5 Ideas For Cheap Cruise Travel Deals

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?

Dos and Don’ts of Using Cruise Control

It’s an American tradition – cruising down the highway, the radio blaring and the windows rolled down to enjoy the warm, sunshiny day. Except when you go to hit the cruise control to maintain your speed, nothing happens. The cruise does not seem to be working even though it was fine just the other week. What can possibly go wrong with a cruise control button? In reality, there are a lot of things that can go wrong, just like any other electrical system on the car you drive. How you treat that cruise control button will determine a lot of how well your system works in the future.

For people who drive on the highway a lot, they might just leave the cruise control button set to on all of the time. That way, whenever they feel the need to set the speed, they just have to flick one more button and it is on. But this habit can be damaging for the cruise as it is always on and at the ready. Being always on and not used can wear out the control mechanisms of the system.

Another habit people have with cruise control is stepping on the brakes to disengage the speed control instead of turning it off. Is that method safer that turning the system on or off at the controls? The answer depends on who you ask. Conservative mechanics say that if you are going to engage the speed again as soon as the person ahead of you moves, then it is fine. It is easier and faster to hit resume than it is to turn the system off, start it all over again.

Other mechanics say that tapping the brakes can wear on a system. Just slightly. The systems are so advanced these days, however, that it would take a lot of starting and stopping to cause any sort of wear and tear on a system. Cars are built with a lot of great features that are meant to last for the life of the car and the cruise control is one of them.

If the cruise control does not seem to hold the speed or engage, then it might be worth taking it in to an auto shop. There could be a wire disconnected or a short in the system that requires an easy fix to get it up and running again. Cruise control is a great feature to have so it is worth the expense to get it fixed on your car. You never know when, but having the speed set could prevent you from getting a ticket since you know where the speed is set and can focus on the road and not the speedometer!

The Unexpected on Our First Cruise

Much of what I write here may be “old hat” to the experienced cruiser. But to those new to cruising, they can be unexpected even though your travel agent and the brochures you read may have mentioned the items I’m writing about. Experiencing them for the first time is often surprising.

The first surprise is the Personal Identity Card that is issued to you when you roll up at the cruise terminal. You attach it to a lanyard and put it around your neck. It becomes your on-board companion for the cruise. It is the key to your state room; the card you use to purchase items, such as drinks or coffee on board and, with your passport, your right to get back on the ship.

As you board the ship for the first time the crew check your card and take a photograph of you so that each time you leave or return to the ship your card and therefore your photograph are checked. The card also allows you to check your on-board account to see the extent of your purchasers. This also tells you what on-board credits you have. It is quite an unexpected sight, seeing a gentleman in a tuxedo on a dress-up night, wearing his card around his neck.

Now that you are actually on the ship, you need to find your cabin. Oops, they don’t have cabins on board ship anymore. Cabins are state rooms. Finding your state room for the first time is a challenge. There are so many decks, people on the move and very long corridors on every deck. However, there are many crew members around to show you the way. The surprising image of the crew is that there are many different uniforms, each crew member having different roles. Their most important role is to keep the passengers happy and wanting to cruise again.

As you can imagine, with the size of the ship getting lost is easily achieved. So, with the help of the map provided when you board, you are able to get your bearings and get around the ship with ease.

When you first arrive at your cabin, your steward is around to meet you and explain whatever you need to know. He has already put your bags on the bed ready for you to unpack. Each morning he cleans your room and in the evening your bed is turned down, chocolates are on your pillows and the daily newsletter is there for you to plan the next day’s activities.

One of the pleasures of the cruise is the onshore excursions. What is unexpected is the detail to which the crew go to get you on the right tour at the right time. Often, on the day you board the ship, you’ll find in your cabin all the tickets for these tours plus instructions on where and when to assemble on the day of each tour. At the assembly points, you are given a sticker that is attached to your shirt or blouse indicating which tour you are on and any other data you need to know. Each tour is colour coded.

I thought that this process was spectacular but the process for leaving the ship at your destination is even more spectacular. Some days into the cruise you are to fill in a form regarding on how you wish to embark. This involves a time, whether you are catching a plane and so on. Then a few days before you disembark, you get a time, special signs to put on your bags and a place to meet to disembark. Your bags are taken the night before and await you in a designated area on shore ready for you to collect. This process is much quicker than the process to board the ship.

Exercise is one thing you need to do because the meals are so good that we all tend to overeat. A gym on board is expected but having a promenade deck that circumnavigates the ship is a pleasant surprise. The one on the cruise ships I have been on is about 500 metres around or three circuits make a mile. Many passengers are to be seen doing circuits each and every day.

There are novelty/speciality occasions during the voyage. I’d just like to mention just two. On our first cruise, Remembrance Day occurred. A solemn service was performed. The other one to mention is Captain’s Circle Cocktail Party where the announcement of who, on this cruise, has the most cruise days is made. On our last cruise, the number of cruise days was over 2000. That’s well over five years cruising.

The final unexpected happening was the docking of these big ships. They do it with tugs just standing by to help only if necessary. I was staggered with how these big ships were manoeuvred into seemingly very narrow berths.

The reader might believe that these unexpected happenings are the end of the surprises for a first time cruiser. These are all I remember. You can look forward to even more. Happy cruising!

Charmed by a Sunset Cruise

The sunset never fails to bring out the poet, philosopher, or the hopeless romantic in us. Wherever we are in the world, the sight of the setting sun always evokes a feeling of nostalgia that is astonishing and heartwarming.

This is true especially when we experience this glorious sight on board a quiet and soothing yacht cruise. As the yacht gracefully glides out to the sea, you can feel yourself gently being prepared for a one-of-a-kind experience that only the sunset in the distant horizon can bring.

A special yacht charter in Dubai can take you on a relaxing sunset cruise. You can get away from the hustle and bustle of the frantic city life. You can savor the soothing sound of the waves and the cool wind rustling through your hair. With your friends, family, or your special someone, you can delight in this intimate moment with the sunset together.

Starting at around dusk from the picturesque Dubai Marina, a sunset cruise takes you out to witness the day’s buzz transform into the vibrant Dubai nightlife. The Cayan Tower, in its swirling-shaped glory, and all the other stunning skyscrapers start lighting up as your yacht glides past them.

From the marina, you will then ride out to the coast of Dubai where you can see a stretch of pristine white sand beach glittering in the waning light of the sun. From this view, the iconic Burj Al Arab looks even more majestic and awe-inspiring amidst the skies that are slowly turning into warm hues of deep orange and purple.

As the yacht takes a cruise around the Palm Jumeirah, you can freshen up with some light drinks on board and wait until the golden sun bids its goodbye for the day. This riveting moment creates the perfect backdrop for a heartfelt wedding proposal or even a passionate wedding kiss.

As your yacht charter cruises by Atlantis The Palm, you can feel the enchantment in the air. Gaze at this landmark resort that is boldly facing the Arabian gulf. Feel it oozing with the mythical aura of its namesake, the Lost City of Atlantis, and the elegance of its Arabian character. Add the charming sunset into that image and you’re in for a magical visual feast.

Obviously, you can’t let the moment pass you by. Capture its beauty and preserve it for all time. Sunset photography famously yields the most breathtaking pictures. This one is no exception whether you have a top-of-the-line DSLR camera or a handy smartphone.

As the day fully turns into night, your yacht cruises back home to the marina and you find yourself sitting there awestruck at the unique pleasure that you have just experienced. As the sun makes way for a charming Arabian night, you can’t help but feel blessed to have witnessed such a wonder that only Dubai can offer.

Transfers From Houston Airports To Galveston Cruise Terminal

If you are flying into Houston TX and are planning to cruise out of Galveston TX, lets us help you with you transportation. Here in Houston we have two major airports

1. George Bush International Airport in Houston (IAH)

2. William Hobby International Airport in Houston (HOU)

This article will help you find transfers for newly weds, a family of 4 or a whole family reunion, to a group of friends wanting to have a good time. There are many options available to transfer from these airports to the cruise ship terminal in Galveston. These options include cruise line bus transfer, private shuttle bus, private town car or limousine, taxi, and car rental.

First, you need to do some homework, and check out all the options available to you, and at what price. You will be surprise at what competition may do to the prices, and extras, so try to find the best value for your bucks.

Below I am listing all the available options, starting with the classic taxi ride and ending with the out of thoughts luxury limousine one.

Taxi Cab Transfer between Houston Airports and Galveston Cruise Terminal

One way cab transfer from Houston Hobby Airport (HOU) and Galveston Cruise Terminal which is about 40 miles rides will be about $105 on average. (Not counting the traffic delays which would run it a bit higher)

For George Bush International (IAH), the cab ride will be about $179 since Bush airport is much farther to the north from Galveston, which is about 70 miles ride. (Not counting the traffic delays which would run it a bit higher)

*Rates for the cab ride were obtained from Houston Yellow cab dispatcher over the phone on April 12, 2013 at 6:30 pm.

Cruise Line Shuttle transfer between Houston Airports and Galveston Cruise Ship Terminal

As of April 12, 2013, the rate of transfer from Houston airports to Galveston cruise ship terminal as listed on Carnival website, using cruise line transfer from IAH to Galveston is $45 per person one way ($90 round trip), and $35 per person one way ($70 round trip) from Hobby airport to Galveston.

Car Rental from IAH or Hobby to Galveston Cruise Terminal

Many people do rent a car to drive from Houston airports to Galveston. You can find all the major rental car places in both airports. You can get a rental car between the Galveston Cruise Ship Terminal and the airports for about $65 a day. The rental car agencies have shuttles to take you to and from the ship.

For groups of 5 or 6, it is usually a good deal if they are arriving to Houston early, and they want to visit other places in Houston or in Galveston, and they want to have car for the convenience, but if you calculate the total expenses and the inconvenience related to the car rental, it turns out to be a bad deal. Think about gas, driving in unfamiliar city; do not know the traffic jam areas, parking cost in Galveston, getting the shuttle from the airport to the rental place, getting the shuttle from the parking to the cruise terminal. Well the cost for 7 days cruise would be about $450 for the car rental, $80 gas, $60 parking, for a total cost of about $600. If none of that bother you, then you are good to go.

Shared Private Shuttle from Galveston Crusie Ship to Hobby or IAH airports.

Most of the time, this is the most economical way to transfer from Houston airports to Galveston cruise terminal. If you have a large group, of if you traveling with your family, this option can be a very affordable transportation option. The rate per person to transfer from Houston Hobby to Galveston cruise terminal is about $35, and from George Bush International (IAH) to Galveston, it is about $45, assuming you are a group of 5 or 6 passengers.

TownCar or limousine from Houston Hobby / IAH to Galveston Cruise Ship Terminal

Another good option, that most of the people don’t think about because of the stigma associated with the limousine service being for rich people or very expensive. In fact Limousine companies provide an excellent service for very competitive prices. For example many Limousine in Houston offer a Towncar Transfer from Hobby airport to Galveston Crusie terminal or in that matter to most of the East side of Galveston Island for $110.00 (For 3 passengers, it is about $36 each) which is really affordable for a limo service, and very comfortable Luxury Towncar. The transfer from George Bush International (IAH) to Galveston Cruise Terminal, or other part of the island is $149 for a Towncar, and $175 for an SUV which can hold 7 passengers, so you do the math. They also provides 10 passengers van for very competitive prices. And again it is a limousine service, and most of the time, it is cheaper than a cab ride.

Other advantages of limousine service are:

  • You do not need to wait in line as you do for cabs
  • They greet you inside the terminal with a sign with your name on it.
  • You can pay for the service in advance, it help if you want to pay for your parents for example.
  • They can accommodate large groups
  • They provide professional drivers
  • They offer online reservation
  • They monitor your flight in case you come early, or you are delayed, so you will always have a driver waiting for you.
  • They can be hired hourly to provide you with transportation around the city
  • They provide car service discounts when booked online (some companies)