Taking a cruise is one of the most unique ways to vacation. It allows time to unwind, or to fill your days with countless activities. By now, you have probably decided to take the plunge to find a cruise that fits your needs. Let’s talk about how cruise pricing works, and how to get the most out of your trip.
Cruise Pricing Basics
First-time cruisers may not know where to begin when it comes to finding the best deals. The price of a cruise can fluctuate based on the season, location, and availability. The price is typically based on a per person scale and reflects the amenities included in the cruise package.
Since cruise prices can change daily, you may want to monitor the price over a period of time to better understand the average price. Once you know what a reasonable price would be for the cruise line and area you are interested in, you can recognize a great deal when you see it.
What’s Included in the Price of a Cruise?
Cruising is one of the most cost-effective vacations, and a great way to make the most out of your vacation budget. If you plan carefully, you can save hundreds and still enjoy a high-quality trip.
When booking a cruise, you are generally paying for your double occupancy cabin, meals, destination points, and the scheduled entertainment. Though this can vary by cruise lines, you can find additional inclusive offers the bigger your budget is.
Before booking, it is important to investigate what is included in the package.
Added Expenses to Consider
Although cruises offer some of the best value for vacations, there are add-ons that can affect your budget. Be aware of the extra charges for items so you can stay on budget and avoid surprises at the end of your cruise:
Shore excursions are one of the highlights of a cruise experience. Whether it be a guided tour or an adventure activity, you’ll be expected to make the purchase separately. Luckily, these additional activities are listed beforehand, so you’ll be able to budget and plan accordingly.
In most cases, you will have to book your flights to and from your the departing port. Some cruise lines have an internal flight booking service, but keep in mind that this may come with potential issues and restrictions. Flight apps like Hopper and Skyscanner are helpful tools for scheduling and budgeting.
Unless you purchase a cruise package that specifically outlines that it includes your alcoholic beverages, you will have to pay for them separately. Most cruise lines offer separate drink packages that can help you save money and stay on budget.
Access to wifi or a cellular data package can get pricey. It is not included in your trip, so be aware of this hidden cost before setting sail. Get ready to unplug from reality, or be sure to budget for the added expense.
Finding the Best Cruise Deal
After doing initial research, take some of the following tips into consideration to enjoy additional savings:
If you book your cruise several months in advance, you will be able to take advantage of some of the best rates available. Cruise lines will raise their prices as the departure date approaches and the cabin availability begins to become scarce. (Note: make sure this tactic is in line with the flights you will have to purchase as well.)
Book last minute
In some cases, people will miss their date for the cruise payment deadline making their cabin available at a discounted rate. This strategy is best for those with a flexible schedule and the ability to plan last minute.
Some cruise lines will reposition their departure and destination points to follow the more favorable climate conditions. They will offer these packages for significantly less, which makes them a great option for a cheap cruise. You get better weather conditions and a better price.
Use a cruise booking site
A cruise booking site is a very handy tool to have, especially if you are trying to snag a great deal. These sites allow you filter out the destinations and cruise lines you are most interested in and show you prices and availability. Sites like DestyDo give you the options and information you need to select a cruise that matches your interests and helps you stay on budget.
Avoid peak dates
Cruise lines charge the most during holidays and peak travel season, also known as Wave Season. Try cruising in the off season to get the lowest rates. To find out when the best time to travel is, check out prices at different times of the year by filtering through a cruise site or app.
Cabin selection is a major factor in the price of a cruise. The cabins located at the bottom of the ship, and located near activities are the least expensive. For example, cabins with a balcony are going to cost more and will likely fill up first.
Some cruise lines may offer customers a guaranteed fare. If you opt for this deal, the cruise line picks the cabin for you and you don’t have a choice if you don’t like their selection. Be prepared to get the most unfavorable cabin, but on the same note, the cruise line may upgrade you if there is an availability for a better cabin.
Keep this information in mind before making your cruise selection to help you stay on budget and enjoy your cruise experience to the fullest! And remember – you’ve earned it.