• Wave Season

    2013-01-23

    Finding Your Best Cruise Values

    It’s January and that means "wave season" is here, the time of year when a great number of travelers book a cruise vacation. Between now and the end of March, up to half of the year’s cruises will be booked, and for good reason. Some of the very best pricing, bonus offers and special values are available and cruise lines are hungry for our business. We just need to know where to look, now and later.

    Lower Prices, Down The Line
    If you’ve already booked your cruise and a better promotion becomes available, you should be able to get it if you booked the right fare code. Booking an unrestricted fare code will allow you to do this. Often, ultra-low pricing locks in a price that you may not be able to get out of without cancelling.

    Tip: When buying ask: Are there any restrictions on this fare code?

    Engage The Sales
    Good cruise pricing comes from a variety of sources. For example, you may get an offer via postal mail. Some cruise lines do that, but others do not. That does not mean other cruise lines are not having a sale, just that they are not promoting it through different channels. Not to worry, the Internet is here to help.

    Tip: "Like" just about every cruise line you might possibly want to sail on Facebook. "Friends" of a cruise line on Facebook often get first notice of limited-time sales and other information about the cruise line.

    Don’t Be A Stranger

    Speaking of the Internet, cruise lines commonly send out a lot of information via email, so be sure not to miss out.

    Tip: Go to cruise line websites and sign up for their email newsletters. Check "yes" to allowing them to send "partner offers" which may add value to your cruise booking.

    Bonus tip: Set up an email address just for this so your regular email address does not get overloaded with (comparatively) junk mail.

    Consider Using A Pro

    While our click-to-buy world has us ordering everything from airline tickets to bed linens online, a cruise is not always the best idea for online buying. A short 3-day cruise getaway for two, bought via the Internet on a ship you have sailed before or on a cruise line you are familiar with is one thing. A 7-day Mediterranean sailing for four in two staterooms with air, pre-cruise hotel and/or other elements is quite another. For these more detailed itineraries, it is a good idea to consider consulting an experienced travel agent.

    Tip: For short cruises of 4 days or less, book online if you are comfortable doing so. For longer sailings, involve a travel agent. Their services are free of charge, and they can help you make the most of your vacation.

    A cruise is a great vacation value compared to other options like a land vacation or all-inclusive resort. By doing your research, putting some time into planning your trip and utilizing the tips above, you can make sure that you are getting the most for your money, no matter how you go about booking your next cruise.


    Chris Owen is a freelance travel writer living in Orlando, Florida charged with sharing inside information about cruise vacations. Follow Chris on his blog ChrisCruises.net or on twitter @OrlandoChris.
     



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