Cruising your way past fairytale villages in France or around the glorious islands of the Caribbean might sound like a luxury trip that’s way beyond your means, but it’s perfectly possible to land an affordable cruise deal if you know what you’re looking for.
There’s no doubt about it, cruise is hot right now. The sheer abundance of creative itineraries and the widening of the cruise market to appeal to an increasingly younger crowd means that the various cruise companies are battling it out to win your custom. If there was ever a time for a cruise aficionado to strike for a budget bargain or a first-timer to hop aboard for a smaller fee, it’s now!
First things first, the time of year you choose to cruise is a crucial factor when bagging a bargain. If you’ve set your sights on a particular part of the world, do your research and find out when the peak cruising season takes place. Then book your trip in shoulder-season to avoid the highest prices. True, you might have to compromise on the weather, but when you’re counting up that stack of pennies and revelling in the lack of crowds at port stops, you’ll realise it’s worth it.
There are several levels of cruise holidays ranging from the affordable to high-end luxury. However, there are a few companies that focus their offering on value for money rather than all the bells and whistles that come along with a higher price-tag.
If you’re child-free, then Cruise & Maritime Voyages are a good place to start. Their speciality is adults-only, no-fly cruises and they cater almost exclusively to Brits with a variety of departure ports, including Dundee, Liverpool, Tilbury and Avonmouth. The ships offer an excellent range of accommodation so that passengers can set their experience according to their budget, whether they’re looking for a fancy-pants suite with a balcony or a cosy, interior cabin with just enough space to swing a cat. The best budget-friendly factor about Cruise & Maritime Voyages is the fact they frequently offer last-minute getaways which have been known to cut already low-cost fares by up to 60%. You also stand a good chance of picking up a ‘buy one, get one free’ cruise deal, allowing you and that special someone to enjoy a holiday together for the price of a single trip.
Another popular option is Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, a company that has long been appreciated by the more mature traveller and which also offers affordable fares by cutting out the flights abroad. Fred. Olsen can also boast that they offer cruise trips from the highest number of ports in the UK, so whether you’re looking to set sail from Belfast or Southampton, you’ll be covered.
Finally, the mighty Norwegian Cruise Line also offers some fantastic and family-friendly deals with on-board entertainment ranging from bowling alleys to full-scale musical theatre productions – just the thing to keep all ages entertained. The smaller ships tend to offer the cheapest fares, though bear in mind this is a non-UK cruise line, so you might need to fly to some destinations. Keep an eye out for their last-minute breaks and deals of the week by signing up to their newsletter.
The cheapest cruises are going to be the shorter trips and those that spend a greater number of days at sea. Cruises from the UK to the sunny Canary Islands tend to boast some of the best deals, plus the balmy climes of the Canaries make it a year-round destination even when much of the rest of Europe is knee-deep in winter. The spectacular natural scenery of Madeira also makes for an excellent budget cruise destination. Both these regions experience a price hike over Christmas and New Year, so avoid these special occasions in order to get the most bang for your buck.
Although saving money whilst travelling is a key consideration for some, travel insurance is one area you should not scrimp on. An unexpected illness or accident could not only put a dampener on your holiday, it could leave you severely out of pocket. Play it safe and find the right plan for your circumstances with Medical Travel Compared and our easy-to-use online comparison service. Enter your details and get your travel insurance quote today.