Here’s How You Can Save On the Cost of a Cruise This Summer

Taking any kind of vacation during the summer is expensive. From travel to hotel stays to souvenirs and the cost of fun activities, a family can rack up huge expenses on a single vacation.

And cruises aren’t an exception to this – on average, a single cruise booking costs $1,293. That doesn’t include the extra $498 most cruise passengers spend once they’re on board.

But you don’t have to pay these high costs. You can actually book a cruise at a more affordable price. You just need to know the tried-and-true expert tricks that will save you money.

The following are the best ways to save money when booking a cruise this summer. Even though you’re traveling during the most popular time of the year, you don’t have to break the bank.

Book Early – Or At the Last Minute

You can save money on a cruise simply by booking at the right time.

Cruises are always looking for passengers. And cruise lines love to start booking people on new cruises as soon as the itinerary is unveiled. This locks in travelers well in advance.

However, if a cruise ship isn’t full before it’s about to depart, the company needs to fill those rooms. They lose out on money if they don’t fill each stateroom with passengers, so you can find incredible discounts on last-minute cruise bookings too.

Here’s how you’ll benefit from booking either well in advance or at the very last minute.

Booking Early: You’ll want to book at least four months before your desired departure date. Some cruise lines will allow travelers to book a full year in advance, so you can book even earlier if you want to score savings. Cruises often offer early savings promotions and “early bird” deals for those who book well in advance.

Booking Late: If you have the flexibility to book a last-minute cruise, you can find fantastic deals just a few weeks out. You’ll save significantly if you book in the last two months to two weeks before a cruise’s departure date. Because cruises desperately need to fill cabins, if you’re flexible on the room type and cruise itinerary, you can find great last-minute discounts.

Choose a Less Popular Cruise

The most expensive cruises are the ones that are the most desirable. Summertime cruises in general are costly – after all, who doesn’t want to take a cruise and visit beaches when it’s sunny, warm, and pleasant out? And if you’re interested in a cruise that’s traveling to a highly desirable location, you’ll also find high prices.

However, if you look beyond the most popular kinds of cruises, you can find some affordable options.

For example, don’t book a cruise on a big-name cruise line to a summertime hotspot like the Bahamas, the Mexican Riviera, or different Caribbean islands. Instead, check out less popular options that cruise through less traveled destinations, smaller boats, and little-known cruise lines.

Here are just a few examples of the types of cruises that are typically cheaper than the popular big names in cruising:

  • Smaller Ships: Most cruises take place on huge ocean carriers. However, cruises on smaller ships often come with more oceanview cabins, unlimited premium drinks, and even included shore excursions. You can also visit ports that giant cruise ships cannot.
  • River Cruises: River cruises, which are common on European rivers, offer a more intimate and unique cruise experience. You’ll get to see cities right along the river as you travel, and you can explore more cultures, enjoy more specialized foods, and spend less money on these cheaper cruise adventures.
  • Repositioning Cruises: These cruises have nontraditional itineraries – the whole point of the cruise is to simply move the ship to a new port across the world. And these cruises tend to be far cheaper because there aren’t excursions or sightseeing happening. They can be longer, which allows you to enjoy the ship’s amenities for less.

When you opt for a less popular, or less common, kind of cruise, you won’t just score financial savings. You may also be able to find more unique and special cruising experiences, along with more value for your money.

Comparison Shop to Find Discounts

When you’re searching for cruises to take, make sure you comparison shop. While you might find the perfect cruise at a price you can work with, you could miss out on discounts or deals if you don’t bother to shop around.

You can search online for various ways to find lower-priced cruises. Travel sites known for offering discounted rates, like Travelocity, Priceline, and CruiseDirect, can help you score the same cruise you’re considering at a lower price. You can also check out what different cruise lines are offering for similar itineraries – a different cruise line might have a significantly different price.

And don’t forget to consider the changing prices of cruises over time. As mentioned previously, cruise prices can get cheaper as the departure date grows closer. Make sure to keep searching for and comparing prices. If your booked room gets cheaper, you may be able to contact the cruise line to get a price match.

These tips together can help you take a cruise without breaking the bank this summer. And when you do your research and compare prices, you may be able to lower the cost even more.

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