access to this invaluable tool, try to obtain a connection somehow. Purchase a computer or laptop and get connected through your local provider, get a library card and avail of the free internet service they provide to members or use a friend’s computer. The internet is full of articles about everything pertaining to cruises including websites that provide tips on how to find the best and cheapest ones and websites that allow you to search available cruises based on criteria (price, destination, amenities) that you enter into a search box. Once you have access to an internet connection, start at the very root of your inquiry; learn as much as possible about cruising, what the top routes are, when the best time of year is to travel to various locations that you are interested in and anything else that will help you learn more about this type of travel. The more you know, the better off you will be. Once you have that information in hand and you have an idea where you want to go and what is important to you in a cruise, you can start gathering information from other sources. Ask friends and family members who are seasoned travelers about their experiences and if they have any tips for your search. Email or call travel agencies and other travel related companies and ask if they can provide you with any information on any upcoming cruises their company may be offering. Below are some more steps you can take in finding your dream cruise at an affordable price.
1) When searching the internet, sing up for travel newsletters of websites you come across. This will ensure that you are among the first to know when a deal becomes available.
2) Websites such as Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity and Hotwire are great places to search for deals on any type of vacation including cruises. Some of these websites even offer exclusive opportunities to extend a cruise longer than the typical week-long cruise or even combine and mix and match various destinations with other ships.
3) Don’t forget to check airline websites. These days, airlines offer more than just flights. They offer rental cars, hotels, all-inclusive vacations and even cruises.
4) Consider taking an inaugural cruise. This is basically a maiden voyage of a new ship and travelers are invited to sail on this maiden voyage at a discount price in exchange for giving feedback on what can be done better and what can remain the same for future voyages. The trick is finding these cruises as they are very rarely advertised. This is where those newsletters and the countless hours of research come in handy.
5) Once you have decided where you want to go, you need to decide on your dates. If you need to go on a selected date, start looking for deals as soon as possible because little flexibility means less of a chance finding the deal you want although it is possible if you start looking early. If you are very flexible with your dates, try booking before or after major holidays, spring break and any other time of year that draws lots of travelers. The off-season is also very cheap for cruises but you are more likely to have to endure rough seas and horrible weather during that time. It is best to avoid the months between June and October for cruises as this is hurricane season in many of the places you will want to go.
6) When you are ready to book a cruise, try booking online because it tends to be more expensive to book with the company directly over the phone.
One important thing you should know about booking a cruise is you will come across a lot of offers while researching over the internet that sound too good to be true. If you find these offers on a site that you have never heard of or the website looks a little too spammy or suspicious, chances are, it is not legit. If you want to find out for sure, just do a search on the company and see what others have said about them and whether they have already been reported as scammers. Never book a cruise with anyone until you have researched the company thoroughly and you are 100% sure that they are legit and will follow through on what they are promising to offer you. Before you seal any deal, make sure you know what the full cost of the entire trip will be including taxes and fees, make sure you know what services and amenities are included in the price and be sure to understand everything that is written in the fine print. When booking airfare to get you to your departure port, book it separately as it tends to be more expensive to book airfare through cruise companies. This will allow you to hunt for airfare deals instead of just taking what the cruise company offers.