Cruises are one of the most affordable ways to travel.
It seems every time I check my email there is another message from one of the major cruise lines with a new offer. If you play your cards right, you can go to some pretty amazing places for next to nothing.
Here are four tips to help you get the best possible deal on a cruise vacation.
1. Book with an Agent
I love to take control of my travel, but when it comes to cruising, your agent has access to deals you simply have no way of knowing about. Sometimes agents have access to “bonuses” they can pass along to preferred guests. I once had an agent pay my taxes and port fees, for example. On another occasion, my agent arranged for the cruise line to surprise me with a bottle of wine and a gift card for a free professional photo.
You won’t spend anything extra to have a travel agent book your trip, so it’s worth seeing if there are any hidden deals your agent can pass on to you. Often, I still do all of the cruise planning myself and just pass the information on to my agent to do the actual booking. I know exactly what I’m getting, but I still get to take advantage of any special deals the agent offers.
2. Check Expedia
With more than 10,000 travel partners in more than 60 countries, Expedia is the largest travel agency in the world. This translates to massive buying power and the ability to get awesome deals for clients.
Expedia often purchases blocks of cabins well in advance of a cruise’s departure date—sometimes years before it’s scheduled to set sail. They get a great rate for buying in bulk, and they pass the savings on to you. You simply will not be able to beat the deal you get with Expedia.
3. Go Direct
It’s pretty rare that you’ll get a better rate booking directly with the cruise line, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check out its website. Cruise lines are always updating their prices and putting out new offers. If you see something you like, you can ask your agent to check it out.
4. Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Just because you’ve got an awesome deal on a cruise doesn’t mean you can’t do better. Check online every now and then to see if the rate has changed for the better. Almost every cruise I have ever been on, I have ended up getting a much lower rate by simply taking a few minutes to check for deals every couple of weeks. Just this past week, I upgraded to a balcony cabin for $70 less than I was going to pay for an inside cabin on an upcoming cruise. It pays—literally—to do a quick check every now and then. Any agent or cruise line worth a lick will honor the lower rate.
So, now that you know how to get a great deal on a cruise, what are you waiting for? Follow Wanderlust Wayfarer on Twitter for more great cruise and vacation advice.