CHEAP CRUISES FROM $89
Can you really get a cheap deal on a great cruise? Yes, you can be on the same cruise as someone who has paid $1000 more for a similar cabin - if you know where and how to look. Last year we took a 7 day Mediterranean Cruise for just $250 - including entertainment, food and drinks! And, this summer we are going on a 15 day Transatlantic cruise for just $350. Here's some advice on where to find really cheap deals.
And... that $89 Cruise? Yes, it's real... 3 day Pacific Northwest Cruise from LA to Vancouver in May for $89, with three other similar cruises going for about $100. You just have to know where to look, and be prepared to go have fun at short notice!
Cruise Direct is a great place to start. They offer cruises starting at $79 for a one night taster cruise. Click on the link above and then go to the 'Last Minute' section for some amazing deals. They really aren't last minute - they are for sailings within the next 3 months. When Cruise lines have cabins to sell, they drop the price until they are all sold out. If you are willing and flexible enough to wait until 3 months or less before you cruise - then you can bag a bargain. If you are willing to wait til just a month out from a cruise (knowing they may sell out before you book) then you can get incredible deals. We have found many great deals here - with 7 day cruises going for $250.
Often the best prices are on Repositioning Cruises - where the ship needs to get from one place to another at the start or end of a season. For example, lots of ships need to get to Vancouver and Seattle in early May for the start of the Alaska Cruise season. And, in October, they need to get to a different home port for the winter season. You will get amazing discounts. Look under the Repositioning section on VACATIONS TO GO.
WEIRD NAME? DON'T WORRY!
Don't limit your search to just the big name cruises. If you want to go on Disney, you'll have a great time - but it will cost you a fortune. If you want a cheap and cheerful cruise - family friendly - Carnival has a great kids club and offers cheaper prices. Be sure to sign up for their newsletter - and they will send you amazing deals - usually on 3 and 4 day cruises from $229. But, if you really want a cheap deal - go for a name you have never heard of. Our favourite cruise line right now is
They are a Spanish cruise line that offer a good standard, all the amenities of the big lines, but instead of being on a ship with 3-4,000 other people, you may be on a ship with 1,500. A couple of other great advantages with PULLMANTUR is that they offer FREE DRINKS - which could save you a fortune - and drinks are not offered with regular cruise lines. Also, if you time it right (at least 3 months ahead of the cruise) you can often get FREE CHILD places, or 50% OFF CHILD places. Last summer we did one of their Mediterranean Cruises where it cost us $250 each, and our 6 year old was FREE! What a deal. We visited Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Sicily and Malta. It was amazing. This summer we are using PULLMANTUR for the 15 day Transatlantic cruise which stops in Panama, Columbia, Aruba, St Maartin, Madeira and Lisbon. All for $350 per person!
Right now! (May 2019) Pullmantur is offering 50% off companion fares if you book more than 90 days in advance!
BE VERY FLEXIBLE
Let the deals determine the journey! Don't decide you have to leave from Los Angeles because that will limit where you can go - Mexico! Be willing to fly cheap to Miami, or Louisiana, or New York - wherever the cheapest deal is being offered. Be flexible about where you want to go - try something new if the price is right. Be willing to go off season. But, most of all, be willing to book at the last minute - within a month to get the best price.
DON'T BOOK EXCURSIONS
Unless your cruise line is the only way to get a particular excursion (and it usually isn't!) - Book the same tour yourself and save at least 50%. We have done this for years, and have had amazing experiences. Like on a Catalina Island Cruise where I saved 50% off the what the cruise line was asking to go Snorkeling. I didn't fancy doing it with 50 other people. So, I walked into Avalon town and booked my own tour with 3 other people. I got to swim with Reef Sharks! It was amazing.
When I book a cruise, I look at the tours being offered, then I google those same events. You can usually find a couple of operators at least who are prepared to offer you the same experience for half the price. The other way to find great tours at cruise ship locations is to visit
We recommend them for discounted tours and excursions. They negotiate great deals with local operators and pass the savings on to you. We have used them in many places and not had any issues whatsoever. And, we've saved lots of money!
MINI CRUISES AND FERRIES
A great way to cruise for less is to go on a mini cruise. These 3 to 4 night cruises travel twice a week, almost year round from LA to Mexico, and from Ft Lauderdale, Miami and Jackson, FL to the Bahamas, the Caribbean and Mexico. You will find amazing deals if you are willing to book within 3 months, and often even cheaper just one month from the cruise. These prices vary - but we have found them as low as $199, but often around $229 per person. Again, the best places to find these deals are:
Cruise Direct Mini Cruises Start at under $100
CARNIVAL IS OFFERING SOME GREAT MINI CRUISES FROM
3 Day Baja Mexico - $209
4 Day Western Caribbean - $269
5 Day Western Caribbean - $329
SCANDANAVIAN FERRIES - TO RUSSIA AND ESTONIA!
Don't be put off by the idea of travelling on a ferry. Many of them offer cruise line type facilities including overnight rooms, entertainment, restaurants and shops. You don't have to take a car - and they are really cheap! Many European ferries charge less than $100 for a family of 4! That includes the room. You can do a Baltic Cruise from Finland, that takes you to Tallin, Estonia or to St Petersburg, Russia. Yes, you really can go to Russia - VISA FREE - if you go on a ferry. Going any other way will require a Visa - and they take time and effort and money. Two days Visa FREE in St Petersburg is a great way to get a taste of Russia. It's an amazing city, and like I said, it cost our family just $100 for 4 people.
Here's some of the ferry lines we recommend from Finland.