Imagine a vacation where you can visit different destinations, while your fare covers lodging, dining, and some fruity drinks. The best part? You only need to unpack once.
These are the perks of a cruise vacation deal.
Cruises can be an excellent option if you want to experience a different kind of vacation. But to get an excellent deal, you need to know what to look for.
How to Look for a Great Cruise Deal
One thing to consider is your budget. Luckily, you can book budget-friendly cruises with short itineraries.
But paying less money doesn’t always guarantee you great value. That is why it is crucial to weigh the experience you want to get with the amount you’re willing to pay.
Do you want to experience onboard pampering? Or do you prefer to explore different ports? Would you rather pay for a stateroom and enjoy the perks of a luxurious cruise? Or would you like to stay in a spacious balcony room overlooking the ocean?
Another thing to consider when looking for a cruise deal is the timing.
Though peak season varies depending on the destination, the following are usually the most expensive time to travel:
- Christmas time
- Spring break
If you have a budget constraint, it would be best to travel outside of this season. Doing so will allow you to explore a lot of places without shelling out a hefty sum.
But off-peak season could also mean fewer voyages.
For instance, hurricane season in the Atlantic can cause a lot of cancellations. Still, it can also be a great time to find discounts on Caribbean cruises.
Additionally, many cruise lines feature deals during “wave season,” which is between January and March. Some cruise lines also offer more deals than others.
Usually, luxury cruise lines list their best prices ahead of time, when the itineraries are first published. Planning ahead and grabbing on these fares can save you money.
On the other hand, bargain cruise lines often have consistent deals every year, even during the busy season. This is to attract travelers to book a trip. In some cases, waiting until the last minute can score you a big discount or other promotional value on one of the more affordable cruise lines.
Caribbean Cruise Deals
When you think of a cruise, you start to think of a scene with umbrella drinks, crystal clear waters, and white sand beaches. Caribbean cruises fit this description.
The best part? Caribbean cruise deals can be one of the most affordable cruise options for travelers coming from the U.S.
Here are some Caribbean cruises that you can enjoy:
These cruise lines have a diverse itinerary. On a Caribbean cruise, you can expect to embark on shore excursions like snorkeling, sailboat outings, and sightseeing. No wonder their offerings are famous among travelers.
Popular Caribbean cruise ports include St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Grand Cayman, and San Juan in Puerto Rico.
Among the mentioned Caribbean cruises, the Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean can be expensive.
During their peak season, usually from December to mid-April, rates on these two lines range from $100 to $150 per person, per night.
But their rate can go as low as $50 per person, per night during off-peak season.
Mexico Cruise Deals
Like the Caribbean, Mexico can be an inexpensive cruise destination depending on your timing.
Popular cruise ports in Mexico include Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and Cozumel.
Carnival Cruis Line offers a wide range of itineraries. Hence, it is one of the affordable cruise deals that you can score.
Popular shore excursions in Mexico cruises include parasailing, ancient Mayan ruin tour, and beach outings. Moreover, some of the famous cruise destinations are the Gulf Coast and the Yucatan Peninsula.
As far as timing goes, you can find some of the best Mexico cruise deals between May and August. The rates can go as low as $35 per person, per night.
You may also find some price bargains between late summer and fall. But the climate can be at their hottest during this time.
Nonetheless, your destinations may be risky during the hurricane season. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons if you are booking a trip between July and October.
The Bahamas Cruise Deals
If you’re looking for a short, inexpensive getaway, a Bahamas cruise is a great choice.
These cruises often leave from Fort Lauderdale in Florida. The expedition is so short that some itineraries last for two or three nights.
This explains why cruising to the Bahamas can be an excellent weekend escapade.
Short Bahamas cruises often stop in Nassau, while more extended expeditions include stops in Key West, Florida. The itinerary can also add a stop on the cruise lines’ private islands.
Royal Caribbean open one of its newest private islands in May 2019. They house North America’s tallest water slide, a swim-up bar, and the largest freshwater pool in the Bahamas.
Other Bahamian islands and areas exclusive to cruise passengers include the following:
- Half Moon Cay by Holland America Line
- Castaway Cay by Disney Cruise Line
- Princess Cay by Princess Cruises
- Great Stirrup Cay by Norwegian Cruise Line
- Ocean Cay Marine Reserve by MSC Cruises
Beyond visits to these private islands, cruisers can enjoy excursions to nearby beaches. The itinerary also includes rum tastings, outings to duty-free shops, and more.
To get the best deal on the Bahamas cruise, consider a cruise line with plenty of sailings to the Bahamas. A great choice would be the Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Cruise Line.
Meanwhile, MSC Cruises can offer great deals on inside rooms for $75 per person, per night when you book short Bahamas sailings.
Hawaii Cruise Deals
Cruisers traveling to Hawaii should expect more extended expedition. A usual Hawaiian cruise takes one week to one month.
Travelers can leave from ports along the U.S. West Coast like San Diego and Seattle. They will also have the chance to visit beautiful islands like Maui, Oahu, and Kauai.
Some itineraries sail on to the South Pacific, featuring stops in beautiful destinations like Bora Bora and Tahiti. Popular shore excursions on Hawaiian cruises include hiking among volcanoes and waterfalls, attending luaus, snorkeling, whale watching, and more.
Take note that a Hawaiian cruise will be a pricier choice than other types of cruises.
Prices may start as low as $200 for an inside room and about $475 for a suite per person, per night. This will depend on the cruise line you choose.
A Hawaii cruise deal is at their most expensive during the winter, early spring and summer. So consider traveling in the offseason to get a better cruise deal.
Alaska Cruise Deals
Alaska is a seasonal cruising destination. This means that most sailings take place between May and September. Cruisers can choose to sail through the Inside Passage or the Gulf of Alaska.
Standard embarkation ports include Seattle in the U.S. and Vancouver in Canada. Popular cruise stops on Alaskan sailings include ports in Skagway, Sitka, and Juneau.
Alaskan cruise is different from the Caribbean or Hawaii cruises. This means you won’t get beach time. So it might be a bummer to expect a lot of basking under the sun.
Even in the summer months, Alaska’s daytime temperatures can go down to 60 degrees. Sightseeing and more adventurous excursions like whale or bear watching, dog sledding, helicopter rides, and boat tours through the fjords are some of the highlights of Alaskan cruises.
To get a deal for an Alaska cruise, consider sailing at the beginning or end of the season instead of peak time.
For example, voyages in May and September are inexpensive options than sailing in July or August.
Moreover, Holland America is considered one of the more affordable cruise lines for Alaskan sailings. Their inside rooms cost about $100 to $200 per person, per night during the shoulder seasons.
Europe Cruise Deal
While European cruises can be expensive, there are still ways to get a good deal and find a journey for a good value. These are usually one-week cruises that allow you to visit many destinations in one trip.
Popular Mediterranean cruise itineraries include stops throughout Italy, Greece, and Croatia. On the other hand, Baltic sailings often visit ports in Sweden, Russia, Denmark, and Norway.
Shore excursions in these places vary depending on destination.
Travelers can tour major architectural sites like the Royal Palace in Stockholm or the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. They can also take the gondola rides in Venice, Italy. If you’d like to savor local food on a culinary tour, you can find it in Barcelona, Spain.
Most European cities are packed with things to do. So you can opt to explore the ports on your own instead of saving some money.
You’ll find the best Mediterranean cruise deals in the early spring and late fall, before the peak season sets in.
Though not all budget cruise lines make a voyage throughout the Mediterranean, searching for itineraries on larger ships with budget-friendly inside staterooms can make it cheaper.
For example, Celebrity Cruises carry around 3,000 passengers. They also offer Mediterranean sailings for as low as $150 per person, per night.
Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises offers comparable itineraries for as low as $100 per person, per night. As for high-end cruises like Viking Ocean Cruises, it starts at $400 per person, per night.
When it comes to sailing in the Baltic sea, you can expect budget-friendly cruise lines like Carnival and Norwegian to offer inside cabins rates as low as $100 per person, per night. Fares on luxury lines like Seabourn Cruise Line and Silversea Cruises usually begin around $600 for balcony rooms or suites.
The most affordable time to sail the Baltic Sea, regardless of the cruise line, is during fall and early spring.
When considering a cheap cruise deal, you should think about what you’re getting for the price you are paying.
For example, you can compare prices between a five-night itinerary onboard a new and plush vessel and a seven-day cruise on an older ship.
You may go for a shorter vacation to get a more luxurious experience. But if saving money is a more significant concern you can opt for a less expensive cruise.
To save extra money, look for cruise promotions and discounts. Another money-saving tip to keep in mind is to include your flights and hotel stays in your fare whenever possible.