There are several strategies to finding cheap cruises, and a lot of conflicting information out there as well. If you do a search for advice on finding a cheap cruise you’ll likely be staring at pages of sites that each tell you theirs is the best for booking cheap cruises. That sounds convenient, but not it’s all that helpful since most of them are virtually identical.
Our advice on finding cheap cruises
Forget travel agents for this process
They can be very helpful when booking a cruise, but they will also be getting a hefty commission from the cruise company as well. Of course, it’s you who is really paying that commission, so this is a cost you can easily save if you look on your own.
Book early or late
The cruise business is a bit odd in that their best prices tend to be available very early and very late, but not so much in between. Many of the lines will offer great prices a year in advance, but then the prices go back to normal until the ship is filled up. If, as so often happens, a ship has too many empty cabins as the cruise is approaching, they’ll often discount them heavily. You can find last-minute cruise deals on all the sites listed below.
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Forget booking cruises through their own websites
It’s strange because booking flights through company sites is one of the best tips out there, but in this case if you book directly on these sites they’ll charge you more than they do for the same cabin elsewhere. Since you have nothing to compare their price to, they can tell you anything they want and you’ll never know if it’s a bargain or not.
Book on the famous travel sites
There are many travel sites you’ve heard of that are actually poor choices in other regards, but for finding cheap cruises they can be your best bet. One major reason why is since all the cruise lines have to compete for your business by price, they have to offer discounts through these comparison sites in order to fill up their ships. Since the lowest price cruise is usually on the top of the listings, it will get the most interest, and the expensive cruises will be ignored well down the list. This fact alone insures that cruise lines will compete with discounts on these major travel sites.
This site is one of the biggest players in the cruise game, and also an excellent way to book a cheap cruise:
Check at least one of the aggregator sites
Kayak and Sidestep are identical (and partners) so you don’t need to check both, but it’s a good idea to check at least one before you book. These sites will check every other site that books cruises with your criteria and then compare prices before sending you to the booking site that offers the best deal. They don’t have the special discounts some of the others have on occasion, but they are great at finding the cheapest normal price.