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?

What Are the Differences Between Travel Agent and Tour Operator?

The Travel Agent and Tour Operators are normally two separate service providers handling different parts of journey, not always exclusive but the difference does lies in the service they provide.

From consumer point of view the big change happened in 1992, since then any one who is offering the services for travels are liable based upon their stake and expected profit which they are expecting. This is great development for the consumer side as now financial responsibly for the potential liability is divided into every party responsible.

The Tour Operators provide much more detailed services which you require from every little thing during the visit. It might not seem a huge difference but the both of these parties are at different end in case of any liability etc. As the travel agents don’t have huge stakes to the whole journey, being just a go between, so they are taking commission for their services. Incase of the dissatisfaction or problem they might not be facing huge lawsuits as they are not the primary sellers.

The main difference between is that the scope. The Travel Agents provide the specific services unless one asks for them to handle other things, they act as go between the airlines and travelers. It is expected that the travel agents most of times have business inside their own office and don’t have any stakes in the running of tours, or are not attached with the actual facilities and services.

The difference between Agent and Tour Operator can also be seen in the way they are being paid. The agents are given commission for their services for the normal things like air tickets etc. The bill of agent is often very small as compare to.

The services of both the tour operator and travel agents are essentially related so some of the organizations start to take both the activities. This however rarely occurs as the tasks of Tour Operators are huge as compare to the Travel Agent.

Frugal Travel Tips For Cruises

Cruises are one of my favorite ways to see the world. I love falling asleep in one country and waking up in another, not having to pack and unpack. Cruise lines run the range of prices from value to super expensive. For frugal travelers, here are some tips to cut expenses.

Consider All Itineraries

When most people think of cruises, they think of the Caribbean, the Mediterrian, and perhaps Alaska. However, name an ocean port and there is likely a cruise sailing into it. And some of these itineraries can not be only bargains but a pleasant surprise. We once booked a 12 day Baltic cruise from London to St. Petersburg and return for less than the airfare from New York to London. It remains one of our favorite cruises.

Bring Your Own Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Food is normally included in the price of a cruise (except for dining at the exclusive restaurants). However, beverage other than water, coffee, tea, and if lucky iced tea come with an additional cost. So what we do is buy non-alcoholic beverages in ports (allowable – for alcoholic drinks, there is often a corking charge) and then pour them into glasses.

Make Your Own Tour

We’ve been on over a dozen cruises all over the world and have only done one ship organized tour (on our first cruise). They are expensive, move forward at the pace of the slowest traveler, and restrictive. For a well organized traveler, making their own arrangements is preferable.

One trick that we use is to look at the sights the ship tours cover and include those in our “tour.”

Note: Tour Directors will often tell of horror stories about passengers not getting back to the ship on time. The solution? Leave some extra time and do the far away venues first.

Big Breakfast, Late Dinner

For the frugal traveler, maximizing the time in port is a must. That means if possible choosing the late seating at dinner. Also we tend not to eat large lunches (if at all). Instead we eat a large breakfast on the ship (where the breakfast is free), snack on bits and bites of local food while on shore, and then top the day off with a leisurely late dinner.

Cruising is one of the favorite ways for this frugal traveler to see the world. And by using these tips, it is one luxury that can fit into a traveler’s budget.