So we’ve shared lots of articles about cruising (tips, things to know, where to go) and cruise lines and cruise ships. You already know we love cruising here at Cruise Radio.
Now, we want to make sure you know how to book your own cruise adventure. Just like most vacations, there are several ways to book a cruise.
Here are 4 different ways to book a cruise:
1. Directly with the Cruise Lines
Yeah, this does seem pretty obvious. But its how a lot of cruisers book their next sailing. You can book online with most major cruise lines or you can call. Most cruise lines offer 24 hour services to book a cruise. They also answer questions, give price options and offer advice about their specific cruise line. Many cruise lines also offer vacation or protection guarantees when booking. Check with each specific cruise line for more details.
2. Travel Agent
This is a great choice for booking a cruise. Travel agents do all the research (aka work!)for you and present you the options. They also help take care of itinerary changes or handle any issues that might come up. They’re very familiar with the cruise lines and receive ongoing training that’s industry specific. This is the best choice if you’re looking for stress free and fantastic Customer service.
3. Travel Websites
There are so many travel websites that offer cruise bookings now. Some are cruise specific – like cruisecompete.com or vacationstogo.com – and some offer multiple travel services, think expedia.com or Travelocity.com. Because these sites book in very large quantity, they can offer amazing deals. I’ve used vacationstogo.com several times and gotten prices significantly below normal. As a bonus, when we booked with them, they surprised us with chocolate covered strawberries in our room on embarkation day.
This one surprised me the most. Most airlines offer full vacation packages and not just airlines. Southwest and US Air both offer cruise bookings. And no, you don’t have to book your airfare with them to book the cruise. My friends booked directly with Southwest and got a great deal on a 4-night sailing on the Carnival Destiny (now Carnival Sunshine). And though it’s not a cruise, my friend and I booked a steal of a deal for Las Vegas directly with US Airways that included a great hotel rate.
What’s your favorite way to book a cruise? What advice do you have for first-time cruisers booking a cruise?