It is one of those awkward subjects that seems to be a topic for discussion on every cruise. What discount did you get and from who? When it comes to pricing, cruise company promotions are becoming more and more inventive; everything from Wave Promotions each year, 123 choices, ‘One Week Sales’ and discounts to celebrate something or other. The reason is simple. Cruise lines need to keep their occupancy rates up and fill their ships. For Luxury Cruises, this is a good thing.
Price is always a sensitive issue and we as customers need to stay alert to the offers that are around even after your cruise is booked. The old concept of leaving your booking to the last minute to get the best deal has really had its day particularly in the Luxury Cruise market. It is nearly always better to book early to ensure you get the stateroom or suite that you want. The best ones sell out early. Don’t get me wrong, there are sometimes good last minutes deal to be had, but you might wind up with a lesser stateroom suite and end up spending more money that if you had booked early. That said, there are deals or discounts to be found; alongside the cruise lines most travel agents will offer small discounts to win your business.
There are also many other considerations when it comes to your final price with discounts and other benefits that are not always known about. Using a specialist travel agent can help uncover many of these hidden ‘extras’
Repeat Guest Discounts
It is quite normal for Cruise Lines to reward Past Guests with additional discounts for sailing with them. This works well and your travel agent can help with this. Also rewarding the repeat guest is a system of “Future Cruise Credits” which may be purchased whilst on board your cruise. For a small deposit which counts towards your cruise deposit, you get a discount, typically 5% off a cruise booked within 3 years. Seabourn operate such a scheme and it pays dividends for the regular Seabourn cruiser. Silversea Cruise has their “Venetian Society” savings for past guests on selected voyages. Other Luxury Cruise lines also operate similar schemes.
Recommend a Friend Schemes
So you have friends who you believe should be sailing with your favourite cruise line. What better way to encourage you to recommend them than to provide an On Board Credit for not only your friends but for you or your next cruise. A great way for like minded individuals to experience a Luxury Cruise with a different cruise line. The cruise companies who offer these schemes are banking on the hope that once tried, the new guest will never look back!!
A little-known perk is the shareholder benefit that basically rewards shareholders in a company if they cruise with the brands it owns. Why wouldn’t you do that anyway? The both Carnival Corporation and Royal Carribean Cruises International operate such schemes and apply an On Board Credit depending on the length of your cruise. This can be up to $250 per sailing. So if you are a regular cruiser, this is a very interesting ‘perk’. The great thing is that the benefit applies to each of the cruises lines owned by the corporation. So for example with the Carnival Group you can sail on any of its brands and receive the benefit. Carnival group cruise brands include P&O Cruises, Cunard, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, P&O Cruises Australia, Holland America Line, Carnival Cruises, AIDA and Costa.
As your sailing date gets closer, and if there is still capacity on your sailing, the cruise lines will be redoubling their efforts to fill up ships. Some may offer those already booked, a discounted upgrade opportunity. While someone just booking might have a $1000 difference in price between a standard balcony cabin and a suite, the passenger who has already booked might be offered an upgrade from their booked balcony at a fraction of that price. These offers can be very attractive and a great way to upgrade to a larger suite at a fraction of the original cost. These offers are normally made on a first-come, first-served basis.
Keep your Eyes Open
Always view your booking as a something that may still need attention. Often times there are deals and offers which are released after you made you booking which may or may not apply. Always keep your eye on the various offers that pop up from time to time. Some cruise lines will oblige if asked, some will not. Just remember that for the next time they want your booking.
Use a Travel Agent
From experience, one of the worst things you can do is book a cruise directly with the cruise line. Sure, do your research online but don’t book online. Good travel agents can guide you through the maze of offers and help secure the cruise of your choice at the right price. Always deal with a real person when it comes to spending your hard earned money.