Discount Cruises How to Book

Say it quietly, but cruise providers do not expect most people to pay the prices in the brochure. So don't be among the people that do pay over the odds take advantage of discount cruises.

The most reliable way to find special deals is through an agent. This will give you someone to come back to if anything goes wrong or if you need to change your arrangements for any reason. And there are organizations which can help you find a reputable one. In the UK there's the Leading Cruise Agents of the UK (www.thelca.comwww.thelca.com), formerly called the Guild of Professional Cruise Agents. In the US there's the Cruise Line International Association (www.cruising.orgwww.cruising.org). The National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents (www.nacta.comwww.nacta.com) could also be useful.

There is also a plethora of websites for discount cruises out there but choose one that carries the stamp of a national association such as the LCA or the CLIA. It's certainly possible to find a good deal over the net with one of the many online agents. But at the risk of over stressing the point, remember that if you book over the internet be it via the website of a specific company or a generic discount provider it could be more difficult to negotiate changes to the booking than if you have a good agent arguing your corner with another human being. The special deals which pop up on cruise line sites can be used as research before you visit an agent.

Whatever you choose to do, the earlier you book, the bigger the discount you are likely to get. This is great if you are able to plan your holiday a year or more ahead (they will ask you for a fairly hefty deposit) but this isn't possible for everyone. Occasionally, discounts also arise for late bookings on popular routes. It's also important to note that even when a cruise seems cheap, there may well be lots of hidden extras which will gradually notch up the price to a very different figure. Drinks, tips (some are added automatically and at other times there can be heavy pressure to give a certain amount), dinner supplements, excursions. ask about all of these when you are discussing the booking.

  

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