21 October 2017 : 
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Cheap cruise deals

If you think a cruise holiday only reserved for bankers, fund managers and retirees, think again. With cruise ship deals growing more affordable and amazing specials on repositioning cruises and leftover cabins now more commonplace than before, the cruise travel industry has seen a massive boom over the past few years.

In fact, statistics released by Cruise1st.co.uk reveals that 1.79 million Brits took a cruise ship holiday in 2013. This represents a rise of 21 % in only 5 years with 22 million people taking to cruise ship holidays in 2014 spending an average of 7.2 days on board a luxury cruise liner.

Cheap cruise deals

While top destinations remain the Caribbean and Mediterranean, other destinations like the Far East, Scandinavia and South America are also starting to grow in popularity.

Advocates of the cruise ship holiday are quick to point out that cruise ships offer top class luxury, pampering, good quality and varied selection of food, around the clock entertainment with on-board artists, themed evenings and cinemas, as well as outdoor entertainment, leisure and fitness facilities.

Whereas this inevitably attracted couples, many cruise liners now also offer child care and entertainment for younger guests, which has also ensured an increase in families now opting for the cruise ship experience.

Why not spoil yourself? After all, Brits rank holidays more important than wealth.

What to watch out for

There are downsides as well. This might not be a priority for every-one, but cruise ship companies do tend to over-inflate the on-board price of drinks – especially alcoholic drinks. When a cruise line special boasts that it’s “all inclusive”, read the fine print.

You will find that 99% of the time it will not include drinks, even soft drinks. On average a bottle of beer could set you back up to £4 and a glass of house wine £5.

So – if you do like to knock back a few bottles of cold beer next to the swimming pool, remember that while the waiters are more than willing to serve them as fast as you are prepared to drink them, this will all be added to your bill and can prove to be a shock once you settle the bill on d disembarkation.

Also be aware of service charges automatically added to your bill when you make use of bar waiters.

While one of the real attractions of a cruise is that you will dock at some really breath taking locations, the cost of these day trips may also not be included. Be aware of what you need to pay for and budget accordingly.

How to look out for deals

There are three sure ways to bag the best deals. The first is to board a repositioning cruise. These cruises happen when the embarkation port and disembarkation port for popular cruises are not the same and the ship needs to be moved across a less popular route. To catch these deals it is best to subscribe to email newsletters frequently sent by cruise line companies. Simply search for “repositioning cruises” online or ask your travel agent to put you on a mailing list.

I subscribe to some of the e-mail newsletters and, trust me, you will be surprised to see how many good deals there are. However, certain companies will offer a “repositioning special” with some fanfare but when you check the price you might find that the price is in fact not that special. As always, compare, and you will save.

Another way to bag specials is to find last minute “leftover cabins”. Again, you will find them without hassle on the larger cruise liner websites. Also ensure that you are on a cruise liner’s email of mailing list.

Should you be flexible with your time and adventurous enough to bag such a cabin, remember that since the 9/11 attacks cruise lines registered in the US have to submit their passenger manifest to homeland security three days before any cruise. This means that a “last minute” deal has a 72-hour deadline, so take this into consideration. Savings can be up to 50 per cent.

A third way to ensure you save is to book early. Whereas booking early in the flight industry is counted in months, in the cruise industry it is counted in years. Cruise liners are at the moment announcing their cruises starting in April 2016 and will offer significant discounts for early bird bookers.

As an example, Voyages to Antiquity will knock off £900 from a 13-day April 2013 cruise costing £2,145 if you book and pay before 30 June this year. They will even throw in shore excursions, bottled water, pre- and post-cruise hotels stays, gratuities on board, wine with on board dinners and return flights.

Piet Van Niekerk - Image Written by : Piet Van Niekerk - Signature
Piet Van Niekerk Piet van Niekerk is a print and online publisher who has started two independent publishing and PR consultancies. He now assists small media companies with content optimisation and business development.For press enquiries, please visit our Media Centre page.

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