When it comes to booking your cruise vacation you can save some serious money – if you know what you’re doing.
We’ve rounded up nine of the best money saving tips for your next cruise.
1. Buy Early
Cruise lines put their inventory on sale over a year in advance. The best time to book your cruise is six to 12 months out, especially on itineraries that have a demand for balconies, like the Med and Alaska. A good rule of thumb is that when the kids are in school, the cruises are cheaper.
Also, be sure you download the ShipMate App and set up a price alert so you’ll know when the price drops. You can read our article here.
2. Skip Cruise Line Air Packages
The cruise line air packages can sometimes give you the worst connections and the longest layovers. Consider booking the air on your own, or through a consolidator, for the best deals.
3. Befriend a Travel Agent
A travel agent is your at-sea advocate. A travel agent can be your best friend when it comes to saving money on a cruise. They know what you’re looking for and what cruise lines you prefer. They are there for you with things like price drops, or to help you if a last-minute problem arises.
4. Cruise Shoulder Seasons
You can score deep discounts on cruises by choosing to sail early (or late) in the cruise season. A couple of years ago, I scored a cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line in Alaska for next to nothing because it was one of the last cruises of the season – and the weather was perfect!
5. Become a Shareholder
If you buy 100 shares of Carnival Corporation or Royal Caribbean stock you get a shareholder perk of an onboard credit. For example, on Royal Caribbean brands you’ll receive $100 onboard credit per stateroom on sailings of six to nine nights.
6. Private Tours
Sometimes, it’s best to look beyond the cruise lines for booking your shore excursions. Companies like Cruising Excursions offer tours up to 60-percent off the cost of cruise line shore excursions, while still giving you peace of mind about returning back to your ship.
7. Military Discounts
All cruise lines have different regulations for Military discounts, but here is Carnival’s. The promotions are available to the following members of the United States Military and Canadian Department of National Defense: Active Personnel, spouses of active Military personnel called to active duty or stationed overseas, Reserve Personnel, Active Cadets, U.S Coast Guard Personnel, Active member of the National Guard, Uniformed members of the USPHS (U.S Public Health Services), Retired Personnel, Retired member of the National Guard, Honorably Discharged member of the National Guard and Veterans.
8. Buy Your Next Cruise, On Your Cruise
The cruise line will offer a special deal on your cruise with onboard credit specials. If you’re that jazzed about taking your next cruise while still enjoying your current one, consider putting down a deposit.
9. Book Travel Insurance
The best way to protect your cruise is to buy travel insurance. In 2013 I got stuck in Munich, Germany because of weather. Travel insurance saved me with my hotel and taxi cabs. It only cost $34 for my policy and it was worth its weight in gold!
You can find out more about Trip Insurance on our travel insurance page here.
Feel free to add any tips that you may have for booking a cruise at the best cost.