Holiday cruises are a fun way to celebrate in the winter, but it’s helpful to prepare a bit differently from a regular cruise.
In this post, we’ll give you money-saving tips and cover other things you should know before you book a holiday cruise. (There’s still – barely – time!)
Money Saving Tips for Holiday Cruises
Often, you can find great deals on holiday cruises, because most travelers are staying on land to celebrate. Due to lower demand, prices usually drop. So, you can save a bundle on the cruise itself.
However, if you must fly to the departure port, know that airfare rates tend to soar due to higher demand. You can avoid this expense through driving or booking your flight well in advance of your departure date to get the best rates.
To get the lowest rate on your cruise, be flexible on your travel dates, destinations, amenities, and which cruise line you choose. The holidays can be a great time to try something out-of-the-ordinary if you are a regular cruise traveler. Keep your mind open, and your wallet will thank you.
Don’t ignore problems, though. Cruise lines tend to be pretty tight-lipped about issues, so if you read something iffy about a particular ship or line, take it to heart.
The most popular holiday cruises will sail to warm areas, away from ice and snow. To save the most money on this type of cruise, follow these tips:
- Choose a less expensive cabin without a fancy view.
- Leave a bit earlier in December to avoid the after-Christmas rush.
- Check online travel sites for perks like cabin upgrades, credits, free amenities, and lower airfare rates.
- Sign up for cruise line email newsletters to get the first dibs on special deals.
- Check with a travel agency. They may have an inside scoop on the cheapest seasonal cruises.
Planning for a Holiday Cruise
These tips can help make your holiday cruise more special and familiar.
Bring holiday décor
To add the holiday spirit to your cabin, reserve a little room in your luggage for small, decorative items. A tabletop tree, light strands, holiday music and petite-sized, unwrapped gifts (that will pass inspection) will offer a homey feel. Just leave your holiday cookies at home; cruise lines don’t allow them, and besides, you’ll be able to feast on the holiday-themed buffets on board.
Book as early as possible
Now is the time to book your cruise to maximize your choices. If you wait too long, you may not get the destination or cabin style you prefer. Check deals every day and have a list of the amenities you can’t do without.
Take extra flight precautions
Even though it may cost a bit extra in hotel costs, booking your flight into the departure port city a day early can save you headaches and frustration in this busy time of year. By arriving early, you can avoid the cancellations that is common during the holidays.
Adjust your expectations
If you know in advance that you won’t be at port on Christmas Day, plan ahead to do something special on board to celebrate your holiday. Also, keep in mind that many restaurants and shops could be closed due to the holiday. If you keep your expectations reasonable, you can still have a wonderful holiday at sea.
Pack special attire
If you wear ugly Christmas sweaters or fun holiday t-shirts at home, why not pack them along? They will help you have the holiday spirit while you are at sea. You can also pack festive formal wear for the evening activities. Have extra fun with your family by packing reindeer headbands, blinking necklaces, and elf hats.
Purchase gifts while at sea
Create a special holiday memory by purchasing holiday gifts for your loved ones from the ports you visit. Onboard shops have luxury items as well. Be sure to bring an empty piece of luggage to carry the gifts back home.
Prepare for family cruises
Know that some cruise lines have their best bookings of the year during the school winter breaks. This could be a great type of cruise for you and your family but expect it to have longer wait times. If you would rather have a peaceful, quiet cruise, avoid booking with a cruise line that caters to families.
Enjoy the holiday buffet
You won’t miss your traditional holiday meal; the cruise lines are ready to serve decadent holiday buffets of turkey, ham, dressing, cranberry sauce and fabulous desserts, just like you would have at home.
Follow these tips and you’re far more likely to have a holiday cruise that’s fun, safe, and memorable in all the right ways.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented cruise victims who have suffered all kinds of injuries and illnesses due to negligence. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.