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The golden rule of bagging a cruise bargain is to devote some time to sniffing out and comparing the options in detail before you book.
Enjoy a 2-night break to the intriguing waterways of Bruges
Start your holiday as soon as you step on-board Navigator of the Seas in Southampton.
Based on Azura A812, NF Grade
Sail on board Independence of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International for 2 nights
Based on Azura A827, NF Grade
Wave goodbye to winter on a journey of Caribbean discovery on board Azura.
Bear in mind that finding your dream cruise without breaking the bank can be less about finding the cheapest offer going, and more about doing the comparison to find out which cruise offers more bang for your buck. After all, we all have different priorities when it comes to cruising. One holidaymaker might be delighted with an inner cabin if they can eat and drink to their heart’s content on board, while another might be happy to hold back on the margaritas so long as their cabin has a sea view.
So, how do you find the best cruise deal for you? Once you’ve decided where you want to go, find cruise lines that offer the most effective way to save you money - while making sure you don’t scrimp on fun. Travelling with one other person? Be on high alert for buy-one-get-one-half-price deals. If you’re planning a family cruise, don’t book until you’ve compared kids-go-free offers. Spontaneous types can take advantage of fab last-minute bargains. On the other hand, super-organised travellers can book 12 months or more ahead for some of the cheapest prices.
If you know you’re going to take another cruise in the future, look for lines that offer the option to book your next cruise at an impressive discount or promotional rate while you’re on the ship enjoying your current sailing. And you’ll find some rock-bottom prices and an extra-generous array of perks if you’re happy to cruise off-peak (generally January to March, known as ‘wave season’ in the cruise holiday trade).
Don’t forget to consider what’s important to you once you’re on board, too. If you’re happy to have a basic inner cabin and pay for everything individually once you’re on board, go for it – you’re sure to find a super cheap deal, even once you take into account any hidden costs such as cruise taxes and fees.
But if you’re the type who’s easily tempted into splashing out on fancy cocktails, on-shore excursions and onboard activities, or you just want to be able to leave your wallet in your cabin, then an all-inclusive cruise might save you money in the long run. Keep your eyes peeled for all-inclusive cruise offers – there are some excellent ones out there if you do your research.
You can stretch your cruise budget even further with options such as generous drinks packages, free cabin upgrades, free chauffeur-driven transfers or free pre-cruise hotel stays. You’ll find that some cruise lines offer extra perks, such as free car parking or onboard spend. Many luxury cruise lines even include gratuities as part of the package, so there’s no need to worry about tip etiquette or carrying wads of cash once you’re sailing. And if you love being pampered, look out for discounted spa treatments on port days.