Top 10 cheap cruise extra values of the week

Every week, the major cruise lines have special offers that can mean extra value to us. They may be promoting cheap cruises, discount fares, bonus amenities, upgrades or some other extra value or promotion you may qualify for. It all adds up to getting more for the same or less than normal. Here are the upcoming week’s promotions from several of the major cruise lines.

Check with your Travel Expert first before buying, they may have additional values to add on to your booking that add up to real dollars and cents savings to you. More importantly, having a Travel Expert on your side will insure you keep that best value, get you additional values that may come along over the life of your booking and maximize your vacation experience.

  1. Guaranteed Low Fare– Carnival Cruise Lines is all about the Early Saver Fare, a popular program now in it’s second year that guarantees the lowest price. Much like a restricted airline ticket, the deposit is non-refundable and no changes can be made after booking without a $50 per person administrative fee being applied. This week’s special pricing includes a 3-day cruise from $169 per person + taxes and fees.
  2. Free Upgrade– Princess Cruises has what they call a Balcony Bonanza going on right now on select sailings that let guests book a balcony stateroom for the price of an ocean view.
  3. Onboard Credit– Another bonus from Princess Cruises for active or retired military members is a Military Onboard Credit, applicable to all sailings. The onboard credit amount is $50 for cruises 6 days or less, $100 for cruises of 7-13 days, or $250 for cruises of 14 days or longer, offered on a per stateroom basis
  4. Military Rate– Disney Cruise Lines has a special Military Rate available to book through Sunday, February 6, 2011. Rates are per person based on double occupancy on the categories noted. Other categories are available at higher prices. Rates are in U.S. dollars and are not combinable with other discounts or offers.
  5. Europe and Alaska– Special Offers from Carnival also include extra savings on European cruises on the new Carnival Magic and Alaska from $674 per person + taxes and fees
  6. Select sailings Royal Caribbean International has some limited-time offers on sailings from Baltimore starting at $65 per person, per day, cruises sailing from Florida ports starting at $80 a day and sailings from New Jersey from $85 per person, per day.
  7. Kids sail free- Disney Cruise Line has Kids for Free to Alaska AOL Travel reports “Disney Cruise Line is gong to Alaska for the first time this year and offering a discount on select sailings with a new “Kids Free” promotion.” On this one, kids are free when they share an Oceanview or Verandah stateroom with two adults, port charges and taxes are still due but the cruise fare is free. The Kids Sail Free program as well as other discount rates can be found any time on the Disney Cruise Lines website under Special Offers.
  8. Free Upgrade– Norwegian Cruise Line is offering Free Upgrades for All granting a balcony cabin for the price of an Oceanview through February 13Th.
  9. Free upgrade– Celebrity Cruises weekly sale next Tuesday only features 11 to 14-night Caribbean sailings on Celebrity Millennium or Infinity starting at $599 per person +tax. They also have an “Upgrade Your View” promotion going on that gets a balcony cabin for the price of an oceanview on some sailings
  10. Valentines Day– Costa Cruises has is offering several “sweetheart deals” throughout the month of February. Each week the “Month of Amore” will feature a different promotion on one of Costa’s romantic European itineraries.The “Month of Amore” launched this week with seven-night eastern Mediterranean itineraries from just $599 per person, double occupancy. The eligible cruises for this offer sail round-trip Venice, Italy, and call at ports in Greece, Turkey and Croatia.

Flickr photo by Nicholas RIVET

Cheap Cruises: Best discounts

Special offers, promotions and sales can sometimes be great cruise values. They happen at different times of the year, usually to promote some special event like the launch of a new ship, new itineraries or opening sailings in the future for booking. Another way to save on cruise vacations is with discounts that are readily available most of the time. Let’s take a look at some common ones that are normally available year-round.

Past-Guest Discounts are available after one sailing on a number of lines. Carnival Cruise Lines often offers past guests special pricing and a complementary in-category upgrade. This discount is commonly offered far in advance to encourage guests to sail again and again on the same line.

Senior Discounts are available on some lines for guests 55 or older. To qualify, at least one guest in the cabin must be 55 or older, not all. A common trick to make that work for grandma, grandpa and the kids/grand kids is to split up the seniors for booking purposes. They don’t do bed checks on the ships so switching back once on board is usually easy to do.

Military Discounts are available on many sailings. Spearheaded by Carnival Cruise Lines, other lines offer them as well. Like a Senior discount, one guest in the cabin that is active or retired military is all that is needed to get the discounted fare. The cruise line will require proof in the form of a military ID provided within a couple days of booking.

Resident Discounts are sometimes offered for certain states but not others. Florida resident discounts are common on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, not so much on other lines although Princess has regional rates you may qualify for. This is why your travel expert wants to know what airport you might be flying out of.

Interline rates
are also available sometimes from cruise lines for employees of other carriers like airlines and can often be applied to more than one cabin. The cruise line will require proof of employment to get the rates which are usually some of the lowest.

Many of the best discounts that lead to cheap cruises come closer to sailing too. It is not uncommon for Royal Caribbean or Celebrity to offer no discounts at all far from sailing, adding them on closer to sailing to help fill up the ship. Check with your personal travel expert for all the latest information as it may apply to you.

Get a group together and lower your rate – Cruise tip

When you’re planning your next cruise, don’t just bring your family — bring your golfing buddies, church group or the whole neighborhood. Most cruise lines offer discounts for groups of eight cabins or more.

In addition to saving money, group cruises are sometimes offered special events, such as a private cocktail reception aboard the ship. And on some cruise lines, the group leader (i.e. you!) gets to sail for free.

Bonus: Your kids will have friends they already know to pal around with in the children’s programs.