5 Insider Tips BEFORE You Book Your Cruise

Jul 06, 2023
cruise tips

You’re excited… You’ve chosen a CRUISE for your next vacation! But now what? Whether it’s just you or you’re traveling with a large family or group of friends, here are our Top 5 Tips to do BEFORE you book.


1: Don’t Book Direct - Use a Travel Agent

Booking directly with a cruise line is super simple and easy, however you’ll find that if you book with a travel agent you’ll receive some really interesting perks. First off, you’re going to get someone who really understands and specializes in cruise travel. They know the cruise lines, the little extras, the hidden costs, and they will be able to save you time and money directing you to find the perfect cruise experience. You also might get additional benefits only available to travel agent bookings, such as on board credit, group rates, discounts on excursions, etc. Be sure to do your research on travel agents before you pick one! Make sure your agent specializes in cruises and has good ratings from other customers. (Photo 1)


2: Pick the Best Time to Book

Typically the best time to book a cruise is as far out as you can. If you can’t book far out, just book as soon as you can. Get it done now! Generally speaking, the best time of year to book is January through March, which is considered “wave season” in the industry and is often when the cruise lines have their best deals. The best time to go on a cruise is called “shoulder season” which means the time is on each end of the most popular season for cruising. For the Caribbean, this tends to be December (with the exception of the holiday and New Years weeks) through January and February. Now, if you are booking an Alaskan cruise and you want to get a good deal, you’ll want to do the beginning of the season which is April and May or the very end of the season which is September and October timeframe. Same thing with the Mediterranean; you want to do the beginning and end of the most popular time to cruise. (Photo 2)


3: Go ALL the way through the booking process!

Sometimes what can start out as a good deal can turn into not such a good bang for your buck. You might see an advertisement online for a 7 day cruise for $399 - sounds like a good deal, right? But by the time you get to the end of booking and they add on port fees, taxes, etc. the total cost is $2000. Okay, still not so bad. But what does that include? Does it include drinks? Excursions? Make sure you do your due diligence and gather all the information before making your final decision on a cruise. This is another good reason to use a travel agent; they will know upfront about the hidden costs and fees without you needing to spend the time researching and reading the fine print. 


4: Consider Loyalty to a Cruise Line 

Loyalty comes with perks! If you find a cruise line and love it, consider becoming a member of special packages or memberships that they offer and you will become eligible for special perks and addons each time you cruise. Royal Caribbean has a really great program, for example, if you are at their Diamond level, you get 4 FREE drinks per day. Other benefits might include: laundry benefits, free chocolates or champagne upon arrival, access to exclusive restaurants, etc. (Photo 3)


5: Don’t Pick the Newest Ships 

If you’re cruising on a budget, steer clear of the latest ship releases on the high seas. Generally, the newer the ship is the more expensive it will be as well. On ships that are 5 or 6 years old you are still going to have an amazing vacation, have a ton of fun, and wind up saving some $$ as well.


Bonus Tip! 

There is value in being stingy with your cabin choice. 

More often than not, you spend far less time in your cabin than you think you will while on a cruise. Now, if you’re cruising to Alaska and you really want that balcony view, totally go for it. However, also check out the special excursions or dining packages you could use that cash for. Consider your options, do your research, consult a travel agent, and you’ll craft the best cruising experience for you, your friends, and your family the next time you board a ship. (Photo 4)


Those are our top 5 insider tips and tricks! Do you have any you want to add? Any thoughts to share? Comment below! We would love to hear from you about your cruising experiences. 


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