When booking a cruise, it can sometimes be hard to distinguish if you are getting the best package for your pound. There are numerous deals on cruising websites, offers from the cruise lines and seasonal promotions – all of which make it difficult to know when and where to book!

Here, we take a look at how you can save a little each step of the way.

Booking your cruise

Couple gazing out balcony window on-board Carnival Cruises

Booking your cruise at the right time can save you plenty, especially if you’re looking at cruising during summer holidays or if you’re planning on travelling to a distant destination.

Do kids cruise for free?

Many cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean or Carnival include periodic offers for kid’s sailing free or getting discount on second and third cruise fares. These are particularly helpful to look out for if you’re cruising with a large party or with children, saving you spends for your souvenirs and treats instead!

Those looking to visit the more remote regions such as Southeast Asia or Alaska will find that booking these destinations early provides saver rates and benefits for booking well ahead. Cruisers not set on specific dates or destinations could save a pretty penny with last-minute bookings, also shortening your waiting time until you get on-board!

How much is a cruise for two?

When searching for a cruise, fares are listed per person with rates based on two people sharing a stateroom. Inside cabins and oceanview are typically low-end prices, with balconies and suites increasing in price based on dates, cruise line and destination.

The average cruise revenue per passenger for 2018* is £924 ($1293) for an eight-day cruise. This figure can work as a base of £115 per day per person, helping you work out where you are grabbing a bargain and where you’re paying a little more for premium services.

*Source: www.cruisemarketwatch.com

On-board your cruise

Butler service on-board MSC Cruises - Afternoon tea

Knowing which cruise lines offer the best value for money all depends on what you’re looking for from your cruise.

Are cruise lines all-inclusive?

Fred. Olsen offers guests main dining options, evening entertainment, a wide choice of on-board activities and lectures, as well as invites to the Captain’s Drinks Party and Gala Buffet. Excursions, drinks and premium dining is included for an additional fee, with upgrades available for all-inclusive guests.

Many cruise lines follow a similar pattern as a base of their cruise fares, offering drinks packages and other add-ons for shore excursions, flights, transfers and spa treatments where selected.

Which cruise lines are the best value?

Some cruise lines offer a range of fares to choose from, such as P&O’s Cruises Select, Early Saver and Saver fares. These each include full-board accommodation, activities, entertainment, transfers and flights, with drinks packages and excursions available to add on to your fare.

If you’re looking forward to enjoying a glass of wine as the sun sets, before enjoying the next day exploring after a hearty breakfast, opting for the all-inclusive packages could save you some money in the long-run. However, if you prefer your ‘Long Island Iced’ tea with milk and sugar rather than rum and a cocktail umbrella, then sticking with the basic cruise fare will be better for you.

Cruise excursions

Couple on a cruise excursion with Celebrity

Excursions are offered on all cruise lines and come in handy when you’re sailing to a new destination or exciting town. Part of cruising is enjoying the sights and sounds of places and their people, witnessing the wonder of numerous places in a short space of time.

Which cruise lines include shore excursions?

Carnival Cruises offers a Best Price Guarantee on their excursions, meaning that if you find a better price elsewhere they will refund you 110 per cent of the difference. Celebrity Cruises include exclusive shore excursions which are developed by destination expert, Ben Fogle.

It goes without saying that a cruise isn’t a cruise without its excursions, it’s just a matter of selecting the right ones for you. If you’re a relaxed soul, looking to saunter through towns and nibble on local delicacies, then a trolley car tour through Pisa is perfect. For the wandering adventurers however, a visit to the Mayan caves for cave tubing before ziplining through the jungle is much better suited.

Excursions can often be booked in advance to ensure you secure your place, leaving you safe in the knowledge that you can relax on-board and look forward to mini-adventures in every port.

Booking another cruise

More often than not, cruise lines offer discounted rates or benefits when you book while on-board. This is particularly useful if you know what you want, allowing you to set a date for your diary and save you money at the same time!

Seek out the Concierge Desk on-board your ship for further details or keep an eye out for emails from your travel agent, who will likely offer you discounted rates for booking with them again.

When booking your cruise, it goes to show that preparation and research is key – even if you’re looking at cruising next month.

Browse our range of fantastic cruise deals for this year and next, depending on when you’re looking to step on-board.

For any questions regarding your cruise or booking queries, call our Cruise Concierge team on 0808 1234 118 for award-winning assistance and service.

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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