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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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
...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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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