Cruise lines are offering special fares this week (Photo: MSC)
October is great for lots of things: looking at fall foliage, watching postseason baseball, trick-or-treating, and cruising.
“October is a great month for cruising,” says travel expert Stewart Chiron, aka “The Cruise Guy.” He notes that this is the time of year when major cruise lines tend to reposition their ships from their summer European routes to their fall and winter Caribbean journeys. “That’s going to bring more ships to more people,” Chiron says.
Cruise lines are also going to bring more travel deals as well. The 26 members of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) are lining up lots of deals this week to entice more summer vacationers to extend their revelry into fall. CLIA calls it “The World’s Largest Cruise Sale.”
But cruisers beware: No two deals are alike. A cruise line might distract you with a nice, shiny fare discount, only to slip several bucks out of your back pocket. ”They may give you a $50 shipboard credit, but the price could be a couple hundred dollars more for that cabin,” Chiron warns. “I’m suggesting people properly understand what the offers are and not get fooled by these sleight-of-hand tricks.”
So as you navigate these fall discounts, just do a common-sense cost-benefit analysis. “People have to look at the bottom-line cost of the cruise to determine what the best deal is for them,” Chiron says.
With those caveats in mind, let’s check out some of the offers cruise lines are rolling out this week.
NCL’s discount comes via onboard credits. (Photo by Franz Neumeier)
Norwegian Cruise Line: NCL is offering 10 percent off its cruise fares, but the savings come in the form of onboard credits for specialty dining, shore excursions, or spa treatments. The line also offers a $100 onboard credit per person for specialty sailings, and $300 in onboard credits on select itineraries.
Carnival Cruise Lines: Carnival is offering 50 percent reduced deposits. Also included: a two-category upgrade, plus a $50 onboard credit per stateroom.
Disney Cruise Line: Mickey Mouse and Co. are offering a $100 onboard credit on select 7-Night Western Caribbean Cruises.
Royal Caribbean International: Call your travel buddy. With Royal Caribbean’s offer, you pay one guest fare, and a second guest gets 50 percent off and 5 percent off the cruise line’s ChoiceAir fare bookings.
Royal Caribbean’s deal could soon have you zip-lining across RC’s “Allure of the Seas.” (Photo: Royal Caribbean)
Princess Cruises: Enjoy 30 percent off bookings, plus free gratuities and Onboard Spending Money for balcony staterooms and above.
MSC Cruises: MSC is offering balcony staterooms at ocean-view rates for select sailings in both the Caribbean and Europe. Those who book its “Fantastica Experience” get a complimentary drink package; free gratuities are offered on select Caribbean sailings.
Upgrade to a better cabin on MSC. (Photo: MSC)
Cunard: This offer is for transatlantic crossings aboard the Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2: Get up to $175 per stateroom in onboard credit.
Paul Gauguin Cruises: The luxury cruise line is offering a $100 onboard credit per person and 50 percent off standard all-inclusive cruise fares on voyages aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin and the m/v Tere Moana. Airfare from Los Angeles is included on m/s Paul Gauguin itineraries.
Related: Surviving the Cruise Ship Buffet
Avalon River Cruises: Avalon is offering savings of $1,300 per couple for river cruises in Europe.
Hurtigruten: Hurtigruten is offering 10 percent off current price levels on Norway Coastal Voyages on new 2014 and 2015 bookings.