5 Tips to Save Money on a Cruise Vacation

Americans are working harder than ever to make it these days, so a vacation has to be worth it both for the experience and for the money. Subsequently more and more people are turning to cruises for their getaways. The number of people who have cruised since 1990 has grown roughly 7 percent each year, according to Cruise Lines International Association. There is a reason for all this growth, cruising is the most affordable way to see the world, especially for Americans. Ships are stationed in ports all around the country eliminating the need to fly to a ship, so you can cruise from New York, New Orleans or from Seattle for instance.

Compared to land-based vacations, cruises will always be a better deal. For example, a 7-night Mediterranean cruise at $100 a night is much more affordable than how much it would cost to stay in a hotel, eat at restaurants and take public transportation around a European metropolis, plus your accommodations and entertainment options are much better and already included in the cruise price.

But before you go and book a cruise here are a few insider tips about how to save some more on your next cruise.

1. Go All-Inclusive – Every cruise line offers you a stateroom, all your meals and entertainment with your cruise fare, but certain things like soda, alcoholic beverages and shore excursions can be considered add-ons. There are, however, cruise lines that include all of those extra items into their fares. If you plan on indulging in those items an all-inclusive line will work out to your advantage.

2. Sail on the Shoulder – You know how economics work, when there is demand the price goes up. So in cruising each destination has a peak season. For instance, cruise lines only sail to Alaska between May and September, so if you sail in July, expect to pay top dollar, but if you wait until September you’ll most likely get a deal.

3. Get Insurance – Nothing will make your trip more expensive then if you miss a port, get sick or wind up having a family emergency during your trip and having to cancel. That is, unless you protect yourself and purchase insurance. Don’t risk the unknown, cover yourself with insurance.

4. Book Early – Many people wait to the last minute to find that great cruise deal, but I can tell you those deals are few and far between. The real best time to book is a year or more ahead of the cruise. The ship offers low prices to entice cruisers and usually raises the price as the demand grows. Another bonus to booking early is having your choice of cabin, so you won’t get stuck with a cabin under the dance floor.

5. Use A Travel Agent – The best way to save money is by using a travel agent, preferably one that has experience in cruises. Travel agents know all the tips above and can help you find a ship and itinerary that will match your expectations to ensure you have a great vacation. A travel agent can also work with the cruise lines to get you extra onboard credit or upgrades, and of course a travel agent is there to answer all your questions.

Now that we’ve reviewed the major tips for saving on your next cruise, it’s time to start planning. Now is the perfect time to plan a cruise for late in 2013 or early 2014.

This is a guest article by Karolina Shenton of The Cruise Web. The Cruise Web is a travel agency that specializes in cruising. The expert cruise consultants focus on providing travelers with the best value for their time and money in finding and booking a cruise vacation!