Planning on taking to the seas for your next holiday? Cruises are a lot of fun and can often be very well priced too. These handy tips should help you find the best deals:
- Book well in advance (six to twelve months before setting sail). Most cruise lines advertise their best deals up to one year in advance. These can include two-for-one offers, free airfares and transfers, onboard credit or a free drinks package.
Wait to book and not only will the best cabins be sold out, the cruise’s package promotions (offering free drinks, onboard credit, prepaid gratuities and other discounts), and cruise fares will be rising often by 20 to 30 per cent.
- Booking “late” (60 to 90 days in advance). Some people will have put down a deposit and then cancelled before paying the full price of their cruise holidays 60 to 90 days before setting sail. At this point, some cruises will release special deals in order to fill the ship. However, by leaving it late, you risk the possibility of missing out on a good price and having to pay far more last minute instead.
- Be flexible. If you are travelling at peak times like school holidays, it’s best to book early to secure the cruise and cabin you want. However, unfortunately this won’t necessarily get you the best price.
If you have the luxury of being flexible on dates, off-peak cruises should get you a much better fare. For example, European cruise holidays are at their cheapest in late March and April or mid-September to November.
- Flight costs. If you are cruising from another country, bear in mind there could be limited availability on last minute flights. A pricey last-minute flight could erase any savings on what you thought was a good deal.
- Depart from a UK port. It’s often easier and cheaper to drive to and from the port than to book flights, especially if you find a good last-minute deal. Some hotels near major embarkation ports even offer guests special park-sleep-cruise packages.
- Shop around. Cruise sellers can often have authorised ways of accessing the lowest possible prices. Some agencies have websites focusing on last-minute offers or send out weekly emails offering the latest deals. And if you don’t see anything you like, phone them – some agencies can only tell customers about their lowest prices over the phone.
If you’re over 50 and travelling with a medical condition, getting the best deal on your cruise travel insurance can be difficult. Speak to our travel insurance specialists on 0808 281 9973 to find out more.