Everyone wants to travel the world, right? How does a luxury cruise sound? Warm beaches, exotic ports of call, fine dining, 5 star service, hammocks and fruity umbrella drinks. Who could resist?
Course there is one small issue – the outrageous prices that put the dream of a cruise vacation out of reach for 90% of people. But there is hope. I am here to help you find the absolute best cruise travel deals. Wholesale prices, incentive cruises, and even the occasional F.R.E.E voyage are in the bag of tricks. My goal is to show you how to plan, find, book, and enjoy the cruise vacation of a lifetime on a shoestring budget whether it is your first cruise or your tenth.
Be sure to check out this month’s top hints, insider secrets, and tricks the travel industry does not want you to know about how to get a fantastic cruise travel deal.
Here are 5 ideas to get you started on finding the cheapest cruise bargains:
1) Go Off-Season
Everyone and their brother is planning a cruise in the spring or early summer. Think spring break and that’s where you will find the crowds. The cruise industry is not going to offer any good cruise travel deals during their busy season because they simply don’t have to. Expect a 20-30% cheaper fare for off-season cruises.
BONUS: Airfares will also be cheaper during the less-traveled months saving you an additional chunk of money.
2) Consider Repositioning
These cruises are heavily discounted because the cruise line is simply moving the boat from one home port to another. They have to take that trip regardless of how many passengers sign up. You will get a few less ports – but if you are true cruise lover, the extra days at sea will be no great burden. You can expect to save 40-60% on a price per day basis over regular cruises.
3) Skip the Flight
Most cruises in the US originate from Florida and California, but did you know that dozens of other ports of embarkation (where you leave from) are available? Unexpected places like New Orleans, Houston, Seattle, New Jersey, and even Mobile, AL offer a few cruise itineraries a year. If you can hitch a ride from somewhere within easy driving distance, how much will you save? Anticipate travel to and from the embarkation port costs to drop easily $1000 for a family of 4.
BONUS: Also, you will not have to worry about hotel on either side of the cruise in this scenario.
4) Last Minute Savings
Often if your schedule is flexible, good cruise travel deals can be had in the last 2 months leading up to departure. Think about it – the boat is going, overhead is relatively fixed, so empty staterooms cost the cruise lines big bucks that can never be recovered. Sign up for email newsletters (cheapcruises.com, vacationstogo.com, and travelzoo.com are my favorites) so you will get priority notification of cruise travel deals.
5) Speak and Cruise
If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you know there is a an endless array of entertainment and educational opportunities on board. Everything from underwater basket weaving, to painting classes, to seminars on wine tasting. Did you know that each of those presenters AND their family get a complimentary cruise in exchange for a couple of 1 hour work sessions? Would you work for 2 hours to get a free cruise?