Are you, like me, one of those people who thought a cruise holiday would not be affordable for you? That you needed loads of money before you could even consider one? Well, you, like me, would be very wrong. As long as you know some tricks and tips, you could easily go on a cruise for as little as a $100. Here is a guest post about Deborah, a savvy woman who took a cruise holiday to Bahamas.
Deborah Morrison is a savvy shopper. She has to be. As a nursing aide in a retirement home, her pay is well below the national average.
“I don’t earn a lot, but I’ve always been a huge fan of a bargain. I love to get home after work and jump on eBay or Groupon to see what I can pick up for a dollar or two. Probably my favorite buy was getting a girls’ weekend to the Napa Valley for 75% off. My husband wasn’t too happy about that!”
So when Deborah heard of a little-known secret on how to pick up a tropical cruise for pennies on the dollar, she was quickly on the trail.
“Kelly (who Deborah works with) told me she and her partner were going on a cruise out of Florida. I just laughed and said ‘We can’t all live the high life!’. But then she winked and said she got the two tickets for less than $100. Well, that got me interested.”
After digging around online, she found a site called Cruise Zap, a service that specializes in selling discounted cruise fares. Sure enough, the headline price was $89 for 2 people.
“I couldn’t believe it. I always thought you had to spend thousands to go on a cruise, but here’s a site telling me you could do it for just $44.50 per person.”
“It turns out the cruise lines sell empty cabins at a massive discount to get some of their money back. I wasn’t sure whether to believe it or not, but apparently they sell the cheap tickets online, in newspapers, at local travel agents – however they can.”
She took the plunge last November and booked the cruise for late May, dragging her reluctant home-body husband along for the holiday. “He’d rather just stay at home and watch baseball, but afterwards he said he was happy I put my foot down for once.”
She finally got him to Palm Beach, Florida, where the cruise was ready to set off for a weekend of sun, sea and self-indulgence.
“The week before I was telling everyone at work about it – including Kelly. She just smiled and said I’d have a ball. But I was a little nervous. This was the first time I’d ever gone on a cruise.”
“Once we got on board, the whole weekend felt like a party (as much as I can manage these days!). The weather was perfect, especially once we were out at sea. And visiting Bahamas was an eye-opener. I haven’t been overseas much so to do it without blowing our budget was incredible.”
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Deb. She had this final warning for anyone looking to enjoy the cruise she loved so much.
“I shouldn’t have eaten as much as I did, but there was a lot to choose from. And I did get sun burnt lounging by the pool, which was a bit careless of me.”
Deb’s Tips for Snaring a Cheap Caribbean Cruise
- Buy it straight away, even if you don’t book it. “A lot of the time these things come down to availability. They’re don’t sell them cheap when demand’s high so when the prices dip, that’s when I strike. It’s also good to know that you don’t have to book when you buy the cruise tickets.”
- Plan ahead. “The first time I bought it I wanted to go in about 3 weeks, but apparently you need to book at least 60 days out. It’s great that you’ve got 18 months to use it, but you’ve got to think ahead a bit too, you can’t just book it for next week.”
- There are extra fees. “The price is $89, but the port taxes actually add a bit on to the price. The port taxes ended up being $65 for each of us. That wasn’t enough to stop me going, but it’s something to know about before you book.”
- Stay within your budget. “When you call up to book your cruise dates, they will offer you some cool upgrades. They do sound amazing – like the holiday in Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando – but if you don’t have the extra money, tell them “No, not this time.”
Cruise Zap is an online re-seller of discount cruise tickets, specializing in Caribbean cruises. You can see for yourself what they have to offer here.