Taking a vacation is a great way to unwind and recharge, but finding a vacation opportunity that offers the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure can seem problematic. In addition, the often unexpected costs of travel can keep many would-be vacationers firmly planted at home base.
For these and many other reasons, cruises have become a popular alternative for families, couples, and singles – and even seniors – seeking to enjoy an exciting and rejuvenating vacation, all while remaining on a budget.
Offering both onboard and shore opportunities for fun and adventure, cruises have become more and more popular in recent years, as ships have increased their onboard amenities and ventured into new waters – literally – to increase the opportunity for destination travel adventure. As a result, travelers of all ages are flocking to cruise ships and all of the vacation fun they can offer.
In addition to a wealth of opportunity for excitement and relaxation, cruises satisfy that all-encompassing need of nearly every vacationer: staying within a budget.
Cruise lines want to take the hassle out of vacations by offering inclusive and nearly inclusive deals that cover the costs of most of the onboard amenities, including meals and many activities, and offer deals on excursions and other types of entertainment that can keep you and your wallet happy. To get the most from your cruise dollar, consider the following list of tips.
Remember that old saying, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail? Well, when it comes to cruising at the lowest cost, that saying is especially true. The earlier you begin planning your trip, the lower your costs can be. The first step in planning is locating a reputable travel agency that understands cruises and can seek out and locate deals and discounts that can keep your budget in check. Take your time to choose an agency that ahs experience in booking cruise vacations to increase your chances of getting the best value for your vacation dollar.
Ask about group discounts.If you’re planning on taking a cruise for a wedding, reunion, or other large group event, many cruise lines offer discounted fees for large groups. Your travel agent will be able to help you identify these potential opportunities for savings.
Ask about other types of package deals. Some cruises may offer specials that include free or discounted airfare to or from your embarkation point, while others may offer free or reduced hotel accommodations before or after your cruise. In addition, many cruises offer deals or discounts on shore excursions, so be sure to ask your agent about those, as well.
Don’t forget meals. Some cruises have specific meal times, while others allow all-day grazing. Most family-oriented cruise lines are in the latter group, recognizing that kids don’t always get hungry at predictable times. Be sure to ask if unlimited snacks and drinks are included in the price, and if not, ask if the cruise line offers a snack or soda package deal, which allows unlimited snacking or soda purchases for a set price per day. These packages can add up to big savings over the cost of buying individual snack foods or drinks.
Look for discounts on third or fourth members of your party. Most cruise lines offer rooms that can accommodate up to four people. Because many rooms are booked by couples, these lines may offer discounts on third or fourth passengers staying in the same room. Especially if you’re traveling with family or close friends, this can be an excellent way to split costs.
Plan ahead for excursions. Most popular shore trips fill up early, so try to book your spot as soon as possible. Most excursions also offer a 24-hour cancellation option, in case you change your mind once onboard.
Sometimes you have to spend money to save money. Trip insurance is a good example. Although it is an additional cost, considering that you could lose the entire cost of your cruise if you have to cancel, trip insurance can be a good investment – especially if you book far in advance.
If you have a flexible schedule, ask your travel agent about stand-by deals. When cruises don’t fully book, they may offer available rooms at steep discounts close to the embarkation date. Because you need to be ready to go at a moment’s notice, these deals are not for everyone.
Cruises can offer most individuals a great vacation for a reduced cost over land vacations. Take your time to plan your cruise carefully and work with a reputable travel agent to make sure you get the best deal you can afford.