With all of the great deals now available on cruise ships, what are some of the items you should have ready before you start to shop for that perfect cruise vacation?
Know Your Dates and How Flexible You Can be if the Price is Right!
You may have your heart set on a specific departure, but departing a day earlier or later may result in a better deal! So, make sure you know ALL of the dates that will work for you before you start your search. And, make sure you are clear on both the minimum AND maximum number of days you can be away. Sometimes a longer cruise may be less expensive than a shorter cruise. For example, a three-night cruise (which usually sails over a weekend) is often more expensive than a 4-night cruise (which departs on a Monday and returns on a Friday). It may make more sense to take the longer cruise and enjoy a weekend on either end at home.
Get Your Documentation in Order!
You may find the perfect cruise and price before you know it, and you must know everyone’s legal name, date of birth and passport information in order to confirm the booking. Most cruise lines will charge you an additional fee to make a name change once a booking is confirmed. As part of increased security measures, all of the passenger information must be an exact match to the documentation that is being shown at time of boarding.
Take Advantage of Possible Discounts!
Don’t miss the opportunity for additional discounts. Senior citizen discounts (which are aged-based) or AARP rates, resident specials depending on the state that you live in, or union rates may be available on some cruise lines. Rules may vary from cruise line to cruise line but it’s worth asking to see if any of these discounts are available on the sailing that you are looking for.
Traveling with children? There may be additional savings!
At certain times of the year, or on certain cruise lines, special discounts are offered for children, all the way up to kids sailing for free if sharing a cabin with their parents. That can change the cost of a family vacation dramatically and may make a ship or sailing date much more cost-effective.
Remember the Value of Insurance!
Yes, it’s an additional cost. But if you are booking a cruise within 60 days of travel, you are almost certain to be within a 100% cancellation penalty, and the cruise lines have gotten very tough on refunds. And, since this is your time and your money, the value of having insurance when you’re booking a product that is nonrefundable is huge. This is your vacation. Protect that investment.
Do Your Research!
There are some great cruise websites loaded with information, such as cruise.com.