Look for breakaway cruise travel deals on these websites, but hurry, these deals may sail away before you know it!
Look for breakaway cruise travel deals on these websites, but hurry, these deals may sail away before you know it!
Sunday, September 25, 2011, 9:30 AM
By Raye and Marty Trencher, Editors and Publishers
Cruise Traveler Magazine
----These days Flash , 24hour and 3 Day Cruise Sales are all the rage. Royal Caribbean was among the many cruise lines featured recently by cruise travel websites that feature flash sales. So was Carnival, Princess, Holland America and Norwegian cruise lines.
Booking a cruise months ahead of time may get you a better choice of cabin availability, but if price is what drives your cruise travel decision then last minute cruise deals are your salvation.
Welcome to a whole new world of Internet cruise travel bargain websites, where Flash, 24hour and 3 Day Cruise Sales drive the business. Such limited-time offers use the calendar and the clock to count down the time you have left to book your favorite cruise.
We scoured the Internet, impartially shopped for you, and came up with 6 web sites that will sell you deals for cruises, cruisetours and shore excursions. Five take you directly to the cruise lines official web sites and the sixth takes you to a site where you can compare rates side-by-side from as many as 5 of the largest internet based sellers of travel.
A word of caution about this article -- the information was correct at the time it was published. However, due to the subject matter, the deals mentioned could very well have expired. That's how fast things are happening in the cruise business these days. So, don't delay. If a cruise is what you want to do on your vacation, take advantage of these cruise deals now.
Cruise Tip - If you know what you want, have done your homework, then book your cruise quick, online or over the phone. Take too much time, and either way, it may sail away before you know it.
Our 6 Favorites
So, here are 6 web sites to look for cruise travel bargains. Just be sure to compare all offers, from among several web sites, and always, before you put any money down, read the fine print. Many of these offers have rule and restrictions. Most require full payment or a deposit at the time of booking, and once paid may be non-refundable.
1. The Sales Event: Royal Caribbean has a weekly set of last minute deals they call the "Sales Event". Discounts of as much as 70% off their published brochure rates are not uncommon. Promoted as "sizzling savings help you cool down at seas" we found a 4 night Western Caribbean cruise for $299. per person plus tax ( inside cabin ), a 7 night Alaska cruise for $609, a 15 night Suez canal cruise for $829, a 10 night Hawaii cruise for as low as $1099. 7 night Canada and New England for $499 and the biggest bargain of them all: a 14 night transatlantic cruise for $479!
Cruise Tip: All rates shown in this article are for inside cabins, based on double occupancy and rates will be higher for outside, balcony and suite accommodations. Not all sailing dates to the same destination are priced the same. Not all cabins of the same type are priced the same. You need to closely examine all the cruise deals, take note of any hidden fees and taxes to compare apples to apples. So, be sure to do your due diligence and read all the fine print before booking a cruise.
Open their site, look for the "deals and gifts" tab, click on "hot deals" and away you go, should you want to visit Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Bermuda, Canada and New England, Northern Europe, the Greek Isles and other Mediterranean ports of call.
Or, you could take a combination land and sea tour, known as a cruise tour of Alaska for $1539. per person. Reserve up to Sept. 30, 2011, and receive a $200 onboard credit when you sail.
Perhaps soak in the sun on an Adriatic cruise and Enjoy up to a $2,000 credit when you also book a round-trip flight using Royal Caribbean's ChoiceAir® program.
Don't want to fly? Sail from a departure port close to home. Why not set sail from your own backyard? Take advantage of Royal Caribbean's exclusive resident rates to set sail on your vacation adventure.
Florida residents can cruise to destinations in the Bahamas and the Caribbean, plus many other getaways, practically from their own backyard. Ships depart from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Port Canaveral and Tampa.
And if the Tri-State Area may be home, it's also a good starting point for a Royal Caribbean cruise. Visit their web site to take advantage of their exclusive rates available to residents of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. Set sail from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in New Jersey to tropical destinations in the Caribbean and Bermuda.
Here's a link to a Travel Agent that has over 2500 professionals working throughout the United Sates and Canada. Their web site specializes in Flash , 24hour and 3 Day Cruise Sales. With over 116 retail locations their website features a selection of more than 10,000 cruise and vacation options as well as shore excursions and other travel products at some of the best price available. Their collection of TOP100 Cruises® highlights the most popular ships, departure dates and itineraries. Since they purchase large blocks of staterooms far in advance, their cruises often offer the lowest prices and additional bonuses such as onboard spending money and other value-added extras.
Whether you're researching your first cruise vacation, or you're an experienced cruiser, their team of professionally trained Cruise Consultants will match your tastes with the right cruise, at the best possible price. If you choose the convenience of booking directly on their website, they have Cruise Consultants that will still be there to answer any questions and to enhance your vacation with expert advice.
2. The 3 Day Sale - Right now, Princess Cruises is having an "Endless Summer Sale" but they post 3 Day Cruise Sales often, and brand them with catching names. Your best bet is to sign up for email alerts for the latest deals they offer. Getting advanced notice allows you to shop desired cruise vacation destinations, ahead of the crowd.
Some Examples: Classic Southern Caribbean: Roundtrip San Juan - 7 days $499. per person. plus a bonus of $25 shipboard credits. Other Caribbean cruises that depart from Ft. Lauderdale, similarly priced. California Coastal: Roundtrip Los Angeles - 7 days $499. per person. Alaska & Far East: From Beijing to Vancouver - 19 days $1549 per person. China & Japan: Roundtrip Sydney - 42 days $6595 per person.
Cruise Tip: Shipboard credits, where available from the cruise line, are house credits that are placed on your stateroom's account for you to use during your cruise vacation. You can use the credit towards merchandise, lounges and in some, but not all cases, for Spa Treatments or Shore Excursions.
Open their site, look for the "search for cruises and fares" box, click on "start here" and your on your way, should you want to visit Asia, India and Africa, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Tahiti and the South Pacific, Canada and New England, Northern Europe, the Greek Isles and other Mediterranean ports of call.
3. The 72 Hour Sale - Who else but Carnival would come up up with this?
Get away, fast: Carnival sells 3, 4, 5, and 7 day getaways to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, you name it. Promoted as "A lot of paradise for a lot of vacation fun."
Carnival's offers include free cabin upgrades, reduced rates and bonus extra's.
The 72 Hour Sale offers are always changing, as this sale is frequently repeated. So take a look at what's offered this time around. If it's not what you're looking for, sign up for e-mail alerts, so next time you've got advanced notice of what's on offer.
Some examples: A 2 day Bahamas cruise for only $169 per person. 5 day Caribbean from $249 per person. 4 Day Baja Mexico from Los Angeles from $289. 7 Day Bermuda from Baltimore, $699. per person.
The early saver gets the fun! Book a Carnival cruise and save up to 20 percent.
Carnival invites cruise travelers to save up to 20 percent on their cruise vacation if they book early. With Carnival's "Early Saver" program and Price Protection, they guarantee you'll get the best rate. If you are ready to book, this option can save you some real money. Money you could put to paying for a shore excursion or spa treatment.
If you believe planning in advance pays off, especially if you are ready to book your cruise ahead of time, you'll receive Early Advantage benefits from Holland America that include up to 50% savings and best stateroom selection. Bring a friend or family member along and they’ll also enjoy free or reduced cruise fares for 3rd /4th guests sharing your stateroom. Some times as low as $99 each for bringing the kids along and for their 3 day sale they even offer 3rd/4th guests FREE, on select sailings.
Some examples: Caribbean Voyages: 7 Days from:$449. per person. Panama Canal Voyages, Roundtrip Ft. Lauderdale 10 Days from $699 per person New Zealand and Australia Voyages 14 Days from $999 per person. Europe Voyages 7 Days from: $899 per person.
5. The NOW sale - Norwegian Cruise line calls it's Flash sale, the NOW sale. Cruise travelers can get up to $250 shipboard credit, a reduced deposit and 3rd /4th guests sharing your stateroom for as low as $99 each.
Some Examples: 6 day Croatia and Greece from $699 per person. 7 Day Caribbean from an incredible $389 per person. 7 days Canada and New England $499 per person. 6 day Bermuda from $449. per person. Look for last minute cruises and hot deals under the "specials" tab at their web site.
For most web sites, it's nearly impossible to tell if you're getting a cruise deal or not. That's because there are many variables that affect the price and value of your cruise experience.
Ever cruise ship is different. Some are new, some are old. Some are big. Even gigantic, like the Oasis of the Seas with nearly 6,000 people on board. Others are more intimate, like Windstar's Wind Surf with 150 guests. Prices, onboard amenities, accommodations, entertainment all vary from ship to ship. The itinerary isn't often the same. It can be very confusing.
So, what if you were able to compare side-by-side all the variables for the same destination and number of days sailing. Would that help?
A good starting point to accomplish that goal is Cruise Connect,, to compare deals across multiple web sites all at once, to see what and who has the best deals. The site lets you compare cruises from brand-name cruise lines, view side-by-side comparisons of ships, the itinerary, cruise review, traveler rating, sailing dates, discount prices, special offers and cruise tips. you can view photo's of ships and staterooms, public areas and more. Check out the onboard activities and shore excursions. Compare cruise itineraries, ships and cabins, compare the cruise deals, read cruise ship reviews, then make a decision. The site allows you to shop among 30 Top name-brand cruise lines. The site is an aggregator of cruise and cruisetour bargain websites. An aggregator efers to a web site that aggregates specific types of information from multiple online sources.
This site lets you search for low fares for flash , 24hour , 3 Day cruise sales, close to home departures and multiple ports-of-call, get email alerts when destinations you're looking for go on sale, and see a list of low cruise fares that will at least let you know if you're close to getting a good deal. Also, you can compare price and cabin availability side-by-side.
Cruise Tip: So many deals, so little time: As we mentioned, these limited-time offers give you a lot to choose from, what with hundred's of cruises, and cruisetour vacations. So, to make your decision process as painless as possible, focus in on the deals that fit your lifestyle, budget and travel plans best. Don't jump at the cheapest price. Make sure the cruise ship you choose has the entertainment, atmosphere, dining options and ports of all that you value most. Not every cruise line attracts the same audience. So, if you want to party hardy, into the wee hours of the night, choose Carnival, not Holland America. Holland America tends to attract many more seniors and the bars and lounges tend to empty out early. On the other hand, if you want a classic cruise experience with a good mix of passengers of all ages, look at Princess.
There You Have It.
Our pick for the top 6 cruise travel web sites for flash , 24hour , 3 Day cruise sales
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