According to a recent survey of almost 6,000 UK cruisers conducted by Cruise Critic®, the world's largest cruise reviews site and cruise community, almost half of respondents (45%) spend between £1,000 - £2,000 on their cruise*, while a quarter (25%) exceed £2,000. The survey also found that 93% look for deals, suggesting that UK holidaymakers are savvy shoppers when it comes to booking a cruise.
Adam Coulter, UK editor, Cruise Critic, commented: “Everyone’s holiday budget varies, yet the satisfaction of bagging a deal - whether through saving money, or gaining added value - is almost universal. The great news for cruise deal hunters, whether they’ve specific requirements or can be flexible, is there are many opportunities to save. Provided cruise shoppers know where and when to look, it’s often possible to find a deal or promotion.”
Cruise Critic offers tips to catch a deal for all budgets: • Time it right for savings There are two upcoming industry-wide cruise sales. Cruise Week, (September 19–27) sees cruise lines and agents offer various promotions, and for those not prepared to book this autumn, Wave Season, (January-March) is an annual period at the start of the year when cruise lines unveil promotions for the upcoming season. Considerations? Don't be lured just by price when seeking a deal - it’s important to find the right ship and itinerary. Prior to booking, cruisers should research aspects such as cabins, dining, entertainment and atmosphere.
• Sail off-season Cruising during a destination’s low season can be a great way to secure a deal. The Mediterranean was selected as a top destination in Cruise Critic's survey of UK cruisers, and those able to sail during its low season (October-April) may discover good, money-saving opportunities. Considerations? Each destination has different low season considerations. For the Med, the weather during peak winter months can be changeable, so cruisers should pack appropriately. While a benefit of visiting in winter is fewer crowds (except peak Christmas period), some local attractions and restaurants may close or operate limited opening hours.
• Book early Those who prefer to book in advance may find promotions by booking as soon as sailings go on sale – usually a year or more ahead of the sail date. For early bookings, cruise lines often offer added-value promotions, such as drink packages and airfare. Considerations? Cruisers should ensure the add-on is of personal value. Drinks packages won’t matter much for cruisers that don’t drink, and Internet packages won’t benefit everyone.
• It’s all about the show Throughout the year, various cruise events take place across the country. Visitors can meet cruise lines representatives and may find deals and promotions. Considerations? While it varies depending on the cruise line, discounts available at exhibitions tend to be exclusive to each show, therefore visitors should be prepared to book at the event to benefit from that particular offer.
• Flexible savings Those able to book at short notice, and flexible on choices such as sailing dates, cabins and itinerary, may discover great bargains on sailings leaving within 90 days, as this is when final payments are usually due. Cabins not paid in full may be released, which could result in discounted fares. Considerations? For cruises departing outside of the UK (which exclude flights), additional costs such as last-minute airfare, may cancel out savings. Cruisers should also remember that cabin choices and dinner seating options might be limited. However, last minute booking can yield fantastic savings for those with flexibility.
*The survey ran on Cruise Critic in 2015 with responses from 5,814 people. Spend was per person, not including airfare or onboard costs.