Taking the family or your significant other on a cruise doesn’t have to break the bank. There are a lot of ways you can cut costs without missing out on all the fun. When it comes to cheap cruises, you just need a few tricks and a little flexibility to fit the perfect vacation into your budget.

Book at the Right Time
One of the most important things to remember when booking a cruise is to consider multiple dates and options. For example, if you travel during the school year, just before Thanksgiving, or during other off-season times you can find better rates than during the summer.

If you have room for flexibility, you may be able to snag the best deals of all. Usually, a section of rooms on the cruise ship is purchased by travel agencies who plan to sell them to their clients. Between 60 and 90 days before the cruise, those rooms that the travel agencies or cruise ship company have not sold will become available at a deeply discounted rate. Their number one goal is to fill rooms and get people on board because empty rooms mean fewer onboard purchases and tips.

Watch For Prices To Drop After Booking
If you have planned ahead and already booked your dream cruise, you may still be able to get a great deal. Keep an eye on the price your cruise is selling for and contact the company if you see a better deal than what you paid. You may be able to get your money back, probably in the form of onboard credit, which can be used for food and other great cruise perks.

Check Discount Sites
Look on sites like Groupon and LivingSocial for slashed prices on great cruises. If you watch these sites frequently, you may also discover great bundle deals or excursion opportunities to include in your vacation. There are also travel membership clubs like inCruises that help people save money on cruises.

Bundle Airfare, Food, and Excursions
Look for bundles through travel companies or discount sites that include more than just the cruise. It is not uncommon to find airfare included in the price per person or even a meal plan. Also, travel agencies can sometimes create customized bundles to include certain excursions or other benefits.

Bring Everyone
Another great way to save money on a cruise or vacation is to invite everyone! Group rates are usually better because the cruise company or travel agent knows they will be filling a lot of rooms and getting a lot of people on board. Consider bringing the whole family or a group of friends. The more the merrier, right?

Be a Super Fan
Choose a few of your favorite cruise or travel companies and follow their every move. Most companies have email offers, rewards programs, and social media sites they use to keep consumers informed of potential travel opportunities.

Find out if your preferred cruise company has an email list and sign up to receive their latest updates and news. You’ll be among the first to know when they offer a great deal and may even be given exclusive offers. Watch their social media accounts to see posts about locations, dates, and discounts. “Like” and comment on posts to keep them in your newsfeed.

Join rewards programs
Many companies offer rewards programs for repeat customers. If you know will be using a company multiple times, or even if it’s just a possibility, find out if they have a program for members. Learn about the rules and benefits and start stacking points to use on your next trip!

This list should give you a pretty good idea of what you can do to find a great deal on your next cruise. If you have any more ideas, leave them in the comments below.

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