April 25, 2024
Money

Here are 5 tips to save you money on your next cruise vacation – NBC 6 South Florida


Florida is the cruise capital of the world and if you are planning a cruise vacation, you may have noticed some pretty lucrative deals online.

This is because right now, we are in the peak of wave season.

Wave season stretches from January to March, and is a period when cruise lines run their best deals to give travelers a jump on their vacation plans.

 It’s also a good time to find booking promotions, like free upgrades, prepaid gratuities, or onboard spending money.

The COVID-19 pandemic sent the cruise industry into a 15-month shutdown, but in the last few years it has gradually recovered with ships fully back in business.

“It is incredible to see how the industry has rebounded since the pandemic,” said Editor-in-Chief of CruiseCritic.com, Colleen McDaniel. “We are seeing more people cruising now than we were seeing at the height of 2019, which was the height of the industry at the time. So, the numbers are there.”

Whether you’re looking for a mega cruise, like Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas, or a more luxury cruise experience that can take you to more remote parts of the world, there are endless options to choose from.

“There really is a beautiful range from the big ships that are very family-oriented to more exotic destination, smaller ships that have one-to-one guest to crew ratio and really provide an outstanding service,” said Managing Director of Scenic Group, Ken Muskat.

And thanks to the location of PortMiami and Port Everglades, many of them are right here in sunny South Florida.

So how can you ensure that you are getting the best deal on your next cruise vacation? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Work with a travel advisor

Working with a travel advisor or travel agent will, first and foremost, help you narrow down the type of vacation you are looking for.

Muskat told NBC6 that with the wealth of knowledge that travel advisors possess about every cruise ship and company on the market, using a professional to help you narrow your search is a great first step in planning your next vacation.

Book with plenty of time

Cruise experts say the best time to plan a vacation is about six to eight months in advance.

If you’re looking for a more exotic expedition cruise, Muskat suggests booking 18 months to two years in advance.

Typically, the earlier you book, the better deals you will see and you will also have more options when it comes to selecting your stateroom.

Look for all inclusive promotions

Oftentimes cruise lines will offer promotions for free drinks, wifi and land excursions that will save you money in the long haul.

Track cruise fares

There are certainly peak cruising times throughout the year, and the only way to really know the best time to book a cruise is to track fares.

Luckily, sites like Cruise Critic and Cruisewatch make the search a little bit easier and will let you know if there’s a price drop.

And don

Sign up for loyalty programs

Signing up for a cruise line’s loyalty program is a great way to save some money for future bookings.

Not only is it free to join, but you can accrue points with each trip and earn free perks as well as special cruising rates.

Bonus tip: If possible, be flexible with your cruising dates, itineraries

While wave season is often the most known period for reduction in rates, it is not the only time throughout the year you will see a drop in fares.

Cruise sales are sometimes based on what is or isn’t selling and how close the ship is to departure.

If a cruise ship is filling up fast, the cruise line has no incentive to release a sale to entice customers.

But if a cruise’s departure date is fast approaching and the ship is only partially booked, Cruise Critic says prices may drop and complimentary add-ons will likely increase to motivate some last minute passengers.



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