*Guest-contribution: Feathered post provided by J.Wilson Ong.
Image by El Coleccionista de Instant used under the Creative Commons License.
Cruises offer the perfect balance of adventure and relaxation. When you set off on these waterborne trips with your family in tow, you can explore a range of beautiful and exotic destinations without having the hassle and stress of planning each stage of the holiday yourself. It’s true that if you’re not careful, you can end up spending a small fortune on these vacations, but by following these five simple tips, you should be able to enjoy a cruise without splashing too much cash.
1) Keep a lookout for deals
Firstly, make sure you scour the market for the best deals. As long as you know where to look, you should be able to find plenty of impressive offers. Some cruise lines seem to run promotions almost every week and bargains are especially easy to find at the start of the year between January and March. Check the web and sign up to email newsletters to make sure you’re always in the loop. If you’re flexible about where you’re going, it’s usually possible to find some good value last-minute deals. On the other hand, if you have specific destinations or dates in mind, you’re probably best off booking early. This way, you’ll be able to access the early-bird savings.
2) Sail in the shoulder seasons
Another top money saving tip is to sail during the shoulder seasons. This will give you access to off-peak prices. For example, if you’re planning a trip to the Caribbean, consider going in April or May, or between September and early January, avoiding holiday weeks. Meanwhile, the cheapest cruises around the Mediterranean can be found between October and April.
3) Consider an inside cabin
OK, so ocean vistas from the comfort of your cabin might be an appealing prospect, but they also come with a price tag. To keep your spending in check, it’s worth considering an inside cabin without windows. You might be lucky enough to get a free upgrade if you book these rooms early too. However, bear in mind these cabins may not be suitable if you or your family suffer from sea sickness.
4) Plan your own excursions
You’ll be offered plenty of excursions by your cruise provider, but to save money, it’s best to arrange your own on-shore activities. To do this, spend time researching the relevant ports before you set off on your holiday. Just make sure that any itineraries you plan are safe and can be completed within the allotted timeframes.
5) Watch out for hidden costs
Also, don’t assume that all of your onboard refreshments and activities are free. Read up on what’s included as part of your package before you set off so you know what to expect. Freebies might include anything from live music to movie theaters, but you’ll almost certainly be expected to pay for things like spa services.