Cruises aren't just for the wealthy and older folks any more, offering something for everyone and largely within reach.
Do Your Research
Though booking at the last minute may save you money, so will booking far in advance. Got time to plan a future vacation? Booking it now will allow for the best cabin selection and can save you big money — as much as 50% in some cases.
To save money, avoid travelling in the peak season. Bargains can be found by travelling in the shoulder-season, when demand is lower and crowds smaller. Be prepared for weather fluctuations at these times of year.
In addition to reading reviews of any cruise line and specific ship you are considering, consult with a certified travel agent, preferably one that specializes in cruises. This will save you money by helping you choose the most appropriate cruise for your budget.
If planning a special occasion such as a honeymoon, ask for a room upgrade. If such rooms are available, staff will sometimes oblige.
Save money with a shorter cruise, of two to four days. Shorter cruises are perfect for a quick getaway, for parents travelling with young children and for those just wanting to dip their feet in the waters of vacation cruising.
Ask about sales and discounts when you book your cruise. Many travel agents can advise you if there's a big special coming up. Also, many cruise lines offer special discounts for seniors and military personnel.
Planning to travel with a group of friends, family or colleagues? Travelling in larger numbers often brings additional perks such as discounts, free staterooms, onboard credits or other special amenities.
"Buy-one-get-one-free" fares can get your companion onboard at 50%-100% off. A great deal, but — as always — be sure to check any conditions to avoid surprises.
How far are you willing to go to save? Keep in mind while looking: the lowest-priced "deals" are almost always interior cabins, without windows facing the ocean. Are you likely to spend enough time on deck that this won't bother you? Sharing large cabins with friends or family can also curb the price.
Last-minute deals on cruises abound and are one of the prime ways to save money. If your time off is flexible and you're willing to drop everything on a few days' notice, you could set sail at a discounted rate. Just make sure to check your airfare rates as well, as they can increase as you get closer to your departure date.