Despite the flashy online ads promising the best prices, biggest discounts, and most affordable itineraries, how do you know if you are really getting a bargain? According to cruise expert Tanner Callais, owner of the popular website Cruzely.com, you can increase your chances for a good deal with these tips.
Go for the older ships.
“New cruise ships are built to resemble floating amusement parks,” Callais says. “If you can do without the huge waterslides, walking promenades, ice rinks, and outdoor aqua theaters, you can book on an older ship and save hundreds, even thousands, of dollars.”
Cruise when school is in session.
“Families make up a significant part of a cruise line’s passengers,” Callais explains. “The same cruise during the summers or school holidays can be up to twice the price as a trip departing in January or February, or in the fall.”
You don’t need to book at the last minute.
Many lines have eliminated last-minute discounts, precisely to avoid encouraging people to wait to book, Callais says. And waiting means you will miss out on selecting the best cabins.
Book directly through the cruise line and then put down the minimum deposit.
Travel websites are great for research, but book your cruise directly through the cruise line, Callais cautions. “Unless they are offering a phenomenal onboard credit or a price guarantee, travel website deals are, as a rule, no better than the cruise line’s.” Callais recommends putting down the minimum deposit and then monitoring the cruise line’s website to see if the fare has gone down. If you run across a price drop, contact the cruise line immediately and request that they honor the lower fare. “Many cruise lines will work with you to compensate for the reduction in price. Some lines even have price protection policies. And putting down the minimum deposit gives you some leverage.”