How To Get The Best Deal On A Cruise

Getting The Best Deal

Cabin credits (Important!)

Because of certain cruise line rules (especially on RCL and Celebrity), agents may offer you onboard credits instead of a lower price. What exactly does this mean?

  • A “cabin credit” is money placed in your shipboard account to be used for tips, drinks, excursions, etc.–anything you can charge while on board.
  • “Spa credits”, “shore excursion credits” and “casino credits” indicate that are for specific services, but in reality they can be used for any onboard expense. You can even redeem a credit in the casino, redeem it for chips, and–if you don’t feel like gambling – just convert your chips into cash.

Sometimes you’ll need to contact the agency to find out the amount of the credits (cruise line rules again). Be sure to do this–it can pay off in big savings for you!

Already Booked Directly with A Cruise Line? You Can Still Do Better.

Up until final payment, cruise lines are happy to transfer your booking to a travel agent with no cost or penalty. If you’re already booked directly with the line, put in a quote request and include in the comments exactly what you’re paying with the line and that you are looking for an agency to take over the booking.

When You Go Is As Important as Where You Go.

When is the best time to go on a cruise? From a cost perspective, it’s whenever kids are in school. Holidays, spring break, and summer vacation are the most expensive times of the year. Non-vacation times are much better, often as much as 50%-60% off of peak rates. The least expensive time of the year is generally early December, or even the week before Christmas.


Heidi Allison-Shane is the Editor-At-Large of  AllThingsCruise.