There are more cruise ship companies than ever before. Options abound, and knowing how and where to search for a great deal deal can ensure you find a holiday option at the right price. Whether you are a novice voyager or seasoned traveller, there are tried and true methods of searching for cruise deals, but don’t discount the impact of new technologies in broadening your horizons. Travel agents remain a popular choice for discovering cruise options, but when used in tandem with a variety of strategies you are assured of finding the best possible price. Here are a few methods, both new and old, used by today’s travel experts in sourcing a bargain cruise.
Bring your friends or family
Many cruise lines offer free berths for customers who book bulk deals. Small ships and luxury lines will often add a free berth for groups of ten or more. As the trip coordinator you may choose to share the savings amongst your tour group, or use the financial bonus for onboard fun. Some companies also throw in added incentives for group bookings such as free photos, select group excursions or onboard credit.
Shoulder season savings
A guaranteed way to save money is to travel outside peak season dates. An added benefit is encountering fewer crowds at your port destinations. Avoiding holiday seasons will facilitate lower prices and the opportunity to capture the true essence of your destination without the frenetic hustle and bustle that accompanies Christmas, Easter and school vacation times.
Last minute bargains
If you have the opportunity to be flexible and spontaneous, last minute booking can amount to big savings. Cruise lines generally accept full deposits within 90 days of departure, meaning that cancellations at this time will result in companies needing to fill cabins. Hard to fill shoulder season and repositioning cruises are often dramatically reduced for customers willing to negotiate cabin locations and dinner seating preferences.
Passenger loyalty discounts
Brand loyalty is important to any business, and cruise lines are no exception. Remaining faithful to a cruise line can result in many perks, including free cocktails, special spa access, alternative dinner options and more. You will also be one of the first notified regarding future discounted sailings and upcoming bargains.
Tweet your trip
Twitter is the micro-blogging site that allows 140 character promotion of bargains. Major cruise companies are onboard and tweeting their latest offers, and there is even the option to customise your list of deal tweeters so you are always among the first to know about special deals.
Receive deals online or by phone
Cruise lines and travel agents use email updates encouraging potential customers to take advantage of deals. Some sales windows of opportunity last for only one day, meaning that instant communication will position you ahead of competing customers. Dedicated bargain hunters set up a separate email account for cruise deals and other discount offers. Cruise companies may also send deals directly to your phone via text messaging.
The competitive cruise marketplace means there are great deals to be found. By implementing a range of strategies you can be up to date with any bargains and ready to plan ahead for your next voyage.
featured image by Raging Wire