Finding and buying dirt- cheap mini cruises deals for a chosen destination seems a task for professionals but we too can find the same deals with few tricks. Some people new to cruising think that as cruising is a luxury mode of touring so doing bargaining would be against ethics. It is just a misconception. As a regular cruise tour buyer, I always do bargaining to get the best deal. Good cruise deals may not be competitive in prices but these deliver more with better standards. It is understood that travel agents know better about such deals but there is no secret. Everything is online and because of tough competition, cruise lines do not take risk of losing any potential buyer. Still if we follow right process for analyzing available options, comparing all the shortlisted cruise deals and buying the best one, we can save considerably.
Generally, cruise lines introduce best of year offers in or around January – February. This period is known as “Wave Season”. During this period, most of cruise lines impress the buyers by offering reduced airfares, free upgrades and discounted voyage fares. Besides depending upon the discounts and promotional cruise deals, there are many ways to make the offers further better.
* Book Early Your Mini Cruises
Travel agents tell two reasons for making early advance booking: availability and price. Most of agents agree that early bookings come with better price. The prices go up as the sailing date comes closer. Even the luxury lines also follow the same practice. If you are planning for cruising in near future, book your tour now as the rates are expected to be revised within quarter of year. Some lines release special promo cruise deals like 2-for-1 fare, discounts and free airfare early and pull off these attractions as the last time booking escalates. Experienced voyagers say that if we book latter we may not get the spaces and other facilities as per our personal likings. If a ship line introduces extra discounts for same trip because of business reasons after the early bookings, the difference is adjusted. The best booking period for prime time cruising is about 6-12 months.
Old tradition of negotiating for a great deal at the sailing day is no more viable. New government regulations have made it mandatory for cruise lines to provide complete information about all the passenger information in advance. Cruise lines have common understanding that if they give last minute discounts to occupy vacant spaces, people would not book in advance. Therefore, many lines prefer to bear loss of empty spaces rather than to last minute heavy discounts.
Getting good cruise deals also depends upon the perfect match of destination and time of year. For Europe, the period starting from late March to April and from September to late November is a soft period; similarly, May and September months are considered best cruising period to explore Alaska. Every line has special advantages for one or two destinations so select the right line. Cruise deals for new ships are generally costlier but cruisers get unique experience of using advanced facilities.
I always fix my budget and then start exploring all the viable options one by one but never cross permissible financial limits.