With over 20 million people choosing to go on a cruise each year, the cruise industry is booming. While cruising is relatively affordable, many cruises charge extra for drinks and entertainment. Then there are the costs associated with any of the locations you visit.
If you’re not careful, going on a cruise can really get expensive. Savvy passengers are always looking for a cruise price drop. Especially since the average person who goes on a cruise is over 50 and earns a median income of $109,000 and it becomes even more important to find ways to save.
With savings in mind, we’re sharing with you eight ways to check for a cruise price drop. Keep reading to learn what to look for.
1. Location Is Everything
Certain cruise lines will charge their passenger’s different amounts for the same class level of rooms that are just located in different locations on the ship.
Get all your cruise accessories ready for a vacation at sea.
A room on a higher deck might look the same as a room on a lower deck, but their prices might vary. That’s because it’s deemed to hold more value for passengers.
To enjoy a cruise price drop, ask to be placed automatically at the lowest room rate. You can also try getting a “cabin guarantee” which means you’ll get a cabin in at least the category specified. You also might get an upgrade.
Ship lines like Carnival tend to discount their guaranteed cabin bookings about $50 to $100 per person off their advertised fares.
2. Be Flexible With Cruise Dates
There are certain times during the year when you’ll witness a more dramatic cruise price drop. Those are usually the fall months when the kids are back at school and adults are back working after taking off time during the summer. You can also find lower rates between New Year’s and Spring Break. Most people are either hibernating during the winter or trying to pay off their holiday bills.
Other times like the period between Christmas and New Year’s fetch much higher prices. In fact, the rates are often double what someone would pay during the offseason. You’ll also find higher rates around other holidays and during summer when families with children prefer to cruise.
3. Older Ships Tend To Have Cheaper Prices
While this isn’t an actual rule, it’s common to pay much less to sail on an older ship than it is to sail on a newer one. You’ll find older ships are kept up well and are comfortable. What you won’t find is extra space and a full range of amenities that the larger, newer ships offer.
However, not everyone is looking for a floating amusement park. Ships built in the past 3-5 years often feature amenities like waterslides, robot bars, ice rinks, and walking promenades.
If that’s not for you, then look for an older ship. You’ll find it’s much calmer and less expensive. And while it’s difficult to compare, a 5-day cruise aboard Oasis of the Seas – which is a new ship in Royal Caribbean’s feet is around $711.50 per person in September.
A 5-day cruise in November aboard Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas – which first sailed in 1988 is $329 per person.
4. Get A Cruise Price Drop Using Social Media
If you love social media, then you’ll love this tip to find a great cruise price drop. Twitter is a great place to search for last-minute cruise bargains. Nearly every agent and agency are already out there tweeting about their latest and greatest promotional offers.
All you need to do is find and follow them – you can start with @royalcaribbean. You can also go one step further by customizing a list of deal tweeters. You can use Twitter’s list function to do that. Check out Facebook and other social media outlets as well. You might be able to join groups on social media who are dedicated to going on cruises.
Live Cruise Price Drops
5. Book In Advance
Even though you want to get a great deal, it doesn’t always mean you’re willing to cut corners. There are some ways to get a great cruise price drop without making sacrifices.
If you’re really looking to book at the same time and for the same destination as everyone else, book early. In fact, book at least a year in advance. The best spots on popular new ships will sell quickly, which pushes fares up even higher. Search for early-bird specials that offer added value like onboard credit or free upgrades.
If you’re worried about committing so far in advance or missing out on a deal you find after booking, don’t worry. Most deposits are refundable prior to your final payment.
If the price drops after you’ve booked, you can either rebook at the lower rate or even request the difference as an onboard credit. Luxury cruises are also known to list their best prices early. If you wait, their lower rates will disappear.
6. Bundle Your Vacation Package
Many cruise lines offer package deals. Those deals include airfare, hotel, and even tours as well as the usual cruise fares. Search for packages offered by the major lines. You’ll find you can save on individual costs.
7. Book In Groups
There’s a saying, “the more, the merrier.” For a vacation on a cruise line, this is not only true, but you’ll probably end up enjoying a lot of savings as well.
If you’re able to book in bulk, many cruise lines will give you free berths in return, depending on the number of passengers you bring. Most of the time, you’ll need to book at least a minimum of 10 guests to earn a free berth.
But that’s not the only perk available for groups. Some cruise lines like Crystal throw in freebies like onboard credit, free photos, and even discounts on select group excursions.
And throughout the year you’ll find that many cruise lines offer promotions that give free cruise fare for any third or fourth passenger booked into the same cabin. Don’t forget to look for deals that include extra bonuses like drink packages or prepaid gratuities.
8. Sign Up For Savings Emails
One of the easiest ways to check for a cruise price drop is to sign up for e-mails from various cruise lines. Then all you have to do is check your inbox to see what savings are available.
Most cruise lines and agencies still use e-newsletters to help them fill vacant spots on their ships. Cruise lines like Norwegian, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival all offer deals in e-mails with ongoing promotions.
They also send out e-mails with last-minute deals and even short sales. If you don’t want to deal with all those e-mails in your inbox you can either set up a separate account just for bargain hunters.
Make It Easy For Yourself
Time is money. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time looking for great cruise line rates, don’t worry. That’s what we’re here for. To find the latest and greatest promotions on your favorite cruise lines, click here.