More than 20 million people cruised the world in 2012, contributing $37.85 billion to the U.S. economy alone, according to the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association. The price tag for a cruise can range from a few hundred dollars for a two-person cabin (as low as $50-75 per person per day) for an itinerary of a few days to thousands of dollars for a top-of-the-line luxury voyage. If you want to sail on board a ship for your next vacation, we have some examples of cost-effective cruises and tips on choosing one. You may also want to read our blog post Frequent Cruisers Tell Why Cruising is the Best Vacation Value. We recommend you contact our agency as well for our expertise in creating your lifetime memories cruise. We will have your back every step of the way!
Most cruises are not exuberantly expensive or even out of reach. Newly christened ships with live entertainment tend to book fast and early, so look for cruises that have been sailing for awhile or from destinations that don’t require as much planning. An exotic Asian cruise probably requires booking up to a year out, while booking a Caribbean cruise can be done nearly last-minute.
Booking well ahead of time can mean the difference between saving hundreds or winding up with a last-minute fare. “Wave season” represents the cruise industry busy booking periods of January through March, where deals are offered as much as a year or more out. Set up a Google alert with relevant information like “cruise sale to Spain” or CruiseCritic.com alert. Whenever a cruise special goes live on the Web, it will pop up in your inbox.
Shoulder season (or low season) represents lower travel demand with a price tag to match. The industry has changed over the years — summer was once low season for taking a cruise, but now more families cruise during summer months to accommodate school vacations.
For cheaper deals, look for cruises departing North America and Europe during fall or spring. Australia’s fall to winter stretches from about May to September. Weather is still relatively mild, but cruisers can enjoy deeper discounts than during its high season in November to March. Caribbean cruises may be cheaper during early spring and fall, but it can also coincide with hurricane season. Travel insurance options cover possible hurricanes and inclement weather threats.
Find Creative Financing
When booking a cruise, only a relatively small deposit is required depending on the length of the cruise, giving you ample time to pay the balance (usually not due until 2-3 months prior to sailing). If you book your air to the embarkation port through the cruise line, this will also not be due until final payment. Other ways you can come up with the money to pay for your trip:
- Plan and book a year out and earmark your next tax return for your trip
- Pick up odd jobs or a second job
- Consider accepting a no-interest credit card to pay for the cruise, and then pay it off before you set sail
- Put a specific amount aside from your paycheck each time to a savings account or make direct payments to your travel agent or consultant
Work on a Ship
While long-term cruise ship jobs for entertainers and laborers are available, you can also teach on board for shorter stints. Although professional teaching experience helps, cruise ships also accept experts in their field from business to art. Lecturers typically receive free cabin and meals, but not much else. Visit the “Careers” section on the websites of the various cruise lines to see what’s available.
As you can see everyone can afford to cruise, and in fact cruising is actually more cost-effective than staying at one destination or even taking a road trip on the continent. We can usually book a common itinerary on a large cruise line (Carnival, Royal Caribbean or Norwegian) in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean for as low as $60-$100 per day. We do recommend you use a travel agency such as Getaway Dreams Come True as you may also save more through our host agency Cruises & Tours Unlimited since we are privy to additional prices not necessarily advertised and even offer group fares in some instances. Booking online directly does not allow you to partake of our value, nor do you have our expertise in matching your wishes to your lifetime memories cruise. You may wish to view our related blog posts listed below: