If you have been considering a cruise lately, now could be a great time to book. With vaccinations being rolled out nationwide, cruise companies are extremely keen to resume business. Many empty cabins need to be filled on some incredible ships, and there could be great bargains to be found if you know where to look.¹
Interested in planning a cruise but not sure where to start? Here are some quick tips to finding a cruise at an affordable price, along with some ideas for destinations that will be sure to delight.
Understanding The Cruise Industry
Cruise lines make money from passengers. This much is obvious. What is not so obvious, however, is how they make money from passengers. While the ticket itself is certainly part of the profit model, one of the big ways cruise ships make money is from the services and spending that passengers do once they are onboard.
For this reason, empty cabins are a cruise company’s worst nightmare.
For this reason they sometimes offer spectacular deals when a cruise is slated to leave soon but there are still unsold cabins. With a bevy of fun onboard activities and relaxation, cruise ships are an experience like no other, but if they aren’t full the company doesn’t make money. This can lead to discounts of up to 70 percent off.²
How To Get The Great Deals
The best way to find amazing deals on cruises is to sign up for their newsletters, check out cruise company websites, have a flexible schedule and book during shoulder season. Looking around online at the right time of year will result in some outstanding deals that you don’t want to miss. Shoulder season is the time around the busiest times of year: not high season or low season, in other words, but in-between season. The ship will be less crowded in shoulder season and weather is often just as good—or even better—as during the peak seasons. It’s a win-win.³
If you want to take a cruise but you aren’t sure where or when to go, here are several recommendations.
Bermuda is famous for its natural beauty, friendly locals and amazing weather. The most popular cruises you will find to Bermuda leave between April to November, so it is best to book in the spring or late fall instead—the shoulder season—and skip the crowds and the prices. The weather in Bermuda is generally good almost all the time anyway, so going a bit earlier in the spring or a bit later in the fall will not ruin your cruise.⁴
Alaska only has one quarter of the year during which most of its cruises are operating: June to August each summer. This is the hottest time of the year in Alaska so there are a lot of tourists. However, there are still some cruises that leave outside this time frame. These cruises often have much better prices and less crowds. Going on an Alaskan cruise just after the summer is a great idea – there might be some rain, but the weather isn’t too extreme. April and May are also worthy times to consider. The weather is a bit cold and dry, but there are some nice pockets of sunshine.⁵
The best deals on Caribbean cruises are in early spring and early December. This dodges the peak season which runs from mid-December until April, so you’re likely to find much better pricing. There are cruises all year throughout the Caribbean, of course, since it is one of the most popular cruise areas in the world. But knowing when to buy can save you a bundle. The tip top deals are during the hurricane season, but this can be a bit of a risk and if you do buy at this time make sure to get insurance.⁶
There are many scenic and wonderful cruises around Europe. From Croatia to Montenegro and Lithuania to Athens to Spain, there is something for everyone in the rich cultures and diverse landscapes of Europe. Cruises around the Mediterranean Sea are busiest from April to November—with a month longer on either side further south in Greece, Turkey and those regions. The Baltic region is usually busiest from May to November. You are best off looking for tickets outside of summer when it is less busy but the weather is still pleasant.⁷
The peak season in Hawaii runs from the summer until the beginning of fall, and after that the rainy monsoon season starts. These months are also the most crowded, however, so consider checking out some shoulder season deals: the best prices on the market for Hawaii are from November until early Spring.⁸
Wrapping Everything Up
Now that you’ve got some valuable cruise knowledge, it’s time to get booking! One of the best ways to find deals is to look online, as this will allow you to compare pricing with multiple cruise companies in multiple destinations. If you do careful research and plan the timing of your cruise correctly, you’ll be able to find a great offer in no time.