Despite a cost of living crisis this winter, people are still spending on travel but finding different ways to save money. Follow these simple steps to save bucks and still travel on a nautical adventure this winter. Cruising offers travelers the option of transparent pricing and no hidden fees.
According to a recent Booking.com survey, 62% say the increased cost of living will play a limiting factor to travel planning in 2024, with people not wanting to forgo traveling and family time despite the current financial situation.
Regardless of the rising cost of living, the cruise industry continues to be one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors. A recent Clia survey predicts cruise numbers will rise to 39.5 million ocean-going passengers by 2027.
So can cruise play a part in people getting a travel fix? Here is how to bag a bargain on a cruise vacation.
More For Your Buck With Inclusive Meals And Drinks
Look for an inclusive cruise deal to ensure there are no extra costs. Price your 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. And pay drinks packages upfront to avoid big bar bills.
The survey suggests that “62% of travellers plan to watch for travel hacks and deals”. Does this mean 2024 will be the year of searching for affordable luxury deals? It says, “47% of parents state they may take children out of school for off-peak travel, and 46% plan to reduce tips.”
Sarah Christie, a travel writer from Extraordinary Chaos, said, “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 can cater to every budget.
How Easy Is It To Grab 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 pocket than a regular weekend city break due to the added costs of staying in a hotel, such as meals, drinks, and activities often included in a cruise.
Karen Beddow, a family travel writer from Mini Travellers told us, “One of her top tips is to try and book a cruise from a port closer to home to save on the cost of flying your family out to the cruise port. By packing the car with your luggage and driving your family 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 the Old Searfaring Gals
Smaller and older ships are not to be overlooked; opting for an older or smaller ship is critical to reducing the cost of winter travel. Many cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean, Princess and Carnival, continually invest in older ships, thus 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 injected with new and up-to-date activities to keep in line 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 costs from $750. The same week, on Royal’s new Icon of the Seas starts at $3000. With exciting itineraries to explore, Royal Caribbean offer great affordability on smaller ships whilst still being a premium brand.
Keiran Miller, Award winning UK Travel Agent, said, “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 said, “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.”
Add to the Excitement and Book at the Last Minute
Whilst 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 is the key to securing a bargain cruise and makes cruising and navigating the cost-of-living crisis.
This article was produced by Cruising for All and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.”