5 Ways To Save Money Booking A Cruise Vacation

A cruise vacation has a lot of value already built in. Sailing from one popular port of call to another on board your floating hotel, transportation costs are locked in, as are all meals. Still, there are some additional factors to consider, such as fare codes that can add up to real savings at the time of booking or later, when lower prices come along.

Consider Restricted Fares
Give the cruise line what it wants and savings can add up fast. Locking in a cruise with no way to change or cancel without paying stiff penalties can lead to perks for customers as cruise lines give low pricing and generous upgrades. This is a great option for those who have travel plans set in stone. But those with possible changes in the future should avoid this option.

Don’t Care Where You Sleep
Another way to save is by booking a stateroom category that does not get a cabin assignment at the time of booking. For those that do not care where they sleep, booking an unassigned (AKA “guaranteed”) stateroom can bring great pricing benefits.

Special Discounts
Cruise lines offer special discounts for seniors, residents of certain states or geographic areas, active or retired military members and others who fit into specific groups. Buying far in advance, these fares may not be available as they are often added later in the booking cycle to encourage new reservations.Keep Looking After Booking
New promotions coming up down the line, after booking, may be applicable to your existing reservation. Watch for cruise line sales around the holidays. Check your email or mailbox between booking and sailing too, as special offers may apply to you and your already-booked sailing.

Holland America Line, for example, has its Sail & Save sale, an annual promotion period that started December 10 and features special savings on multiple cruises and destinations.

“Our Sail & Save promotions make this the perfect time to start planning a 2013 vacation,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs in ETurboNews. “These offers make it possible for more travelers to take a family cruise, an extended holiday or that once-in-a-lifetime trip at a good value.”

Use A Travel Agent For Their Intended Purpose
Travelers can easily click-to-book a cruise on most cruise lines. But should they? Travel agents have first-hand, I-work-with-this-everyday knowledge consumers don’t. Cruise lines commonly court travel agencies for their cruise business with special agency-only offers not available online.

Another way to save? Win a free cruise.

Celebrating the arrival of Disney Wonder in Miami on December 23, 100 lucky families won their own five-night Disney cruise vacation, as we see in this video:

[Photo Credit- Flickr user by blmiers2]