Find out how to spot a great cruise deal with these 7 tips.
If you’re new to cruise holidays, it can be a little confusing at first. Different cruise lines vary their terminology slightly and things like your grade of room or your onboard package can become unclear. Being unsure about these things can really affect anyone’s ability to understand whether they’re getting a great value for their money, which is why we thought we would make things easy and talk about some of the most common offers and promotions for cruise holidays and explain why they add value and who they might be most beneficial to.
So let’s jump right in…
Most cruise lines offer their passengers full board, which means that your food is included but drinks are not. Whislt there is likely to be soft drinks dispensers around the ship offering water and juice, it’s likely that you’ll want more choice of beverages – you are on holiday after all. Typically with drinks you can either purchase a drinks package (around $30 per adult per day and $6 per child per day) which includes a selection of soft drinks, juice, wine and beer or you can pay for drinks as you go and these will be charged to your stateroom account. However, when you’re offered an All Inclusive promotion, you snap it right up as this is the most sought after cruise holiday offer. On a typical 7 night sailing you can save hundreds of pounds in money you’d normally find yourself spending on drinks if they were not included.
Best for: Anyone! We all need to keep hydrated and it’s relaxing to not have to worry about the cost of a cocktail or two as you saunter over to the bar.
2. Stateroom Upgrades
Cabins on cruise ships are also known as staterooms. Typically there are four grades; Inside, Oceanview, Balcony and Suite. If you find that you spend quite a bit of time in your room whilst on holiday and you appreciate peace and quiet as well as a great view, then a Balcony cabin upgrade is the offer for you. Additionally, those who have families with young children that nap in the daytime will really be grateful for a Balcony cabin. It means that whilst the little ones are taking a nap you don’t have to miss out on the sunshine and sea views – you can instead take to your own private balcony. Balcony cabins are also a great choice for Norwegian Fjord itineraries which offer superb views throughout much of the route which you wont want to miss being in an inside cabin.
Best for: Families and people who like their space
3. Book long haul late
If you’re keeping an eye out for a cruise itinerary in the likes of Australia, Asia, Hawaii or Alaska, then you’ll often find that the price of these come down the closer to the departure date it is. Because these cruises are longer it really narrows down the pool of people who are able to secure 10+ days of time off work or away from the family last minute. Hence this is why these itineraries tend to come down in price.
Best for: Those seeking long-distance itineraries
4. Book short haul early
In contrast to long haul itineraries, those which are in the Mediterranean or the Fjords, which take less travel time from UK airports, tend to go up in price the closer to departure date. It’s best to book several months in advance to secure the best price for these destinations.
Best for: Those seeking Mediterranean or Norwegian Fjord itineraries
5. Gratuities Included
Lets face it, tipping is not as much as part of our culture in the UK as it is in countries like the US. With that being said, tipping is a part of every cruise lines culture. Most cruise lines automatically add a gratuity of around $12 per guest per day to your stateroom account, however these charges can be removed by asking Guest Services on board. Normally these tips would be shared between your room attendant and the waiter who serves you during your evening meal if you opt for a set dining time. Some people prefer to remove the charges and tip staff cash in hand as they go along or at the end of their cruise. Whilst some prefer not to tip at all. Whichever category you might fall into, it’s always nice to know that the people taking care of you on your cruise are also being taken care of, which is essentially what ‘Gratuities Included’ offers will do. It means you don’t have to worry about how much to tip someone and the best way in which to do it, making your experience worry-free. Gratuities can also add up pretty quickly, so this promotion can also end up saving you a considerable amount of money during your cruise.
Best for: Holidays on a budget
6. On board credit, Speciality Dining and Free Wi Fi
Some cruise deals offer those who book a choice of on board credit, speciality dining packages or a Wi Fi package. This allows you to choose an offer which you think you’ll get most benefit from. Those who are tempted to try the on board spa or treat themselves to a bottle of fine wine should opt for the credit, whilst foodies will relish the opportunity to sample the speciality restaurants for free. Those of us who can’t bear to be parted with our emails or social media will find most benefit from the free Wi Fi. Cruise lines like Norwegian, Carnival and Royal Caribbean frequently have offers like this so it’s definitely worth taking a look at these first. However, if on board credit particularly interests you, then take a look at our offers for Princess cruise line. They often offer guests up to $300 on board credit per stateroom for selected sailings.
Best for: Those wanting to try out the spa or speciality restaurants on board or stay connected.
7. Buy one, get one half price
This deal is exactly what it says on the tin. On select sailings, cruise lines will offer you the chance to pay full price for one person and half price for the guest staying with them. This offers significant savings and you can find yourself saving hundreds of pounds with this offer. This is a deal favoured by Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises.
Best for: Couples and groups
Just like any holiday, there is always a deal to be found depending on your flexibility. Plus, when you book with us here at Cruise Nation we add even more value to your cruise with the addition of free stays as part of our Smart Packages.
Ready to find yourself a deal? Visit our cruise deals page or if you have more questions about offers and promotions for cruise holidays, ask us in the comments below or over on Facebook or Twitter.