Many clients always ask how to get the best price for a cruise. In general, the best way is to book early and keep checking pricing. Sometimes though it isn’t possible to book when the pricing first is available. Cruise lines typically release their schedules up to two years in advance.
There is another way that can also save you and in some cases will be a lower price than was originally available when the cruise date opened. Many cruise lines have a Future Cruise Sales person or department that is available onboard your cruise to book a future cruise date. Some cruise lines will give you complementary upgrades, deposit discounts, room discounts or even onboard credits for your future sailing if you book while you are on your current sailing.
You are going on a cruise but don’t know when you are going to cruise again. You’re out of luck, right? Wrong! Many lines also offer an option to book a future cruise credit or a “dummy” date. What this does is it gives you the promotion offered (or another offer) that you can apply to a new date as soon as you know when you want to go.
On some lines, like Norwegian Cruise Line, you will purchase a Cruise Reward. You pay a set amount for the reward (or deposit per person for some other lines) and you get a certificate that can be used for a future cruise deposit. Some of these have an expiration date, others do not. When you book your next cruise, you or your travel agent will contact the cruise line and have your Cruise Reward applied to the deposit. The cruise line agrees to accept the cost of the Cruise Reward as your deposit in the future. In our case with NCL, we paid $250 for the Cruise Reward and can apply that to a future sailing. If the deposit due is more than $250, we don’t have to pay it at the time of the booking (it is not discounted off the cost of the cruise, just a lower deposit is required).
Other lines will have you book a specific date to get the promotion. At Royal Caribbean, you can select either a confirmed date or a non-confirmed future sailing. With Disney Cruise Line, you must book a future sailing, but you can change the sailing date as many times as you wish. The discount and onboard credit will move with the reservation.
It is important to note that you must complete this transaction while onboard the ship to receive the promotion. If you wait until you get home, the deal will not longer be available to book.
The best part is you can select your travel agent at the time of booking. By doing this you save yourself some time (filling out transfer forms). Some travel agents offer booking incentives such as onboard credits when you book with them. When you name the agency onboard as your agency of choice, you qualify for both the cruise line’s promotion AND the travel agency’s offer. Keep in mind, while you might be able to transfer your reservation to a travel agent after the cruise is over, some agencies will not give you the full amount of their offer. This is because some of the cruise lines will withhold a portion of the commission. If the agency is making less in commission, there is less money to offer you in an onboard credit. Also keep in mind that some cruise lines have a limit to the length of time you have to transfer a reservation (some are as soon as 30 days after booking).
If you are not using a travel agent on your current cruise or using a travel agent that you are not happy with, you can still name another agent at the time of booking. Give us a chance to help you with your future cruise sailings. You’ll be happy you did! Not only will you receive our Customer Loyalty onboard credit, you will also get great customer service from one of our agents. Our agents have experience with many different cruise lines, not only booking and servicing them, but also cruising them as well. While our onboard credits are not the highest in the industry, our top-notch service makes up for it. Let us know if you have any questions about booking your future sailing onboard, we’re happy to help!