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23 Money Saving Cruise Tips!

The key to choosing the right cruise at the right price is finding a knowledgeable cruise agency and cruise counselor. The agency must be "connected" to receive the latest information, and counselors need to be constantly up-to-date with the latest promotions from both advertised and unadvertised specials.

Constantly throughout the day Cruise Brokers International watches for the best deals, then passes those savings on to you. The more flexible you are with your dates, the better the deals we can get you.

Here are 23 other ways to find cruise discounts that are currently available to savvy consumers:

What is the most affordable time to take a cruise?
2-for-1 specials - or second passenger cruise free
Better than 2-for-1
50% - 80% off second passenger
Early Booking Discounts
Kids sail free or 3rd/4th-passenger cruise for reduced rates
Repositioning cruises
Added Value
Free Days
Flat Rate Specials
Free Upgrades
Reduced rate or free air add-ons
Regional Programs
Discount for full payment in advance
Alumni Discounts
Group Discounts
Discounts for combination or back to back cruises
Reduced Single Rates
Instant Payment Discounts
Credit Card Promotions
Airline Frequent Flyer Programs
Senior Citizen Specials
First-Time Cruisers' Discount

What is the most affordable time to take a cruise?

If your schedule is flexible and you are looking for the very least expensive time to take a Caribbean cruise, then consider sailing between the end of August and the sailing before Christmas, but not over Christmas and Thanksgiving. Most families have children that are back to school and people begin saving vacation time for holiday travel. Usually this is when you'll find the senior citizen rate specials and any regional promotion, past passenger promotion, or last minute deal. Winter, Spring and Summer are your most busy time for the Caribbean. 

Other destinations depend on their season. Refer to What is the best time to take a cruise? (hyperlink) under the Q&A's General section. Generally the shoulder seasons will be your best opportunity for savings.

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2-for-1 specials - or second passenger cruise free:

This is one of the best cruise discounts currently available to consumers. 2-for-1's are offered on a consistent but selective basis by many cruise lines including: Princess, Holland America, Premier, Royal Olympic, Costa. Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean and Celebrity do not typically advertise 2-for-1's, but their promotional pricing can be equivalent to a 2-for-1 discount. Generally 2-for1's are for the cruise only, but on rare occasions they include air from select cities.

Princess has more 2-for-1's than any other cruise line but they are usually regional offers so the cruise agency must be informed enough to know where the deals are. These offers are capacity controlled and may be withdrawn without notice. They are often offered on a "last minute" basis, 7- 60 days prior to a sailing. However, for longer more exotic sailings, 2-for-1's are sometimes available up to a year in advance.

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Better than 2-for-1:

Occasionally Princess or Holland America will offer a 2-for-1, plus an additional $250-$500 per person off. These offers tend to be on the longer, more exotic sailings.

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50% - 80% off second passenger:

This is another way for a cruise line to offer a 25% - 35% discount per person for a specific sailing. There is usually an expiration date to these offers. Commonly used by Holland America, Cunard, Orient Lines and Costa.

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Early Booking Discounts:

Early booking cut-off dates are popular with Holland America, Princess, Crystal, Silversea and Seabourn. Many other lines have some equivalent which are capacity controlled and can be withdrawn without notice. These include Carnival (SuperSavers), Disney Cruise Lines, Holland America (CS Rates), Princess (Love Boat Savers), Norwegian Cruise Line (Leadership Fares), Royal Caribbean International (Breakthrough Rates), Costa (Andiamo Rates), and Premier (SeaFares), to name a few.

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Kids sail free or 3rd/4th passenger cruise for reduced rates:

Some promotions are specifically for kids. American Hawaii has offered a "kids cruise free" rate when two accompanying adults pay full fare. Reduced rate 3rd/4th passengers is popular with Premier, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Costa, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Princess.

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Repositioning cruises:

Cruise lines often change itineraries and destinations to take advantage of seasons throughout the world. For example, they may cruise Europe, Bermuda or Alaska in the summer and shoulder seasons, Canada/New England in the Fall, Antarctica, South Pacific and South America in the late fall and winter months, and so on. Some repositioning cruises are deeply discounted with 2-for-1 savings. 

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Added Value:

Offers may include "Book a 14-day cruise and get 7 days free". Others may include free shore excursions or a free or greatly reduced pre- or post-cruise hotel room. Commonly used by Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America, Cunard, Costa, Renaissance Cruises and Orient Lines.

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Free Days:

Similar to the "added value" category mentioned above. Commonly used by Holland America and Renaissance.

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Flat Rate Specials:

Flat rate specials usually give one fixed price for the best available cabin at the time of booking. There is usually one flat rate for inside, oceanview, or oceanview with balcony cabins. The offers are usually for the cruise only, but airfare may be offered for an additional price. Commonly used by Princess and Norwegian Cruise Line.

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Free Upgrades:

Popular with Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Upgrades are usually from an inside to an inside cabin, or an oceanview to an oceanview cabin, excluding suites and sometimes oceanview cabins with balconies. Most of these upgrades are unadvertised and may be withdrawn without notice.

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Reduced rate or free air add-ons:

Air add-on rates are offered by many cruise lines in conjunction with their cruise only rates. Sometimes, special promotions are offered where the air is reduced. For example, an air rate of $349 from Chicago to Miami may be reduced to $149 per person. In some cases, a promotion may be featured in which the quoted air add-on rate is waived and offered free. Commonly used by Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian Cruise Line and Holland America.

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Regional Promotions:

Cruise lines may offer special reduced prices for residents of certain States. Commonly used by Holland America and Princess.

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Discount for full payment in advance:

Popular with Silversea and Seabourn. For example, consumers who pay in full for their cruise at least 6 months in advance of sailing can receive a 15% discount.

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Alumni Discounts:

Past passenger discounts and promotions are becoming more and more popular. Many lines have some program in place which offers extra discounts to their past passengers. Especially popular with Princess, Holland America, Crystal, Seabourn and Silversea.

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Group Discounts:

There are two kinds: 
1) Affinity groups that travel together such as family reunions, religious groups, clubs/associations, corporate/incentive meetings, etc. receive group discounts as well as the free berths, depending on the number of passengers. (An example of a free berth would be 1-person cruises free for every 15 paying adult passengers. Airfare, port charges and taxes are excluded.)

2) Agencies, such as Cruise Brokers International have reserved group space on select sailings to destinations around the world. By linking onto these sailings, individual cruise passengers can take advantage of rates that are normally afforded only to those traveling in a group.

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Discounts for combination or back to back cruises:

Used by Cunard, Holland America, Seabourn, Orient Lines and Silversea. Book one week and get the second week for a reduced rate.

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Reduced single rates:

Single cruise passengers traveling along typically pay 125-200% of the double occupancy rate. Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian Cruise Line and Cunard have a limited number of single occupancy cabins at reduced rates. Some lines offer "Single Share" programs where you are matched with a cabin-mate of the same gender. You pay the lower double occupancy rate even if they fail to find you a roommate. "Single Shares" are offered on a limited basis by Holland America, Carnival, Celebrity, Cunard, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess and Royal Caribbean. Infrequently, some lines offer special discounts just for single. 

You may wish to consider joining a "singles cruise club" with a minimal annual membership fee allowing you the opportunity to travel with other singles. Most of the time they can match you up to share a cabin with a roommate of the same gender.

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Instant Payment Discounts:

Great discounts for passengers willing to pay in full at the time of booking or within 48 hours. Popular with Norwegian Cruise Line, Premier and Renaissance.

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Credit Card Promotions:

Some credit card companies offer additional savings, shipboard credits or frequent flyer miles when you pay for your cruise in full with that credit card.

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Airline Frequent Flyer Programs:

From time to time, some airline frequent flyer programs may offer reduced pricing promotions with bonus frequent flyer points.

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Senior Citizen Specials:

Reduced rates for seniors on select sailings are commonly used by Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Costa and Norwegian Cruise Line. One passenger in the cabin must be at least 55 years old to receive the discounts.

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First-Time Cruisers' Discount:

Seabourn has offered discounts up to $500 per person to passengers booking the line for the first time. 

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