Travel SOS: How do you find the best value cruises?

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Robert is confused by all the cruise offers that he sees and wants to know how to find the best value.

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Q. Robert
I see so many cruise offers around, but am finding it hard to find the one that really offers the best value. Should I look for the one with the cheapest base price, or is it cheaper to book a more expensive cruise with more inclusions? I find comparison sites very confusing as well. What is the best way to find a cheap cruise, without being ripped off when paying for extras?

cruise ship floats at night

A. You are right that it can be very tricky to compare cruise offers.

If you are looking to save money on a cruise, one of the most important decisions you can make is choosing a cruise that leaves and returns to Australia, as this will automatically knock out the price of airfares required to start your journey. If you live in a major capital city, you can look for a cruise that departs and returns to your home port to save money on domestic airfares as well.

On some liners, gratuities, special restaurants, activities and on-shore excursions cost extra, while on others they’re included in your base fare. So it is important to make sure that you are comparing like with like.

Consumer group CHOICE has an excellent guide for first-time cruises that can help guide you through a lot of these decisions.

Comparison sites can help you find some great deals but it is important to cross check the information to make sure the deal matches your expectations.

Firstly, you should always check any deal from a comparison site to see if you can find a better deal directly with the cruise line.

While some sites offer lowest price guarantees, these may not include offers that give you extras like onboard credit or vouchers, so it is important to read the fine print.

Not all comparison sites compare all the cruise lines available, so it can be useful to try using two or three comparison sites to ensure you have access to all the information possible.

Do you have any tips for finding the best cruise deals?

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4 Comments

Total Comments: 4
  1. 0
    0

    My wife and I cruise 3 to 4 times a year, the type of cruise you do depends on lots of things, but as pointed out in the article not all comparison sites give you the best prices, most cruise lines have great entertainment, Princess cruises are one of the best for evening entertainment, they often have two venues that you can go to which are at opposite ends of the ship and there are two sessions, this caters very well for early and late diners, with Princess and P&O all of your charges are in Aussie dollars and gratuities are included in your price, Royal Caribbean are one of the few that still have a big band for their shows and this is our preferred brand, Princess, P&O and carnival seem to cater for children more. There are some good cruise agents, the best two I have used are Cruise 1st and Ozcruising, for cruising that includes flights I have always found Cruise 1st to be the best and quite often their price including flights and accomodation is cheaper than the cruise only price of other companies, but you need to check as many different sites as you can, I only use Australian sites, one of the catches to watch out for is that the advertised price includes the taxes, there is one American mob that includes the tax after tempting you with a cheap price vacations to go so you need to watch that if using them. Hope that’s of some help.

  2. 0
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    I went on a Royal Caribbean cruise with a friend from school. Some people on board had special dietary requirements that needed no cross contamination from other types at all. They have a special separate kitchen in which to prepare special meals for those who need them, essential for those who need not risk of direct or indirect contact with other food or drinks. If you use a different restrurant for a couple of nights instead of the one that you are waited on tables as soon as you get the entrance the waiters are immediately advised that there is special dietary needs for that group. They were recognised even though that was thousands of people onboard When possible they allocate the same waiter to that persons’ table.
    There is also some of the cruise companies that offer the same special service. Some are more reliable than others

  3. 0
    0

    I went on a Royal Caribbean cruise with a friend from school. Some people on board had special dietary requirements that needed no cross contamination from other types at all. They have a special separate kitchen in which to prepare special meals for those who need them, essential for those who need not risk of direct or indirect contact with other food or drinks. If you use a different restrurant for a couple of nights instead of the one that you are waited on tables as soon as you get the entrance the waiters are immediately advised that there is special dietary needs for that group. They were recognised even though that was thousands of people onboard When possible they allocate the same waiter to that persons’ table.
    There is also some of the cruise companies that offer the same special service. Some are more reliable than others

  4. 0
    0

    Costs are factors but also where do one wants to go. How long has one got to be away from home. At te moment we are on a HAL cruise in Fiji and loving it. Not cheap but then we have an internet package as well so we do not have to chase free wifi in every port without seeing the sights. Shore excursions can eat into expenses as well, so look what you are getting yourself involved in before booking everything up. Stick to the established dining facilities and do not eat in speciality restaurants. Our dining room and Lido fare is quite good and we do take in Happy Hour every day in our favorite bar.
    Everything said in above article is common sense. If you do not care where you want to go take late cruise offerings. We want a balcony midship cabin and always have to book earlier to get one. Inside state rooms won’t do it for me, might as well stay in a hotel, a cruise for me is a look at the sea.


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