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Cruising for inexpensive deals

Dreaming of a cruise? There are certain things you can do to make your cruise trip more cost-effective.
Book with a travel agency that knows what they are doing Travel companies that specialize in cruise vacations have a good knowledge of cruise lines and can help you find the best cruise deals available.  Those with preferred status are able to offer significantly lower fares than companies without preferred status.
Book early Many cruise lines and travel companies offer perks to cruise-goers who book early, such as onboard credits for spa services or specialty dining, upgraded cabin or free air tickets to the departure city.  To be eligible for incentives you need to choose your travel date, cruise ship and type of room between four and six months in advance. Another way to save money is to opt for an unspecified cabin guarantee.
Travel during the off-season Times of the year when cruise vacations are in high demand include summer, spring break, Christmas holidays, Thanksgiving and other times when school is out.  If you go on a cruise during the off-season (spring and fall), you will save substantially.
Choose cheaper destinations Cruise rates depend on the distances and durations of voyages. To get the best cruise fares, you should opt for nearby destinations such as Mexico, Panama, Caribbean, Montreal, Vancouver, Alaska and Hawaii.
Opt for an older cruise ship Older cruise ships may not be equipped with as many amenities as newer ships and as such, can be less expensive. Many older cruise ships run on three-day itineraries throughout the year, and they are an excellent option for a short vacation.
Pre-purchase meals and services Meal packages and onboard services are usually more expensive if you purchase them on the ship. Buy these items in advance through the cruise line. Depending on which cruise line you choose, you may be able to save 25% or more on meals and onboard services by purchasing them ahead of time.
About the author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of travel topics, from cruise vacations to New York cheap hotels.


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