Thursday, 12 July 2012 9:14 AM
A cruise is a great way to travel; beautiful sea views, rich culture, wonderful climates and tasty food are all among the reasons millions of people decide to take a break on the water every year. If you need to stick to a tight budget, however, you might think a cruise is out of your reach, but if you read on you could pick up some top tips to ensure you can take this sort of holiday after all.
There is a wealth of cruise companies offering voyages across the globe, and you could find the sheer number of firms overwhelming. Rather than researching each one individually, it's wise to get online and visit websites where you can compare deals from a number of companies. Simply choose a destination, cruise line or port to sail from to take a look at your options.
You can narrow down your choice of cheap cruises by thinking about when you can travel and how long for, as well as exactly what you're hoping to get out of your holiday. You might be after sandy beaches and historical artefacts, or perhaps you'd rather take a look round beautiful glacial lands or experience some authentic culture. Whatever you're looking for, there are bound to be plenty of breaks that cater for your tastes.
Once you've worked out where you want to go and when you can travel, look at the options offered by the various cruise companies. Before plumping for the cheapest, do some research into the ship you'll be sailing aboard. Reading reviews from other customers can be a good way of finding out how good the service onboard is, the level of cleanliness, and whether the amenities on the ship will be suitable for your requirements.
Looking for a break online will often alert you to special offers, and these may either be shown on the homepage, or once you've started to look at a particular cruise line or voyage in some detail. Comparison sites will often show special offers as you scroll down through a list of potential cruises, so you can take a look at which deals most appeal to you. Among them are often discounts of around ten per cent if you book your break online, or hundreds of pounds' spending money for picking a certain getaway. Other deals you may come across are free drinks for the duration of your time aboard, or, if you're after a fly cruise, a free upgrade on your flights.
Another way of getting a good price on a cruise is to book at the last minute; firms will be keen to fill their remaining cabins and costs drop – often significantly – the nearer the time comes to setting sail. Similarly, you might find that if you're able to book well in advance you could make savings.
When considering how much money you're likely to spend onboard, you may want to think about going all inclusive, which usually means you pay an upfront amount for your drinks and often avoid having to pay gratuity charges. Other perks of going all inclusive can include a butler service and free excursions to take on shore.
If you want a luxury getaway, it's worth taking advantage of special offers when they come up, as these could make your getaway more affordable too. If you can get two-for-one on flights, along with hundreds of pounds in onboard spending and no gratuity charge, you could find yourself paying less than you would for a cheap cruise that involves costly travel expenses and lots of onboard spending.