AI image of family handing cash over to cruise captain

Cruise Prices Are Higher Than Ever

Many feared that 2020 would be the end of the cruise industry. However, if you’ve boarded a cruise ship recently, you’ll know that’s far from the truth.

Cruising is just as popular now as it was before the chaos of 2020. Those hoping to score a deal may have missed the boat.

Today, we’re diving and looking at the reports that cruising prices are higher than before the pandemic.

Let’s get started!

Cruise Prices Are No Longer Discounted

Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and many other cruise lines are reporting 100% capacity on many of their sailings. As a result, discounts and other incentives are disappearing.

Don’t hold your breath if you’re hoping things will change. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) expects it to remain this way until 2026.

For cruise lines, it’s a game of supply and demand. With demand being through the roof, they have no reason to cut prices.

Consumers are ready to set sail and are booking rooms. Cruise Critic reports that prices for a five-night cruise are up 37% compared to a year ago.

If the trends continue as CLIA expects, cruise prices will likely increase. If you’re planning to cruise any time soon, reserve your spot as quickly as possible before prices increase.

Can You Still Save Money When Booking Cruises?

Who doesn’t want to score a deal when booking a cruise? Just because cruise prices are higher than before doesn’t mean you can’t save some dough.

Book in Advance

One of the best ways to save money on cruising is to book in advance. The longer you wait, the more likely you’ll see prices increase.

Some cruise lines let you make reservations two years in advance. While waiting more than 700 days may be challenging, it can keep more money in your pocket.

Once you make your reservation, keep an eye out for price changes. Like airlines, cruise lines use similar pricing structures and constantly change prices based on demand and desire to fill the ship.

If you catch a price drop, they’ll often give you the difference as an onboard credit.

Cruise prices are lower in future, showing cheap booking in 2026

Use a Travel Agent

Another great option to get a deal when booking a cruise is to use a travel agent.

Despite what you may have heard, using a travel agent shouldn’t cost you any extra.

They make their money from the cruise lines and other entities. However, these angels from above can save the day.

Many travel agents have access to resources and inside information to help customers get the best possible deals.

They’ll often send emails with information that can help you save money. If you can find one that’s been doing it for years, they can be an invaluable resource during your planning.

Be Flexible with Dates and Destinations

When and where you’re cruising can significantly impact how much you pay.

Don’t expect it to be cheap if you cruise during summer vacation or over holidays. These can be some of the most expensive times to set sail.

In addition, don’t forget to consider where you’re sailing. Sailings to Alaska are expensive no matter when you visit.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly trip, you’ll want to consider more affordable options, like the Bahamas.

You could go on multiple cruises to the Bahamas compared to a single Alaskan cruise.

Consider Inside Cabins

While everybody loves having a private balcony, they can also be costly.

If you spend most of your time outside your room, it may not be worth paying a premium price tag.

You can enjoy the same view from the comfort of one of the decks for free.

In addition, some cruise lines have virtual balconies in their inside cabins. While it may only be a screen, it can provide an incredible view.

If you’re trying to stretch your dollars and make every penny count, an inside cabin can be the way to go.

Watch for Sales and Promotions

As mentioned, cruise lines often offer various sales and promotions to entice consumers to book cruises.

Watch for these promotions and jump at them when they’re available.

If you live within driving distance of a major port, you can score some outstanding deals on last-minute cruises.

Again, even if you’ve booked your cruise, you can still watch for these sales and promotions. Many cruise lines will apply the difference to your account.

These sales and promotions are another reason to go through a travel agent.

One recent cruiser we spoke with was contacted by their travel agent two days before an impromptu sale went live for their cruise. This allowed them to save 30 to 50% on certain onboard activities.

Use Travel Rewards

Many major cruise lines have reward programs and credit cards that can provide discounts.

Sometimes, joining these travel reward programs can be incredibly useful.

Whether airline miles or discounts on cruises, every little bit of savings you can muster is essential for your travels.

However, if you go the credit card route, you must use it responsibly. The interest you’ll pay on purchases you cannot afford will cost you more than any rewards or points they provide.

Cruise During Shoulder Seasons

No matter how you’re traveling, one of the best ways to save money is to plan your adventures during shoulder seasons.

For cruising, this season will change depending on where you’re sailing. These are the times before and after the peak of the travel season.

While the weather or other circumstances may not be as great, the prices are some of the best.

If you want to set sail for Alaska, consider May or September. For those wanting to splash in the Caribbean, April to early June and September to December are the best times.

You should check with the specific cruise itinerary to see when the shoulder season is for it.

cruise ship sailing during shoulder season

While you may pay more now than before, cruising is still an incredible way to travel and vacation. You can make priceless memories with your friends, family, and loved ones.

Don’t let a few extra bucks stop you from setting sail on an unforgettable adventure. If you want, take an extra trip by the dessert table. It’ll leave a better taste in your mouth.

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