THE ULTIMATE CRUISERS GUIDE
After getting the tip of the iceberg on last week’s post, I am sure you are as excited as I am to jump right into the juicy details. As you know, it was an introduction to cruising. With specific highlights on the essentials you need to know before going on your first cruise vacation. Well, today I’ll be sharing the ultimate cruisers guide to make your cruise experience way cheaper and interesting.
Most times when people think about a ‘Cruise vacation’, automatically they interpret that a very expensive holiday. But the truth is, Cruising can be done on a budget and remains a very cost-efficient way to see the world in a luxurious style.
So, do you always fantasize about taking a well-deserved cruise holiday? Probably you have already smelt the sea and heard the ocean roar in your fantasy? But, the fear of the expenses scares you from actualizing that dream? If your answer is YES, then it’s your lucky day because I got you on this one! After several months of research and firsthand experience, on today’s post I have compiled a very informative guide to share my findings with you. With that in mind, let’s dive deep into how to cruise the world without breaking the bank.
STEP 1- ON THE ULTIMATE CRUISERS GUIDE
BEST WAYSTO BOOK A CRUISE & SAVE COST
It is safe to underline that everyone’s major concern is the price of the cruise. But to be honest, cruise prices are about the same across all booking platforms. Therefore, have that in mind. What I would like to emphasize here is WHERE you can book your cruise at the same price as seen on other platforms, BUT you get additional benefits that would in the long run save you cost onboard.
Given that the prices are almost the same across booking sites, the ultimate secret is to avoid booking directly with the cruise line but book with a third-party site because they offer a lot of perks and free onboard credits that the cruise line itself does not offer. I recommend choosing the third-party site offering the most onboard credits & perks. And to be realistic, the onboard credit is what saves you from spending your own money while you cruise as you practically can pay for everything with that free credit. Everything means; excursions, activities, shopping, SPA, etc… Tell me a better way to travel for less please…I’ll wait!!!
Simple example above of my search; On the cruise line’s site Royal Caribbean (left image) the price for a 10 days Southern Caribbean cruise is $399/per person with no added perk or free onboard credit. While the same cruise on the third-party site cost $374 and still offers amazing additional perks to choose from (highlighted in yellow)
STEP 2 – ON THE ULTIMATE CRUISERS GUIDE
BEST TIME TO BOOK A CRUISE
Even though we all love summer time and the amazing vibes it brings, the real question here is does your bank account love summer? Logically, everyone (mostly families) is on holiday during summer, the weather is popping and it’s the best time to extort money from travelers. Same applies to festive periods and spring breaks.
Suffice it to say therefore that the best price for a cruise is guaranteed when school is in session and during fall season when people are back to work after summer break. The best period of the year to book a cruise for cheap is: January, February, September, October, November and EARLY December. The graph below shows you approximately how cruise fares vary throughout the year.
Another important hint is to book as early as possible or whenever you see the best price, because, last minute bookings don’t always save cost. The good news is; after booking if there is a price drop u can contact the cruise line and they will offer you the difference or free onboard credit because some sites have price protection policy. So, if booking in advance always check the price protection policy. But this works only when you book directly and not with 3rd party sites.
STEP 3 ON THE ULTIMATE CRUISERS GUIDE
BEST SITES TO BOOK A CRUISE
I would first like to state that there is by no means any affiliation between me and these sites, and neither do I get any commission if you choose to use them. After a comprehensive research, I only thought it would be helpful to save future cruisers the time by sharing the best sites out there to get amazing cruise deals. On that note, here are some I would highly recommend:
These sites do offer very attractive perks, flash deals and freebies that can be spent onboard hence saving you money. PS: It is important to note that booking with third-party websites means they serve as the middle man between you and the cruise lines, the draw back is that if you need to make any changes, cancellations or modifications it must be done through them. Hence it is advised that you are sure of dates and travel plans, or if not sure then book directly with the cruise lines.
WHILE YOU BOOK KEEP THESE MIND
Even though it saves you money to let the cruise line choose your room, most times it is safest to choose your own room to avoid surprises. For instance, if you let them do it, you can be placed in an undesired room next to the elevator, under/above the night clubs, rooms with restricted views or under lido decks. The discomfort in such rooms can actually ruin your whole trip, so stay woke!
Since it’s a vacation then I am guessing FUN is essential. If your aim is to enjoy and create lifetime memories, then I advise you;
- Book a ship that includes an itinerary to their private Island for a fun day on the Island. For e.g with Royal Caribbean’s it’s the “Perfect day at Cococay” at their private island on the Bahamas, while for Norwegian Cruise line it’s the ‘Great Stirrup Cay’…The undiluted fun and adventures offered on these islands cannot be measured to any amount of money.
- Book a bigger or newer ship as the old ships do not have many onboard activities. A new ship simply implies new and improved facilities onboard from waterslides to 3D Cinemas, whirlpools, gaming centres, Casinos and much more. With an un-ending list of things to do on a new ship, you are guaranteed more fun as you sail.
In conclusion, my view is that since a cruise vacation is all inclusive, it is most times cheaper than a regular holiday. The mere idea of not having to worry about where to wine and dine on a trip alone is a huge relief! And cost wise let’s face it, if you were not cruising and had to pay for all the world class activities and adventures you enjoy for free on a ship it would cost a fortune; (Non-stop gourmet cuisine, Ziplining, Waterslides, Swimming with Dolphins, Cinema, SPA, etc.).
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