A cruise to Alaska can be the best experience of a lifetime. But there can be enormous costs associated with these trips. There are ways to find deals on Alaskan cruises if you do your research. One of the best ways to find Alaska cruise deals is to have flexible travel dates. This can allow you to travel in the off-season or find last minute deals on cancellations. It can also help if you’re willing to put in the time to research cruise and activity deals for your trip.
With good planning, flexibility, and a little bit of luck, that trip on an Alaskan cruise you’ve been dreaming about can be within your reach. The keys are to put in the time and energy to search for the best deals and to find ways to keep the costs of your vacation down once you get there. This article will explain how to find the best deals and how to save money on a cruise in order to get you started.
What is a cruise deal?
There are many different types of cruise deals that you should know about as you get started. Common cruise deals include cruise packages, specials that are run on holidays and throughout the year, promotions, special discounts for certain passengers, last minute deals, free upgrades, off-season deals, and bundles. To find the best cruise deals, here are few basic steps you should take.
Do your research
Cruises come in all shapes and sizes. If you are on a tight budget, you will want to look for cruises that offer a range of accommodations. A good place to get started is by researching the prices of various cruise lines and ships on the internet. You will want to check frequently because cruise prices fluctuate often as occupancy levels change.
As you look at the websites of different cruise lines, compare their prices to see which ones offer the best deals. Use the information you gather to get a sense of the costs of a cruise and continue to look for better deals.
Some major cruise lines to look at are Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Royal Caribbean. However, you might end of finding the best deals on small, local cruise lines.
While doing your research, keep in mind that listed prices probably don’t include fees like taxes, portage, and tips. Also, note that the listed price will be for the most basic level and that the price depends on the season. If you want an upgraded cabin, it will cost more than the base price. When comparing prices on different lines, be sure to pick similar cabin styles, dates, and itineraries.
Once you’ve done the basic research, continue to shop around for better deals and consider talking to a travel agent who specializes in Alaska cruises. Travel agents might know about deals that you can’t find on your own. Also, take the time to visit a variety of online booking websites. These sites offer a range of cruise packages and bundles that include airfares, hotels, and excursions during your trip. Many have tools that allow you to compare different cruise prices.
When to book
Alaska cruise season runs from May through September. Because there is a limited window for Alaskan cruises, prices are high and change frequently. To find the best deals, it is important to know when to book your Alaska cruise. While some opinions suggest it is best to book early, others will tell you that booking at the last minute is the best way to find deals. Whether it is better to book early or late depends on a number of considerations.
Booking early, more than six months in advance, can sometimes get you the best deals. Some cruise lines offer a low price guarantee, which means that if the price goes down after you have booked, they will match the lowest price. In this case, you will need to closely monitor the price after you book to watch for changes.
There are few additional advantages to booking early. You will have a better chance of getting the specific cruise and package that you want and have a better selection to choose from. Also, you will be more likely to find good deals on flights to get to the point of embarkation. Last minute flights can be so expensive that they negate any savings you might get from booking your cruise at the last minute.
Booking late, just a few weeks or days in advance, can be a great way to find Alaska cruise deals. Cruise ships want to fill up in order to increase their revenue, so if they have spaces left over, they tend to offer deals at the last minute. These deals might work for if you have a flexible schedule and can take time off work without much notice. If you don’t live near an embarkation point, be sure to take into account the cost of a last minute flight.
Cruise in off-season
The most expensive months for Alaska cruises are June, July, and August. Avoiding these peak months will mean not only lower prices but also fewer crowds. During the shoulder seasons, May and September, you should be able to find the best deals and discounts on cruises to Alaska. During these months, the market is smaller because children are in school. In September, you will also have the benefit of end of the season sales in shops.
Looking around for one-way trips that depart from one port and end in another might save you some money. You will have to figure out transportation to and from two different points, but you will also see more of Alaska in a shorter time.
Pick a shorter cruise
Another way to save is by looking for shorter cruises. While most Alaska cruises last at least 7 days, there are some shorter cruises that last just 4 nights. On a short cruise, you will get to have the experience of an Alaskan cruise without spending as much time and money.
Cruise on a small ship
Although they have fewer amenities and attractions, smaller cruises tend to be less expensive than large ones. They also provide a more intimate experience where you get to know your fellow passengers, focus more on educational programs, and get closer to some of the marvels of nature that can be found in the Alaskan seas.
Limit your spending during the cruise
Another way to save money on an Alaskan cruise is to limit your spending on the ship and during land excursions. Oftentimes, additional fees are charged for services such as professional photographs, specialty restaurants, cocktails, laundry service, spas, airport transfers and internet. These costs can add up and make your cruise more expensive.
Doing your own laundry, taking your own pictures, planning your own excursions, and eating a la carte are a few ways to minimize these costs. Other ways to save money are to use your onboard credit and to look for deals and promotions that include drinks, internet access, room service, etc.
Ask for discounts that might be available to you
Discounts offered for specific passengers might also save you money. Some cruise lines offer special rates for members of the military and military families, for past guests, for senior citizens, for students, for large groups, or for solo travelers. Be sure to ask if there are any special discounts that might be available for you or your family members.
With good planning, flexibility, and ingenuity, it is possible to make your dream of an Alaska cruise a reality. An affordable Alaska cruise is available even if you are on a tight budget. Whatever your circumstance, getting the best Alaska Cruise deals will save you money so you can enjoy many more great vacations in the future.