1. Decide What Cruise You Would Like to Go On With a SpreadsheetMy husband and I usually have trouble picking a cruise. To decide on a cruise we create a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet includes the dates, name of ship, and name of cruise line, price, and other important information. We make the spreadsheet in a Google doc so we can both have access and add information at the same time. Creating a spreadsheet is a great way to narrow down what cruise to go on. We can then make an informed decision on what cruise to select. Remember different seasons of the year may have different price ranges.
2. Decide the Company to Book the CruiseAfter deciding on the cruise, selecting a website to book the cruise though is next. We then use a spreadsheet to make price comparisons. Should we book through the cruise company? Will other websites give you other perks such as travel insurance, free tips, or reduce prices on excursions? Sometimes booking with a certain credit card will give you a better deal. Sometimes union offer travel deals also. Checking around for the best price can save you money. Try adding your cruise to CruiseCompete.com. Travel agents will bid on the cruise you are interested and give you different prices that may include perks. Then do your research to understand if you feel comfortable booking though a certain company or not.
3. Decide When to Book the CruiseWe like to book our cruise between 60 and 90 days of the cruise. There is less cabin choice, and the cruise may sell out but this is where we find the largest discount on cruises. We also thinking that prices go down a little during the week instead of on the weekend.
4. Decide on Travel InsuranceMy husband and I have never bought travel insurance on the 10 cruises we have been on together. That being said, we did drive from Philadelphia to New Orleans once because of a snow storm. At this point we believe if we have a free trip anyway from all of the travel insurance that we saved. You may feel differently about travel insurance. There are many things that you think travel insurance should cover that do not. Some credit cards offer free travel insurance if you book using their card. The choice is up to you and your situation.
5. Understand the Hidden Costs of CruisingHere is a list of some extra costs to remember when booking a cruise. These are not including in the cruise price:
- Tips about $12 a day per person
- Getting to the port
- Paying for parking
- Gift Shop (Candy)
- Extra Restaurant Fees
- Forgetting things at home and then buying them again
- Bottles Water