5 tips to find the best cruise deals
Most experts will tell you that the key to find the best cruise deal is the perfect combination of planning, timing, and plain good fortune. A good cruise deal will differ from person to person. For you, getting a free upgrade to a higher deck might be a good deal. For someone else, moving to a balcony cabin or an ocean view cabin might be a great deal. Whatever be your preference, the best cruise deal will make your vacation much more special. Here are a few tips on how to grab the best cruise deals available out there.
- Book several months ahead
Most cruise lines prefer to sell off their cabins as early as possible. The best cruise deals are often available when you book your berths or cabins six months before the cruise date. A few also offer a guarantee for the lowest price in case the fare goes down after you have booked your cabins. Booking far in advance may also qualify you for cabin upgrades or refunds in case there are any price changes later on.
- Book only a few weeks ahead
No cruise company likes to sail with their cabins empty. After all, it means a loss for them. Major companies get as much revenue from their onboard expenditure as from fares. This is because people who get on cruises will also spend on specialty dining, onboard shops, casinos, and shore excursions. Additionally, there will be lesser tips for the crew when the cabins go empty. So many cruise lines offer great deals on cruises that are about to sail in a few days or few weeks.
- Choose cabin guarantee
If you are not concerned about the cabin location, you can go for a cabin guarantee. With this, you have the assurance that you will get a cabin in the category you have specified. You may even get an upgrade, although you won’t have the option of picking the exact stateroom. Many cruise liners usually offer discounts on guaranteed cabin bookings.
- Check out senior, veteran, and military rates
Most major cruise lines have special cruise deals for military, teachers, veterans, and seniors. You can take advantage of the discounts that are as high as 10% on cruise tickets if you belong to any of these aforementioned categories. If you are an AARP member, you may qualify for an additional 5% discount. However, these cruise deals can be used only when you book far in advance.
- Use past passenger discounts
This is similar to frequent flier miles. If you regularly go on cruises, you may get deals based on brand loyalty. If you stick with one cruise line, you can earn many perks such as access to special suites and spas, cocktails in private lounges, or complimentary meals in restaurants.