Your boss is nagging you — again — wanting to know where the reports are. They were due yesterday. The kids are bored, driving your wife nuts at home all summer. It’ll be months before you get any more time off. But you need it now. Not later.
As the news loops in the background, you start drifting to dreamland… smiling in your mind as you feel the breeze blowing in your face, like you were standing portside on the Carnival Dream.
BUZZZZ! Your alarm yanks you from your fantasy, kicking and screaming.
But, it’s too late; it’s in your mind. You’re going to find a cruise that you and your family can afford to take — if it’s the last thing you do.
There Are Affordable Cruises
No worries. Your dream is about to come true.
Thanks to the accessibility of people booking their own cruise vacations, off-season travel and last minute deals, you’ll be leaning on those boat side rails in no time, without the financial guilt to make your stomach feel like it went overboard.
Cruises that were once only for the rich and famous are priced more affordably than ever, especially if you know what you’re looking for and where to find it.
Tips for Snagging a Cruise for Cheap
1. Book late
The later you book, the harder the cruise liners are pushing to make sure they sell out the available rooms. In most cases, within 60-90 days of departure is when you’ll find the best deals, because that’s the time the current passengers have to finalize their bookings (pony up or lose out). If you want to take a chance (and can), buying tickets the day the vessel leaves port can save you around 80% of the normal ticket price!
2. Be flexible
If you’re fixed to a particular time and departure city, you won’t have as many options. But, if you can let savings dictate departure time, you have the potential to save a lot of money.
3. Look close to home
Go local and save on airfare. You can grab deals like Carnival’s $179 Caribbean cruises. Wow. If you live in or nearby Miami or other ports-of-call, you can snag obscenely amazing savings on four-day cruises to gorgeous destinations. In fact, if you live in any coastal state, you’ll be able to get to a departure port fairly easily. Check Carnival.com for their list of departure ports and find a cruise near you.
4. Be willing to settle for off-peak and repositioning trips
When the seasons change, cruise liners often change homeports. This is called repositioning. If you’re willing to travel during this time, you’ll not only have the benefit of unique ports-of-call, but great savings, as well. Off-peak travel is a bit different than repositioning cruises and may come with the hazard of less appealing weather. But if your goal is to cruise no matter what, off-peak might be perfect.
5. Travel in a group
If you have a special occasion approaching, or some celebration you want your family and friends to join, try a group cruise. When booking as a group, you’ll be able to negotiate lower rates.
6. Bid on it
As with airlines, there are websites like skyauction.com or allcruiseauction.com, where you can bid on your cruise of choice. Again, you’ll have to be flexible with departure times, and possibly, location. Make sure to read the fine print; you don’t want any surprises when it comes to fees associated with your purchase.
7. Sacrifice height or width
If you’re willing to go with lower room height, you’ll save more than those paying for upper deck rooms. The higher you go, the more expensive the rooms get. Also, smaller cabins or cabins without balconies always cost less. Consider where on the ship you need to be before paying for cabin size or locations you don’t need.
Flexibility is your key to an affordable cruise; it will help you take that exotic vacation you’ve always dreamed of.
Do you have any tips for cruising on the cheap?