Top 10 Tips on How to get the Best Cruise Deals
A cruise, like with any other type of vacation, seemingly has prices that can fluctuate from one day to the next with many passengers paying slightly different rates and having different rewards for the same type of break. That makes getting the best cruise deals quite a challenge.
You would much rather be a passenger who has been able to get the most for their money and here we look at exactly how you can make that happen. Once you have finished reading this article, you’ll have all the information needed to get the cheapest cruise possible.
Why do cruise prices fluctuate?
We are a society that is getting increasingly dependent on algorithms. For those that don’t know, algorithms are a set of rules that are going to be followed using calculations by a computer and they can be seen almost everywhere.
It’s how Google shows you the most relevant search results, it’s why Amazon’s prices are always a quirky number and it’s what Facebook uses to show you your newsfeed. They are everywhere and cruise websites and travel agents use them to dictate prices in order to make the highest profit.
The rules that will be set into these prices will be the likes of demand, time of the year and time until departure, among others. This means that the price can change sometimes even without the knowledge of the company showing them, as they simply trust the algorithm.
There are other companies who will use such calculations to work out the best price and then will manually set their own price. This then can change when aspects such as demand change. It’s a constantly changing cycle in order to try and squeeze the most money possible out of each ship.
How often do cruise fares change?
You can drive yourself a little mad sometimes trying to predict the changes in cruise deals. Constantly checking the screen can almost seem like you are gambling, never knowing when to pull the trigger on the cruise, hoping that it might go down once again.
A company that relies on algorithms could see prices change several times a day, sometimes even from hour to hour. Usually these are only slight changes while at other times they are going to be more drastic and give you more of a headache.
There are also other factors involved such as how many times you have been on a particular website and what pages you have looked at. Two people in separate states could be looking at two different prices on the same web page for the same cruise.
Can I predict changes in cruise ticket prices?
For the micro changes in price, there is nothing that you can really predict. These will be based on circumstances that you are unaware of such as how popular a website, how full the cruise is and the specific rules that a company sets on pricing.
There are times though that a cruise is going to be cheaper than others and you want to be checking a website when it’s most likely to have a low amount of visitors. Booking your cruise as early as possible can save you money and in contrast to that, late deals can come up if the cruise isn’t going to be full or if passengers have canceled.
It is extremely difficult to predict though and it’s fairly useless to try and organize a method of tracking it. Checking it at set time is a good idea but there are plenty of other ways that you are going to be able to find the best cruise deals possible.
What are the best money saving tips for cruise deals?
Thankfully there are plenty of things that you are going to be able to do to get the best cruise deals and they don’t all involve you spending countless hours on your computer constantly refreshing the page to see if the cruise price has dropped.
Here we look at some of the tips that you are going to be able to save yourself a lot of money and will be able to enjoy an incredible break away. Paying less than everyone else onboard might also help to make your vacation even sweeter than it already was.
Before booking a cruise with one of the best companies such as Holland America and Royal Caribbean, you want to search long and hard to find cruise deals that suit you and your budget, and here’s the 10 best ways to do that.
1. Join the cruise lines mailing list
While it may seem as though e-mail isn’t as big as it once was, it is still a vital source of contact for businesses. They can instantly connect to people who they know will be interested in the deals that they will have to be able to fill up their ships quickly.
While a lot of what you get in your inbox can be junk, getting them to send cruise newsletters to your inbox can actually be extremely useful. This gives you instant access to the information while other interested parties might not yet be aware.
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2. Look for last minute cruises
With work, family and life commitments it can sometimes be very hard to be able to just drop everything and head out onto a cruise. In the last 90 days before departure though you might some great deals available if you book late, enabling you to save hundreds of dollars.
Cruise lines are always desperate to fill up their cruises and space might be available as simply the ship hasn’t sold out or it could be that people have canceled. If you have that flexibility, it can be a great way to save a lot of money. Last minute cruises are also a crucial point for Nomadic Matt, which he mentions in his guide about getting a cheap cruise for only $30 a day.
3. Book entire cruise packages
You should consider booking entire cruise packages (including transportation) as the difference between booking everything separately or as a complete package can be remarkably different. Naturally on a cruise you’re not going to have to pay for going from port-to-port or your accommodation, but there are other costs.
One of the biggest ones is transportation and that is both airfares to cruise ships or it could also be your transfer to and from destinations once you have stepped off your ship. There are plenty of other packages that you can get with lines offering the likes of drinks and excursions that are worth looking into.
4. Look on social media for cruise deals
Companies have always used every avenue that they possibly could in order to advertise their products. That has now moved onto social media and you are seeing companies increasingly advertise deals on the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
This can be a great place to look for additional deals that you might otherwise miss. You can even get notifications sent to your phone if you really wanted to keep on top of the latest deals that you can get. Cruise companies are using social media more than ever before, and you want to take advantage of that.
5. Save on a cruise by monitoring the prices
As we mentioned before, cruise prices change quite often due to the algorithms in place and it’s a good idea to monitor cruise price drops to save on a cruise. You should enable notifications or save your searches to low-peak times in order to see the most likely times that the lowest prices are going to be posted.
You also want to get rid of your cookies on a regular basis and that doesn’t refer to the delicious snack that might be in your cupboard. A cookie is a small file that is downloaded onto your computer which will monitor your use on a site.
If you go on a website a lot, a company can think that you are getting increasingly desperate for that vacation and will bump up the price accordingly. Clearing browsing data is very easy (Command +, on Mac, Ctrl + H on Windows) and once you do, you’ll see the true set price.
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6. Get the best cruise deals with loyalty
Being a part of a cruise loyalty scheme can get you incrementally better deals the longer that you have been with the company. Not only that, but you will also get additional features when you are onboard the ship in order to keep your custom which can make you feel like a VIP.
While this can be great for those who prefer one particular type of cruise company, it’s still worth checking if there are other deals out there to prevent you from missing out on them. Cruise companies love loyalty though, and they’ll reward it.
7. Go for a cabin guarantee when booking a cruise
Picking your own cabin can give you peace of mind about knowing exactly where you are going to be when you are on the ship. If you sign up to get a cabin of a particular class, then you might end up getting a cheaper overall cruise for it.
You’ll never be downgraded from the option that you’ve chosen but there is a possibility that you could be upgraded. This increased flexibility will allow you to save a bit of money and enable you to get the best deal possible.
8. Cancel then rebook if you find better cruise deals
It can be highly frustrating when you decide to book early only to find that it has suddenly become a lot cheaper than when you are originally paid for it. If this happens, there are two key things that you might be able to do.
Firstly, you could simply cancel then rebook your cruise at the cheaper price. This can depend on their terms but it can save you a lot of money. Another option is to contact the cruise company and ask for a refund on the difference, and some will give you this in-store credit.
9. Look for group deals with fellow cruisers
If you are going with fellow cruisers, then don’t just book separately as there could well be savings to be had. Top cruise lines will give discounts to large groups and you could even get free berths as part of the deal.
This is generally only going to be available for groups of 10 or more but it’s worth checking this with the cruise liner before you book. Not only that, but having everyone close together is also going to be able to save you a lot of hassle.
10. Save on a cruise with some research
Many people simply just type in a quick search and then book the first cruise vacation that they like. That’s not the best tactic and as we discussed earlier, it’s a good idea to be picky about when you book your cruise as using the right dates to book your cruise could potentially save a lot of money.
Browsing during quieter periods and looking for cruises that are in between seasons can see you having plenty of seasons. Generally the cheapest times to book cruises are either when they have first been posted or last-minute deals.
Be smart to get the best cruise deals
There are those people who will be able to see the cost of a balcony suite and be able to book it without a second thought. For most people, cruises are a luxury that involves careful spending of your hard-earned money or pension.
The most important thing to remember is to not rush into any decision. It can seem overwhelming at times with the amount of information that you need to take in but using the types of steps that we have looked at here can get you the best deals possible. With our tips as cruise experts, you're on the safe side when it comes to finding the perfect cruise deal. For further information you can also check out the advice from other professional cruise enthusiasts or personal tips from experienced cruisers.
Once you’re onboard the ship, you’ll be able to enjoy the experience knowing that you paid the lowest possible price that you can. That will remove any guilt and allow you to enjoy your dream vacation until you’re ready to do it all again.