You might not think you could actually save money by cruising on your next vacation, but with some careful planning, you can do just that! Special packages can take you on a three-night cruise to some sunny locales for under $ 200 a person. (Of course airfare is separate and prices are based on adult double occupancy.)
Check out some of these specials:
- A three-night cruise out of Miami, Fla., With stops at Cococay and Nassau, both in the Bahamas, for just $ 169 a person.
- A four-night cruise out of Miami, stopping first in Key West, Fla., And then on to Cozumel, Mexico, for $ 179 per person.
- Go a different direction with a seven-night cruise to the Southern Caribbean for $ 675 a person. It leaves from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and stops in Bridgetown, Castries, St. Louis. John's, Philipsburg and St. John's. Croix.
- For still another direction, how about a seven-night cruise to the Mexican Riviera, starting at $ 499 a person? It leaves out of San Diego, Calif., And stops in the Mexican ports of Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas.
These are just a few of the discounted cruise deals that can help you save money on your next vacation. Almost all of the major cruise lines offer some kind of discount package. And once you're onboard, relax and enjoy all the amenities – from activities for the children to world-renowned dining to nightly entertainment. And do not forget, once you drop anchor, get off the ship and explore the ports of call.
One word of advice – space on these discounted trips is often limited. You need to plan in advance and see what is available. And once you¡¯re booked, try not to change the date as most cruise lines will charge a change fee.
Special packages are not the only way to cruise for less. There are other tricks for traveling in style and for less.
- Book it now. If you're on a cruise and you've had a great time, you can realize significant savings by booking your next cruise right there on the spot – or right there onboard. You will not needlessly need to commit to the location, but the cruise line will be looking for a deposit to hold your place on your next cruise. If you're not sure where on board to conduct this business, ask if there's a cruise consultant or booking agent who can help you plan your next trip.
- Repeat business. Some cruise lines reward their repeat customers with incentives or room upgrades. If not those perks, they may reduce the amount of your deposit or offer you onboard credits.
- Transfer the booking. Even after you've booked a cruise, do not think you're locked into it. Often, you can transfer your booking to an online discount agent. These sites are able to help you monitor your booking, make changes and sometimes even find additional offers or savings. It's nice to have someone on your side.
- Cabin guarantee. When booking a cruise, you can sometimes get a cheaper price or a discount if you go with a cabin guarantee. This means you will be guaranteed to get a cabin in a certain category – inside, outside, with a verandah – for a cheaper price. In exchange, the company gets to select which particular cabin you'll get – whether it's midship, low deck, high deck, etc. You are guaranteed that you will never get bumped down to a lower category and there's even a chance you may get upgraded to a better cabin within the same category. (This could happen if the ship books too many people in one particular category of cabin. The cruise line can upgrade those with a guarantee for that particular level.) The only problem is that you may end up in a cabin in a location you don ' t like. For instance, if you want to be involved in a host of activities, you may not want a cabin far from the fun. It's kind of a gamble that sometimes pays off. And if you do not really care where your cabin is located, it might be a good bet for you.
- Get a consultant. If you're new to cruising or you're not sure what kind of cruise you want to take, where you want to go or what's the best price available, contact a travel consultant. These are experienced travelers with an expertise in cruises. Let one of them help you arrange a floating family reunion, a quiet getaway for you and your spouse, or maybe a special group trip. Consultants can also help you make plans to fly into the port city and find you a hotel to stay in after you dock, if that's what you want.
If you've not taken a cruise before, be good to yourself and make this the year you step out and step onboard!