MSNBC reports:

If you subscribe to a travel newsletter or magazine, you probably see recommendations about cut-rate repositioning cruises or have heard about discounted room rates for “soft openings” of hotels. But before you book, hear me out. Repositioning cruises, which are cheap cruises on ships that are changing itineraries — for instance, going from Alaska to Mexico — can be a great deal. But you won’t see any of the popular attractions. Chances are, you’ll spend days at sea visiting the all-you-can-eat buffet and watching TV in your cabin. Likewise, cheaper rates for still unopened hotels (in travel industry lingo, they’re called “soft” openings) can be a find, but remember, the hotel isn’t officially open yet. A lot of things can go wrong, and they often do. If you’re interested in seeing things the way you’re meant to see them — the way everyone else does — then don’t cut corners. Buy the real thing, pay a fair price, have a good time.

Here are some tips on getting cheap cruises:

How To Find A Discount Cruise
Off-season and/or winter cruises are often displayed on travel sites. These are sometimes marketed as vacation cruise, but they sometimes are sold as business cruises, honeymoon cruises, or family cruises. These discount cruises are sold for any occasion or any reason. The reason why it is so easy to find a cheap cruise during off-season travel months is because fewer vacations are booked during this time of the year. Cruise ships need your service during this time of the year and they will do nearly anything sometimes (within reason) to get it.

The Best Cheap Cruise Locations
Sometimes you can board a large cruise ship to a Thai beach, or you may be able to find cheap family cruise vacations too Disney world. In fact, you may even be able to book a Caribbean cruise and take a day or two to relax in the Bahamas.

Other Types Of Discounts
You may receive a discount for other reasons besides for traveling off-season. For example, cruise tickets are often sold at the last minute. This is another way that cruise ships can be filled-both in season or off-season (usually in-season, though). You may also find discounts on cruise tickets that are booked for whole groups. For instance, perhaps a high school band trip, a college spring break group, or a business executive team will find hefty discounts if they purchase all their tickets at the same time. Additionally, it may be possible to secure a discount cruise trip if you travel to a lesser-popular destination. It is a small price to save if you decide to travel only less than an hour or two away from the place where other people would normally want to stop and stay. You may also save money on the price of a cruise if you book an entire travel package. In this travel package would usually include the price of the cruise, the hotel stay, car rental, and a few other travel costs.

Dean Caporella writes:

Towards the end of the year you should be on the lookout for what are termed as closeout deals. Some of the savings one can make are substantial. Closeout deals are basically so-called because the end of the year is approaching and with so many cruises scheduled to depart from the various ports around the world, cruise lines look for a last minute rush on cabins. This is especially so in the northern hemisphere with winter in full flight and the festive season approaching. Many people prefer to stick around home with family and friends and cabins are usually much more available. Where To Find Closeout Deals You could simply phone the cruise lines themselves however, a prudent shopper of cheap cruises will head to their local travel agent or simply phone around. In fact, you don't have to leave this until the last minute as you could talk to travel agents earlier in the year and let them know what you're after and how much you want to spend. The other excellent source of closeout deals are the online booking services and websites. Like office-based travel agents you also have the option of being alerted to possible deals via regular newsletters.

David Faulkner writes:

If there’s one thing which life aboard a cruise ship definitely is NOT, it’s boring. Even better, almost all cruise ship activities are included in the cost of your fare. You can have your choice of live entertainment including some very impressive magic acts, or miniature golf, a fitness center, at least two swimming pools, a hot tub, cooking demonstrations with free samples, dance or karaoke contests, and even rock climbing walls.

...The trick to booking cheap cruises is to wait as long as possible--up to two weeks before sailing time if you can--and then book your fare through one of the many online websites devoted to finding the best deals for travelers. All cruise lines are loathe to have any of their ships set sail with empty cabins, and you can save as much as fifty percent on your fare if you are willing to reserve you cabin at the last minute. You may not be able to get ocean view cabins when you book cheap cruises, but if you intend to use your cabin only for changing your clothes, showering, and sleeping, it doesn’t matter much. Try to book your cheap cruises from those which depart ports within driving distance, so that you can save on airfare by renting and dropping off your vehicle before sailing. And “Bon Voyage!” Discount travel websites can often beat the prices quoted by cruise line, and are great ways to find discount cruises if you can travel on short notice. No cruise line operators like to have their ships sailing with empty cabins, and if you can wait until about tow week before a cruise is set to depart, can often pick up a cabin for as much as fifty percent off the regular price.

Here are some tips on getting cheap cruises:

1. CruiseCompete.com - You pick the cruise you want from their easy to use interface, and Cruisecompete submits it to over 300 cruise agencies who in turn bid their lowest price (all done on their site - no e-mail involved). The response time is quick, there's no service charges, and they have a toll-free support line. Quite an exciting new idea, and they've been getting excellent customer feedback too.

2. SkyAuction.com - Like their air & hotel packages, you stand a pretty good chance of bidding for and winning very cheap cruises on Skyauction. A recent check showed over 250 cruise packages up for bidding, which starts at $1. (other non-bid cruises are available too) Because they are a high volume/low price business, customer support can be spotty at times.

3. Expedia.com Cruises - A complete cruise section with ship reviews, port info, and telephone support. Good selection of affordable cruises. Well laid-out site, easy to navigate.

4. Travelocity Cruises - Travelocity has recently re-designed their whole website, including the cruise section. It's a very attractive and useable site, where everything seems to be right at your fingertips or only 1 click away. Perhaps not quite the extensive selection as found some of the others.

...Generally speaking, it's been our experience that you won’t find too many bargains on the cruise lines official websites. The companies themselves seem more interested in running the actual cruises. So they offload a large chunk of their inventory to an umbrella corporation called NLG which in turn offers cabins to many online cruise retailers, including Cruises.com, Vacation Outlet, Priceline, Orbitz and Hotwire (just to name a few).

Here are more tips on finding cheap cruises:

In the USA, there is a trend developing where people are taking off during the festive season for a warmer climate and this trend hasn’t gone unnoticed by cruise lines. Destinations such as the Bahamas and the Caribbean are ideal during the winter months given the warm tropical climate and cruise lines are very accommodating when listing cruise specials. Norwegian Cruise Lines has really come into it’s own during the winter. Freestyle cruising is a term not familiar with most travelers however, it’s quickly catching on. Freestyle cruising is basically as the term suggests - freestyle. Norwegian offers it’s passengers the option of dining when they want to; there are no fixed dining times, whether they want to dress up or not and when they want to play. With freestyle cruising, the idea is to give the passenger every opportunity to relax. Even disembarkation day is catered for as people are given the option of waiting in their cabins. Shopping now for holidays in January and beyond makes plenty of sense. January is the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere but in the Caribbean, it’s a different story. Five night cruises from less than $300 are a little difficult to resist.

MSNBC reports on ten cheap cruises:

2. Baja and Southern California cruise
From the glittering lights of Hollywood, to the exotic desert and ocean landscapes of the Baja peninsula, a 4-night Royal Caribbean cruise is a great way to sample the bounties of Southern California and Baja California, Mexico. The 1200-cabin Monarch of the Seas launches from Los Angeles, and continues to San Diego, the palm-lined shores of Catalina Island, and fun Ensenada, Mexico on the Baja coast; even though it's just 80 miles from San Diego, Ensenada comprises a world all its own, thanks to its rich history as a fishing town where passengers can stretch their sea legs at numerous restaurants dotting the coast, or shop for goods handcrafted by locals.

3. California wine country sailing
You may not associate fine wines with cruising, nor cruising with portside vineyard tours and tastings, but that's exactly what you'll get on a 3-night "Culture of the Vine" cruise to California's Napa and Sonoma Valleys each harvest season. Cruise West's intimate ships sail round-trip from San Francisco Bay, through San Pablo Bay, and up the Napa River — delighting up to 138 passengers with vintage-focused soirées en-route. On-land highlights abound as well, including a Napa Valley balloon excursion, tastings at local vineyards, and even a tractor-pulled tram ride through Sonoma's Benziger Family Winery. Note that wine country cruises are only offered in the prime harvest months of September and October.

Here are tips for cheap cruises:

For an Alaska cruise, savings can be as high as 50% leaving the week after peak season! If you want to travel in peak season, plan ahead. Many companies offer cheap tickets in the first place. So search the Internet or go to your travel agent to find out the latest cheap cruise offers. Cruise money saving tips - After boarding on a cruise, in order to keep it cheap, don’t register for shore trips. If you are at least 4 people, you can easily hire a guide who will show you the highlights of that cruise. Opt for repositioning cruises. These offer discounts most often because the cruise lines change the itinerary of the cruise. These cruises will be usually longer - 2 weeks instead of one, but it offers great value for little money. These repositioned cruises often present inconveniences for the existing passengers such as having to fly to the starting point of the cruise, so some of them will cancel the bookings.

Another good tip to get a cheap cruise: look for eleventh-hour repositioning; these cruises will be very low-priced. If you want to cruise all by yourself, ask for a share rate. This means you will have a cabin mate of the same gender, so you won’t have to pay the addition of a single’s supplement to your fare.

Be very careful when choosing a cheap cruise! If you suffer from claustrophobia, make sure you avoid an inside cabin. Read all the conditions specified on the offer, you might need to buy some airline tickets as well, in order to get to the departure line of the cruise, and that could cost more than the discount. Unfortunately, most of the times, the cheap cruise offers do not entitle you to choose the type of cabin you want. You might end up having to pay for a cabin with balcony, which even discounted is more expensive than a regular cabin. Pay attention to the taxes and extra fees, such as port charges, governmental fees etc. Are they included in the cheap cruise price ? If not, see how much they are and establish if that bargain in deed.

From Buzzle.com:

Our travel agent is a close personal friend so this is really somewhat of a no-brainer for us to use her. She is always on the lookout for special cruise deals and calls us when she finds them. Most of the time we don't take her up on the offer but sometimes the deal is just too sweet to ignore and off we go again on another vacation adventure. If you have a travel agent that you trust tell them to alert you if they find any great cruise deals, they love the business and you will love the prices. Another thing that we are always on the lookout for are deals that come directly from the cruise lines. These are often bottom dollar deals that the cruise industry is trying to unload onto the public rather than have empty cabins. I mean, it is better for a cruise line to have discounted passengers rather than having empty cabins. If you have taken a cruise before be on the look out for these periodical mailings from them.


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