How To Get A Cheap Cruise This Spring

How To Get A Cheap Cruise This Spring
Cruises can be a great vacation value, especially when compared with similarly inclusive land-based vacations. Strong demand for cruise vacations has caused prices to go up significantly over the last year, but don’t despair. There are still some great ways to save money and get a fantastic cruise vacation deal.

It’s often wise to travel during the cruise industry’s shoulder seasons to get the lowest fares. The best deals typically are offered during spring weeks in late April and May and during select periods during the fall months. Sometimes, even being flexible by a week can save big bucks.

If you're looking for ways to save on your cruise, here are ten tips for scoring a great cruise deal this spring:

1. Steer Away From The Newest Ships.
While recently launched ships are exciting and offer the latest onboard attractions, they also generally command the highest cruise fares. Older ships offer better budget-friendly options, and the savings can be higher for similar itineraries as well.

2. Be Flexible With Your Cruise Choices And Dates.
Being willing to try something new or different can result in a great bargain. Instead of being fixated on a specific cruise line, ship or itinerary, consider all available options within your budget range. Then, decide whether the savings are truly worth the trade-offs. Flexibility with your sailing dates can be helpful as well.

3. Consider Seasonal Itineraries And Repositioning Cruises.
Spring is an ideal time to get a cheap cruise deal on repositioning sailings and voyages to popular destinations outside of their prime season. Late April through mid-June are great months for low-cost cruises to Alaska. Some European cruises can be well-priced during the spring as well. Fares are significantly lower than those offered for summer sailings, and the destinations are also less likely to be crowded. The weather may not be as good as during peak season, though.

Spring is also an ideal time to snap up great deals and low fares on one-way repositioning cruises. These sea day-heavy sailings offer lots of time to enjoy the ship’s amenities, and prices on these itineraries tend to have some of lowest fares and best deals on the market.

4. Use A Top-Notch Travel Advisor.
Great cruise travel agents have access to deals and promotions that may not be available to the public and can save you time and money. Travel agents can also be outstanding sources of information when comparing cruise lines and ships. Look for an agent with membership in the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) and/or Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). In addition, if you are set on a specific cruise line, look for an agent who has preferred status with that line. You might receive special discounts and added perks.

Online cruise travel agencies such as,, and can be good resources. Another excellent option is This free service allows vacationers to request competitive cruise quotes anonymously from leading travel advisors. All customer account information remains private, and there’s no obligation to purchase. It's up to you to contact agents if you are interested in their bid.

5. Ask About Discounts.
Cruise lines regularly provide a wide variety of discounts for potential guests, including military discounts, senior fares, group travel discounts, past passenger specials, state or regional resident discounts, air gateway discounts, 2-for-1 specials, cruise line stockholder discounts, membership deals, past guest savings offers and more. This is one of the many reasons for working with a good cruise travel advisor. Make sure to inform your travel agent about past cruises and military or stockholder status, if any.

6. Look For Added Value.
Ask the cruise line or your travel agent about packages and potential "soft sailing" upgrades. Onboard credits are often offered on these sailings, providing a set amount in your shipboard account to use for shore excursion purchases, spa treatments, drinks, specialty restaurant charges, and other times. Other bundled packages and added value deals can include free gratuities, free shore excursions, complimentary Internet packages, free beverage packages, free specialty dining packages, and other incentives. Free cruise fares for third and fourth guests sailing in the same stateroom may be available on some cruise lines.

Cruise lines also sometimes offer guaranteed upgrades at time of booking to stimulate sales. These upgrades allow you to purchase a cheaper stateroom with a guaranteed upgrade of one to five categories, depending upon the promotion. “Guarantee cabins” provide another opportunity for a free upgrade. Only book this type of cabin if you will be happy with the stateroom category you've purchased as well as any potential cabin in that category.

7. Think About Driving To Your Cruise.
Transportation costs can account for a large percentage of cruise vacation costs. If possible, consider driving to your cruise and focus your search on ships departing from convenient embarkation ports. Cruise lines offer sailings from a wide variety of U.S. ports, including Boston, MA; New York, NY; Bayonne, NJ; Norfolk, VA; Charleston, SC; Jacksonville, FL; Port Canaveral, FL; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Miami, FL; Tampa, FL; New Orleans, LA; Galveston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; San Diego, CA and other areas. Parking is generally available near all of the cruise terminals.

8. Cruise With A Group.
Traveling with friends and family can help save big. Significantly lower cruise rates are generally available for group bookings of eight cabins or more. This can often be achieved by traveling with friends and family. It’s also easy to do if you can arrange to travel with members of your kids’ sports teams, a local club, or another affinity group. If you don’t have a group, contact cruise travel advisors to see if they have a booking group that you can join.

9. Follow Cruise Lines And Others for Travel Savings.
Many top cruise lines post their deals on social media as soon as they are available. Some even give their social media followers advance notice of upcoming special offers. Make sure to follow your favorite cruise lines and leading cruise travel agencies on social media and watch for deals. It’s also wise to sign up for their e-newsletters to receive information on cheap cruise deals and promotions. Club and group memberships can be another good source of travel savings.

10. Be Prepared To Make Decisions Quickly.
Great cruise deals can be snapped up fast, so know what you want and be prepared to move swiftly. This is particularly true if you’re set on a specific sailing or have specific needs, such as a family-friendly stateroom. Once you’ve booked your cruise, continue to monitor the price of your cruise and contact the cruise line immediately if the price drops. You may be able to get the lower fare or be compensated with shipboard credit. If you’ve booked through a travel advisor, they can monitor cruise fares and request the lower rate for you.

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