Friday, March 21, 2014

Find the Best Cruise Offers for Your Family: Top Tips

If you’re trying to plan your family holiday for this year, a cruise offers a fun filled, convenient holiday whether you’re a small family of 3 or a group of 30. Simply unpack your belongings once, and explore a variety of diverse locations - or never leave the ship and enjoy the luxury features, it’s up to you! Now, cruise ships are literally like the theme parks of the sea with all of the features they have. You’ll find adult relaxation areas for you to take a breather, while there are many children’s entertainment areas and water sports for the kids to expend their energy. Plus, if you can get a great deal on the cruise, it’s cost effective too! Many cruises offer meals all inclusive, accommodation, and entertainment for less than £100 per person per day. Here are some top tips on finding the best cruise offers for your family - you’ll be glad you did!

Book Now and Plan Your Trip in Advance

This month is the month when cruise companies like offer some of the most competitive deals. Look for the perfect deal for your family now and book as early as possible in order to get a great deal. Some cruise lines even offer more early saver discounts to reward you if you book early! By booking months ahead of travelling, you can rest assured knowing that you’ve got the absolute best deal. 

Families often need a specific date, especially if they have work and school commitments. It’s definitely better to book early and secure these dates to make sure you can go on the trip of a lifetime. 

If you’re worried about staying in separate cabins or the cabin being too small for your family, some cruise ships offer something called quad cabins that can comfortably fit more than 2 people. These upgraded cabins and suites often fill up quickly, so it’s best to book early so you can get the most suitable cabin for your family. Families that have small children will probably want to avoid booking a balcony cabin for peace of mind and safety reasons. Adjoining inside or oceanview cabins are probably your best bet. You could possibly even get a better deal when booking an adjoining cabin rather than a suite.

In the past, people used to book their cruises 3-4 months in advance. Now people are booking 5 months in advance or sooner. You shouldn’t leave it later than this, especially if you’re looking to book in a high demand period like summer or the school holidays. It depends on where you’re planning to go, too. People taking a cruise around the Caribbean might book their holiday sooner, as there is less planning involved. People who cruise to Alaska usually book about 6-7 months in advance. Use your common sense when booking a cruise. Are you picky when looking for a holiday? If so, that means you should start looking and booking sooner. Do you have special requests when it comes to your cabin? Do you need multiple cabins close to one another? If so, the only way to get it just the way you want it is to book early. 

Plenty of reasons for you to book your trip well in advance!

Look For Features that Appeal to Your Interests

A lot of major cruise companies are drawing in potential customers by adding something called ‘value-adds’ to their seasonal deals. Onboard credits are a good value add on because you can use those however you like - on a shore excursion for you and the kids, spa treatments for mom, or beers for dad. You could even use onboard credits to pick up souvenirs from the gift shop! If a deal offers a value-add like onboard credits, you might want to snap this up ASAP in order to enjoy the great extras. 

Other features to look for that will save you money include unlimited drinks packages, and unlimited pop packages for the kids. This is massive value when you consider just how much you could end up spending on beverages for the family every day - this could exceed £50 per day for a family of 4! 

Some cruises even offer promotions where kids sail for free, so keep an eye out for those.

Deals often change week on week, so if you start looking early, you can afford to wait a couple of weeks before booking until you find a value add-on that you like the look of. 

See If There are Special Discounts

Many cruise lines will offer discounts for older people, military workers, police officers, and union members. If you fall into one of these categories make sure you tell your cruise agent, and they might just cut you a great deal! 

Look at Airfare

You might find a wonderful deal on the cruise of your dreams, only to realise that the airfare to the port city is extortionate. When you choose a cruise, look for port cities because adding on airfare like this can get very expensive, especially for a large family. However, some cruise agents do offer discounts when adding airfare on to your cruise so make sure you ask if there are any discounts when you call to book your cruise. 

Go For Value Over Price

Rather than booking the cheapest deal you can find, look for value within the deal. If you only pay £40, per person, per day, yes the price is great - but if the cruise doesn’t offer anything within your family’s interests, what’s the point? A bad holiday is a waste of money, regardless of how cheap it was. Consider all of the amenities and make sure the cruise ship offers everything you need as a family. 

You don’t need to spend an absolute fortune to get your family the best cruise deal out there. Look for a great price, paired with amazing amenities, activities, and location in order to get the perfect trip for you. Keep an eye out for value add-ons and special discounts to get an even better deal!

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