How to Find Affordable Cruises

IMG_1494By Kathryn Thompson

Cruises are still considered by many people to be the ultimate holiday.  Of course, in some cases, this means that they can also be quite expensive, especially on the most popular routes, leading to people being essentially priced out of the market.

Because we’re all for a bit of equality, we’ve put together this list on how you can go about finding a cruise for less than you might think:

Book in advance

In almost any area of consumer purchase, from train tickets to music concerts, booking well in advance will save you money.  This is simply because the more spaces fill up, the more competition there is and the pricier the tickets become.  Once a cruise has sold out, you’ll be lucky to grab a ticket without some astronomical price tag tacked on.  Work out a good nine months in advance the exact dates on which you want to take your holiday, and go looking for cheap cruises that match the date.  It’ll give you time to plan your trip, too, which is never a bad thing if you’re not great at keeping organised!

Know the Best Times

There is typically a right time and a wrong time to book a holiday in terms of how much you’ll end up paying: you could end up paying twice as much for the same trip if you get it wrong.  If you’re planning to take the cruise in prime time (during spring break, or during the summer), then you really should be looking to book a year in advance.  If it’s a seriously luxury voyage, then you should book as soon as the rates are released.

Know the seasons

As with any other holiday, cruises in different parts of the world will typically have seasons where they are at their most popular.  For Europe, specials can typically be found from around late March through to April if you’re looking for a discount, and then again from mid-September through till November.  In the Caribbean, meanwhile, you should be hunting for cheaper rates during either the autumn months, or in January and February.  Essentially, if you can go on holiday during school term time, then you should!

Look for any kind of promotions

Whilst most people know to look out for discounts on the actual fare of the trip, there are actually a few other promotions around that can help you save money, such as free upgrades, prepaid gratuities or on-board credit.  Even if these upgrades don’t save you money on the actual cost of the bill, they could mean you enjoy a far more luxury cruise than you would have been able to otherwise, which is never a bad thing!

Look for the cheaper areas

Because of the economic recession affecting different people of the world in different ways, you might be surprised at the low prices that can be found in some regions, simply because they’re keen to acquire as many tourists and visitors as they can.  Some European areas, such as the Mediterranean, are especially keen to attract customers, meaning that some very low fares can be found if you take the time to shop around.  Tourism – like so many other business sectors – is currently a buyer’s market.

These are just a few ways to find affordable cruises. We’d love to hear your methods.

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