Finding the Best Deal on Cruises

How to Find a Great Deal on a Cruise

If you haven’t been on a cruise yet, please add it to your list! Now I hear all those echos ‘Its too expensive’! Ten years ago I would agree, but Cruises have come a long way, finding the best deal on cruises has never been easier! I get asked fairly often how I am able to go on cruises with such a small family. Just like any vacation we search and hunt for the best deal and make sure we jump as soon as we find a great deal on a cruise. What is a great deal on a cruise you might ask? When referring to cruises by daily rates you want one to roughly be $100 or less a day. So if you are headed on a 7-day cruise, something under $700 is considered a good deal. You also will need to keep in mind the cruise line.

Carnival is known for being the least expensive, with this lower cost you get a lesser quality in cleanliness and food quality. This being said the food will be the quality of your local buffet or better. BUT the ports are all the same, so if you are dying to check out the Cayman Islands, or Jamaica the prices are FANTASTIC! (I have been on multiple Carnival cruises for this reason).

Cruise lines like to sell you on the idea that the ONLY way to get a good deal is to book a year or more in advance. While this is true, I have found the BEST ways to get a killer deal on a cruise are as follows

Off-season

Book your cruise between August-October, or February – May (these are considered ‘Offseason’ due to monsoon season)

Plan WAY in Advance

Book your cruise at least 9 months in advance, or longer. This is the typical method, personally, for me, this is impossible as I don’t have enough patience to wait a year for my next cruise. But for those with tight work schedules, this will ensure a great deal.

Last-Minute Deals

Book your cruise and sail within 3 months or sooner. Last minute deals are by far the best way to get a great deal. While it takes a job flexible enough to let you disappear on a whim, I have found you most always get the best deal

Restricted Class fares.

Book what is called “Restricted Class” fares.  These are not made public typically and you will need to use a travel agent {I use Getaway-today}. With a restricted class fare you are essentially telling the cruise line “I’ll be there, but I don’t care where I am on the ship”. They do not assign your cabin until the sail date, for most people this doesn’t matter. There is a lot of whispers of secret upgraded rooms or better rooms for the same price. Those are all awesome but honestly make my head spin. Rooms with windows are better then rooms without, but if you have small children I DON’T suggest a balcony room. With “Restricted Class” you will be able to choose with category (no window, window, balcony, suite) and you are guaranteed that, but not much else…hence the deep discount.

Where to Book your Cruise

So now you have the facts, the next biggest question is WHERE do I book my cruise. There are so many options to chose from, it really depends!

Online sites such as Priceline and Travelocity

I personally have NEVER used Priceline or anything similar. I have it on good report that it is NOT the best method when booking cruises. They make it seem very appealing with Flight+Cruise deals. The only time I could see this being a good fit is if you aren’t wanting to put much effort into booking your cruise.

Booking through the Cruises “Official Website”

There are times (rarely but yes) that the cruise line themselves will offer the best available rate. It isn’t so much that the rate is different, but that they may just be offering an incentive like On-board credits or Off-shore excursions. I would only use this booking method if you know for a fact no one else in town has a better rate/deal going. I would rather book directly through the cruise line then Priceline but maybe that is just me!

Travel Agencies

Yes, they still exist, USE A TRAVEL AGENT! If you were like me and had no idea who to go with, I use Get-Away-Today. They have always been upfront and kind to me and they are who I personally book my cruises with {Ask for Sherlene, tell her I sent you}.
Before you make that phone call get your facts straight:

How long are you wanting to cruise?

I always say go for 7 days unless you are prone to seasickness. It’s hard to experience a cruise when you are gone less than 5 days, trust me!

Which cruise line?

If you are going with kids under 12 may I HIGHLY suggest Disney, I’m not going to get into it right now but the higher ticket price is WELL worth it. If you aren’t going with kids or they are old enough to entertain themselves for the most part it won’t particularly matter. There are more “budget” cruise lines (Carnival) and more expensive lines (Disney Cruises) and those that lay in the middle. If you need help deciding you are more then welcome to email me! I’ll happily help guide you to the best fit!

Final Word

Now, this last step you hypothetically could skip and go straight to calling your travel agent but I personally like seeing the prices before I blindly call. Head on over to Vacations-to-go. This is actually a website for a travel agency based out of Texas, they are very competitive based and occasionally THEY have the best deals. Though they often don’t include On-board credits along with those great rates {They will make you sign in if you misspell your email address that is OK, mistakes happen}.

  • inside stateroom, no window.
  • outside stateroom, porthole or window depending
  • verandah
  • suites

I hope this has helped you get your mind wrapped around finally booking your first cruise or maybe you’ve booked before but never through an agent. Not only are they so helpful, but mine also sent my daughter an adorable plush Mini doll and a princess backpack to take on our trip. That, my friends, is good service! Bon Voyage!

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