Is there a best time to book a cruise to get a good deal? This is one of the common questions cruise retailers are often asked by those looking to maximise their travel spend – and, we have the answers!
Ashkan Ghasemi, Managing Director Australia and UK for Dreamlines, which packages cruise holidays as CruiseAway and Cruise1st, says it is always best to book as soon as you know what you want to do to make sure you get the date and cabin you want.
“Last minute bookings can sometimes offer some good bargains, but not always,” Mr Ghasemi said. “To secure the right flights, itinerary and date we suggest confirming your booking as soon as possible.”
“However, if you have flexibility in regard to your destination or type of cabin, then there are often some amazing last-minute deals available to get you on board.”
Mr Ghasemi said the best deals can usually be found via online, recommending that travellers do a bit of research and compare, and don’t be afraid to ask if a dedicated cruise company can match or improve on a competitor’s quote.
Packages also offer some of the best deals you can get where your cruise, flights, accommodation and tours can be packaged together.
The ‘Wave Season’ cruise deals often start later in the year and regularly offer the best deals, but you can often find sales throughout the year.
Mr Ghasemi said offers may vary between sale periods and consist of onboard credits, discounted rates, free Wi-Fi inclusion, shore excursion credits, speciality dining and more.
“Each year, we’re seeing the cruise lines offer extra specials for sale periods including Wave Season, Cyber Monday, Boxing Day and others,” he said.
What is included in the cost of a cruise?
All cruise lines will offer meals and entertainment onboard as well as non-alcoholic beverages.
Drinks, speciality coffees, and shore excursions are not generally included, however they can be purchased either at time of booking or onboard. Some cruise lines do, however, offer an ‘all-inclusive’ experience at a premium price.
Entertainment options are wide and varied and range from live music to Broadway-style shows, trivia, crochet classes, and everything in between.
What sort of discounts can you expect?
Mr Ghasemi said discounts can vary and it pays to forge a relationship with your cruise agent.
“For a cruise-only booking, you can find up to 15 per cent discounts in a sale or if it’s an exclusive package deal, you can expect up to and even more than 50 per cent versus packaging a cruise holiday yourself, which may take hours online,” he said.
“[Online platforms] like CruiseAway and Cruise1st work closely with the cruise lines and other operators including airlines to source the best rates possible.”