How to find the best cruise deals

Finding cruise deals is not as simple as it was decades ago. Back then, you only have to go to your travel agent and book it. Nowadays, you have to sift through a lot of information and find out the best cruise deals that are on offer for your money. You don't want to miss a potential money saver that could pay for a cabin upgrade or a few drinks onboard. But how do you know how to get the best cruise deals?

Tips to snag the best offer

1. Know when prices are going down

Discounts on cruises might be announced anytime. However, statistics show that enticing offers come out during the winter period in the Western hemisphere when people are more likely to seek an escapade from a cold or harsh winter. This means that between January to March or the low season, you are likely to find hot cruise deals.

2. Check cruise liner websites

The websites of cruise liners offer official information on what type of cruises are on offer, their indicative prices, and all sorts of information. You can even sign up for email alerts and newsletters. Be one of the first ones to know when there are exciting offers. Try to use the live chat functions of sites (if available) and ask for more information.

3. Check travel agency websites

If there are rebates on cruises, travel agencies are usually the first to know as they are working closely with the cruise company. Although each agency works on quotas, it helps to check their websites regularly to know when cruises are going on sale.

4. Make a price comparison chart

Once you have gathered the necessary prices or travel quotes for your cruise, set up a small chart for comparison purposes. Check where your priorities lie. For example, it might be more important for you to get a cabin upgrade in exchange for a convenient port of embarkation. Or for an extra cost, you get a day's worth of free tours but don't want these.

5. Don't be afraid to ask questions

If there is something unclear, ask questions. Look at the fine print of the offer before concluding that it is the best deal you can find.

Do your maths. Check whether taxes, service fees, and insurance are part of the package. Don't be lured by tempting offers or seemingly low prices without getting a confirmation on paper that these are the real prices.

6. Listen to feedback and read reviews

Better still, talk to someone who has been on the cruise already. There is nothing like a first hand recount from somebody who has gone through it. Check forums for some independent and unbiased answers and clarifications.

Foresee the unforeseen

Before you hit the book or pay button, verify the cancellation policies. Although you might be looking forward to these cruise deals of a lifetime and are sure to go, there might be unforeseen circumstances such getting ill or family emergencies on the day of your departure. Don't forget to take a travel insurance to protect yourself from cancellation penalties or losing the entire trip.

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