The best cruises if you are on a tight budget

The perception that cruises are expensive or a luxurious holiday that can only be appreciated by the rich is the wrong one.

However, it is difficult to try and pin ‘budget’ to a cruise operator. Unlike Ryanair or Easyjet and others from the airline industry, where you can take budget flights from these budget airline operators, you can not walk into a travel agency, or search online for a budget cruise.

But, there are plenty of ways to take your cruise without having to take out a small personal loan to do so.

Times are tough, but that can be a good thing as cruise operators are able to offer some incredible deals to ensure they reach their maximum cruise liner capacity. Use this to your advantage, by first checking out the more established cruise operators with older, less flashy, cruise liners.

First of all, check out the established, more contemporary cruise operators like Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival and Royal Caribbean on the Cruise 1st cruise holidays. All of these will offer their latest cruise liners, but they also still regularly use their older vessels. There is not much between them, the more recently built vessels may have more bells and whistles than their older, more established counterparts, but they will offer very similar entertainment and activities.

There are three areas that you need to investigate to save you money on your cruise; these can be broken down into: budget cruise lines, budget itineraries and budget seasons. If you look hard enough, you will find at least one that can save you money, or potentially all three that would obviously save you the most.

Budget Cruise Lines

As previously mentioned, there really is not such a thing as a budget cruise line, but you can consider looking at a few of the established cruise line operators, and their older vessels, for their most competitive rates.

These rates are often a lot lower than rates on their newer vessels, and the main reasons for this are the variety of on board activities, dining options and amount of venues, current passenger types (this will become more apparent later) and the technology, gadgets and gimmicks on board.

Voyages of Discovery

This is about as budget as a cruise can get. However, it does boast a longer than average cruise duration. The cruise is catered for retirees, who take a bigger interest in the destinations and less interest in the on board activities.

The vessel was refurbished in 2003 and is in a great condition. It does lack all the bells and whistles of a more modern cruise liner, but if the passengers are more interested in the educating talks than in rock climbing facilities, then it is a perfect choice.

The accommodation is basic and the dining service simple, it also has few public spaces.

The Voyages of Discovery is just one example, there are plenty more out there to be found. So, it is important that you can do your research before you go book.

 Budget Itineraries

When you are looking at getting the cheapest possible rate, then certain itineraries stand out. The lowest rates tend to be the shortest cruises, with the highest percentage of days and nights out at sea.

Weekend Cruises

Try and keep an eye out for weekend cruises. You may not find weekend cruises being available during certain seasons; however they are likely to pop up and be available every now and again.

Some cruise operators will offer one or two nights for very little, but bear in mind that you will not go that far during that time. However, if it is more about enjoying the cruise experience, you can certainly get your money’s worth of food, activities and entertainment within this time.

If you are considering a shorter, weekend cruise, then you need to be open about the destinations that you call in.

3 and 4 Night Cruises

These shorter cruises are certainly more readily available than weekend cruises. Some cruise line operators offer entire seasons of short cruises. Yes, they are on older vessels, but just like weekend cruises, you will be so busy trying to do all the free on board activities, taking part in the on board entertainment, and eating all the free food that you can handle, to notice that your cabin is not as nice as the last ‘around the world’ cruise you took.

These shorter cruises also attract a number of younger guests, so there is still plenty of entertainment available. However, this entertainment may be slightly more tailored to these younger guests.

If your budget is tight, expect to make a few small sacrifices along the way.

Repositioning Cruises

These cruises are strictly one way, but you can save a fortune if you can plan another leg of your holiday at your arrival point.

Repositioning cruises are where the cruise liner will arrive at a certain port and drop off its passengers, before making its way across to another port to depart from.

There are some excellent rates available for these cabins, so it is well worth checking out.

Budget Seasons

If you have a particular destination in mind and want to save some money in the process, take a look for season discounts. Think about, or enquire about, taking your cruise at the beginning or end of the cruising season. It is these times that tend to be best for your budget.

Another season option to look at is to look at departure ports elsewhere. However, this is a real balancing act between the airfares to get to your new departure port, and the price of departing during a busier peak season.

There are some parts of the world that do not get cold, even during the winter months. In Europe, the Mediterranean can still be warm, calm and pleasant. This means that both your on board experience and your onshore experience will still be great.

As you can see there are plenty of ways in which you can save money on your cruise, just expect to make compromises yourself.

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