15 Tips for Getting the Best Deals on Cruise Ship Vacations

Dreaming of a cruise vacation but worried about the cost? There are plenty of ways to snag amazing deals on cruise ships without breaking the bank. From timing your booking just right to knowing the insider tricks, saving money on a cruise is totally doable.

Here are 15 clever ways to score the best deals on cruise ship vacations.

Book early or last minute

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Cruise lines often offer great deals for early bookings or last-minute fills. Early birds can get perks like free upgrades or onboard credit. Last-minute bookers might snag steep discounts as ships try to fill empty cabins. Be flexible with your dates to catch these deals.

Travel during off-peak seasons

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Cruising during less popular times can save you a lot of money. Prices drop significantly in the fall and early winter, except for holiday weeks. You’ll also enjoy fewer crowds and more attention from staff. Just be aware of potential weather issues in some destinations.

Use a travel agent

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Travel agents often have access to deals you can’t find online. They might offer perks like onboard credit or free upgrades. Agents can also help you navigate complicated booking processes. Their expertise can save you both money and stress.

Sign up for cruise line newsletters

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Cruise lines send special offers and deals to their email subscribers. You might get early access to sales or exclusive discounts. It’s an easy way to stay informed about upcoming deals. Just be sure to check your inbox regularly.

Consider repositioning cruises

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These are one-way trips when ships move between seasonal destinations. They’re often cheaper than round-trip cruises and offer unique itineraries. You’ll spend more days at sea, which some people love. Remember to factor in the cost of return travel.

Look for resident and senior discounts

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Many cruise lines offer special rates for residents of certain states or countries. Seniors often get discounts too, sometimes starting as young as 55. Always ask about these discounts when booking. You might be surprised at the savings.

Book your next cruise while onboard

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Cruise lines often give great deals to passengers who book their next trip while still on the ship. You might get reduced deposits, onboard credit, or cabin upgrades. You can usually change your dates later if needed. It’s a smart way to save on future trips.

Also read: 14 Secret Cruise Ship Perks That Make You Feel Like a VIP

Compare prices across different websites

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Don’t just stick to the cruise line’s website when booking. Check travel sites, discount cruise sites, and aggregators. Prices can vary a lot between different sellers. Sometimes, third-party sites offer better deals or perks.

Choose an inside cabin

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Inside cabins are usually the cheapest option on a cruise ship. You’ll still have access to all the ship’s amenities. The savings can be huge compared to balcony rooms. If you don’t plan to spend much time in your cabin, this is a smart choice.

Use credit card rewards

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Some credit cards offer great rewards for travel purchases. You might earn extra points or cashback on cruise bookings. Some cards even offer cruise-specific perks or discounts. Check your credit card benefits before booking.

Be flexible with your destination

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Being open to different cruise destinations can lead to better deals. Popular routes tend to be more expensive. Consider less common destinations or longer itineraries. You might discover new places and save money at the same time.

Look for kids-sail-free promotions

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Many cruise lines offer promotions where kids can sail for free with paying adults. These deals can save families a lot of money. They’re often available during off-peak seasons. Always check the age limits and any restrictions.

Join cruise line loyalty programs

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Cruise line loyalty programs offer perks and discounts to repeat customers. Benefits can include priority boarding, free internet, or cabin upgrades. The more you cruise with one line, the better the perks get. It’s worth sticking with a line you like

Consider older ships

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Newer ships with all the latest features tend to be more expensive. Older ships often offer similar itineraries at lower prices. They might not have all the fancy new amenities, but they still provide a great cruise experience. You can save a lot by choosing an older ship.

Watch for one-day sales and flash deals

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Cruise lines sometimes offer short-lived sales with big discounts. These might happen on holidays or random days. Follow cruise lines on social media to catch these deals quickly. Be ready to book fast, as these offers don’t last long.

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Victoria Omololu

Victoria Omololu is a fashionista exploring the world on a budget. She co-founded Only Earthlings in 2023 to show her travels in North America, Europe, Africa, and everywhere else. Victoria loves writing about travel tips, itineraries, packing guides, and taking photography from all over the world.

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