How to Get a Discounted Cruise

Want to hit the open sea without taking a massive hit to your wallet? Cruising with style on a budget is possible, as long as you know how.


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    Choose the dates for your cruise vacation - dates in the "off-season" will be less expensive than the "peak season". If you can schedule your time even a few weeks before or after the peak season you'll save substantially. For example, the peak season for Alaska Cruises are during the summer months of June and July. If you can sail before or after those dates you'll save.
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    Decide which cruise line you want to sail on. Do a little homework and check out the amenities on each vessel to make sure it meets your expectations. Large ships have more features for time when you're on-board, but the small cruise ships can get closer to wildlife and the glaciers, and can go to ports where the large ships cannot.
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    Be wary of advertised specials such as "Discount Luxury Cruise, $599 per person double." These advertisements are usually for the smallest interior cabins on off-season sailings, and do not include port fees, taxes, and the fuel surcharge.
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    Get a cruise quote that includes port fees, taxes and fuel surcharge. If the agency is unable to give that information to you then find another agency. Your interest should be the bottom line, the total cost with NO Hidden Fees. These costs can run several hundred dollars per passenger, just be aware.
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    Keep in mind that, unless you plan on spending a lot of time in your cabin, it's better to get an inside cabin. An inside cabin, without a window, is by far the cheapest. The drawback to an inside cabin is that you'll never know what time of day it is since no "daylight" comes into your room. Make sure you have a clock.
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    Note that cabin rates are typically based on two person occupancy. In other words, the first two people in the cabin will pay the full-fare, additional people will pay less.
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    Remember that cruise/travel insurance is often recommended by an agency when booking your cruise. Don't purchase cruise insurance from the cruise line; get a separate policy. You'll not only save money but you'll probably have better coverage too. Insurance includes trip cancellation for covered reasons, travel delays, medical expenses and lost or delayed luggage.
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    Understand that cruising with a group does not always save you money on your cruise. Some cruise lines offer a small discount (about 5%) for a group; sometimes you can also get extra amenities like on-board credits. But some cruise lines do not provide anything additional for a group.
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    Check out your Sunday paper's travel section for some ideas of what the pricing is like for the different cruise lines.


  • The average cruise fare for a 7-day cruise depends on the destination, the season and the cruise line. Some cruises to the Caribbean start at less than $500 plus taxes and fees for 7-nights.
  • Many cruise lines offer military discounts, and discounts for teachers, fire fighters and police officers.
  • Some companies charge a documentation or delivery fee for sending the cruise documents to you, or processing your order. Be sure to ask about all the charges before making the reservation.
  • Gratuities (tips) are rarely included in the cruise fare. Some cruise lines automatically charge gratuities to your on-board account; others give you envelopes for the money the night before you leave the ship.
  • Rather than price several cruises through several agencies or cruise lines, focus on the one that appeals to you more. This will help you avoid frustration and prevent you from having one long list of numbers and no idea what they mean.
  • Rather than call a hundred agencies or look at a thousand web pages for the best rate, call one or two companies you trust, or maybe compare the cruise line to your travel/resort company and go from there.
  • Pricing for a cruise can be frustrating. Rather than shop simply by price, start with a destination where you'd like to go and pick a specific sailing with a specific cruise line, then start pricing for that cruise. If the destination appeals to you you will be happier to spend a higher amount than a destination that is not as attractive anyway. A "low price" cruise does not always mean it is the best for you.


  • Cruise lines issue their sailing schedules over a year in advance. Popular cruises, especially those during holidays, school vacations and the summer, sell out quickly -- and the cruise fares rarely go on sale. The farther out you book a cruise, the better the price you will get. The closer it gets to sailing date the higher the price may be. Consumers are often fooled by "last-minute deals" but in actuality, the "last-minute" deal price is still higher than the rate you would have paid if you booked a year and a half ago.
  • It never pays to put off booking in the hope you might get a lower rate down the road for the same reason - the closer to sail date, the higher the price can go and there are fewer choices of cabins. Besides, the best time to book is when you know you want to go.

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Categories: Reduce Travel Cost | Travel Cruises