People are spending on travel, but finding different ways to save money as the cost of living rises. According to Booking.com, 62% of travelers say the increased cost of living will play a limiting factor in their 2024 travel planning. Cruising offers travelers the option of transparent pricing and no hidden fees.
About a third of travelers are looking for a water-centric vacation, the Booking.com survey reports, which may explain why the cruise industry continues to be one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors, inflation or not. A recent CLIA survey predicts cruise numbers will rise with an expected 39.5 million ocean-going passengers by 2027.
Save With Inclusive Meals And Drinks
Look for an inclusive cruise deal to ensure there are no extra costs. Price the cruise to include the extras, such as tipping and gratuities. Many cruise lines also include meals, soft drinks, and other all-inclusive benefits in their booking price. Buy any drink packages upfront to avoid big bar bills.
The Booking.com survey points out that 62% of travelers are on the lookout for travel hacks and deals and 46% plan to reduce tips. Additionally, some 47% of parents would consider taking their children out of school to take advantage of cheaper off-peak travel.
Sarah Christie, a travel writer from Extraordinary Chaos, says, “When our boys were at school, we sometimes booked vacations in the last week of term. We figured as long as it wasn’t an exam year, the educational value of traveling outweighed missing the last week of term, which was often a wind-down game and movie week. This saved us a considerable amount of money on travel.”
A cruise vacation can offer a complete winter mini-break with drinks and meals included, with short and longer itineraries that cater to every budget.
How Easy Is Grabbing a Cruise Bargain?
Opt for a short winter break in the sun from a local port to save on flights. This is lighter on the wallet than a regular weekend city break due to the added costs of staying in a hotel, as well as meals, drinks, and activities, which are often included in a cruise.
Karen Beddow, a family travel writer from Mini Travellers, said, “One of my top tips is to book a cruise from a port closer to home to save on the cost of flying the family out to the cruise port. By packing the car with your luggage and driving to a local port, you can save hundreds on airfares and luggage fees.”
A 4-night Bahamas cruise costs considerably less than a weekend in Miami, with cruise ships offering free activities such as kids’ clubs, movie screenings, ice cream, water slides, and sports courts, plus the opportunity to self-explore in ports.
Don’t Dismiss Older Searfaring Gals
Don’t overlook the smaller, older ships. Opting for an older or smaller ship is a good way to reduce the cost of winter travel. Many cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Carnival, continually invest in older ships, keeping them to a standard similar to the fleet’s newer superstars. Independence and Mariner of the Seas, as well as many others in the Royal fleet, have been refurbished with new and up-to-date activities to stay competitive with their more contemporary sisters.
For example, a 7-night Caribbean cruise on a smaller ship such as Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas starts at $750. The same week on Royal’s brand new Icon of the Seas starts at $3000. With exciting itineraries to explore, Royal Caribbean offers affordability on smaller ships while still being a premium brand.
Keiran Miller, a UK travel agent, explains, “Whilst new ships are always exciting, they also come with a premium as the cruise lines know long-time cruise fans will be willing to pay a premium to be among the first to try their newest ship.”
He continues, “You still have the same fantastic core experience regardless of the ship you are sailing, so often, the best deals can be found on the older ships that have a history of delighting cruisers for decades. Older ships are also smaller, easier to navigate, and more intimate, which is perfect for those cruising for the first time.”
Save On Last-Minute Bookings
Although booking last minute is very much a lottery regarding availability, there are bargains to be had. Booking a last-minute cruise is sometimes lighter on the pocket than booking ahead. Many cruise lines have last-minute deals for short and longer itineraries where they want to fill up the ship.
More Bang for Your Cruise Buck
During financial challenges, it pays to research cost-saving opportunities. Considering off-peak periods, smaller ships, less popular itineraries, and local ports are key to securing bargains in cruise and navigating the cost-of-living crisis.
This article was produced by Cruising for All and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.