Saving Money on a Cruise
By Keith V. Hoyng
For many people, a cruise ship can be the ultimate budget travel destination. A cruise provides a great, one price, vacation, and one of the main attractions to booking a cruise is that just about everything is included in the price. As a matter of fact, in some cases the daily cost of a cruise can be less than the daily cost of a decent hotel room. When you consider that the price of the cruise includes not only the room, but all the food and entertainment as well, it is easy to see why cruises are so popular with budget minded travelers.
Of course, there are some things that are typically not included in a cruise package, and it is important to find out what is included and what will need to be paid for as an extra. For instance, most cruises do not include alcohol, and require passengers to pay their bar tab upon departure. In addition, most shore excursions and local sightseeing is not included, so it is important to get a detailed list of such excursions, including the price.
In addition, since advertised cruise prices are based on double occupancy, cruises are often less of a deal for solo travelers, since the single supplements can add quite a bit to the price of the cruise. It is always a good idea to inquire about special single rates if you are traveling alone.
The location of the cabin is another important consideration when booking a cruise. The interior cabins on the lower parts of the ship are generally the least costly, while the higher, larger cabins with ocean views are the most expensive. If you have never taken a cruise before, it is a good idea to get advice from those who have experienced cruising. These people can provide valuable insight on the best balance of cost and comfort for your first cruise experience.
As with other kinds of travel, getting the best deal on a cruise will take some time, some planning, some perseverance and plenty of shopping around. It is a good idea to shop as early as possible, particularly for popular destinations like the Caribbean or Mexico in the high season.
Of course, it is possible to save money by traveling in the off season, and this can often be a great strategy. For instance, even though it is the middle of the winter and most people are not thinking about vacations where you are, it may be warm and inviting in many tropical cruise destinations. It is important, however to check out the local weather, and to avoid the rainy season in the destinations you are considering. Steering clear of hurricanes, tropical downpours and other weather problems can help you get the most out of your cruise.
It is not always necessary to shop early, of course. Cruise lines have been know to offer some spectacular discounts at the last minute in order to move unsold cabins or avoid leaving with a less than full passenger load. There are many last minute travel newsletters that provide details on these types of cruise deals, and these last minute travel deals are a big hit with retirees and others with the time to see the world.
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