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5 Things You Should Avoid if You Want a VERY CHEAP Cruise (I Do All These)

If you are looking for a cheap cruise, there are lots of things to avoid that can push the prices up significantly!

We have all seen bargain offers, but when you come to book them, they are no longer available or have many extra charges attached.

Follow these hints and tips to get the best value for money – something I am always keen to do!

#1 Avoid Sailing In Peak Season

There Are a Few Things You Can do to Find a Cheaper Cruise:

  • Avoid the school holidays if at all possible.
    • Sometimes moving a cruise just by a week can have a dramatic impact on the price. The cruise may be £200 per person cheaper just by going a week earlier!
  • Cruise in the “Shoulder Season”
    • This is the period just before peak season, or just after.
    • In Europe it is far cheaper to sail in June or September, July and August are the most expensive times to sail.
  • Sail out of Season
    • It is often more pleasant to sail out of peak season – ports can be overwhelmed with thousands of cruise ship passengers. You will often find multiple ships at small ports like Santorini in the Greek Islands. It would be far more enjoyable if yours is in the only ship in port.
Celestyal Cruises Olympia Sunset Santorini
Multiple ships at the Greek Isle of Santorini. I arrived on the Greek Ship, Celestyal Olympia.

I took a cruise to the Greek Islands and Turkey on Celebrity Infinity in March.

In March in Greece, there is a 65% chance of a perfect sunny day – and a 35% chance of seeing a mixture of sunshine and clouds.

I knew I was taking a chance with the weather but just wanted to see some blue skies after months of darkness and rain in England.

The average temperature at Greece in March is 13 Degrees Celcius/ 55 Degrees Fahrenheit. We were very lucky and the weather reached temperatures up to the early 20’s (68 Degrees Fahrenheit.)

They weren’t as lucky on this itinerary the week before, apparently, there was bad weather and some port stops were cancelled as they were unable to tender to the ports.

Tendering in Greece from Celebrity Infinity
Tendering in Greece from Celebrity Infinity – beautiful blue skies.

#2 Avoid The Newest & Biggest Ships

  • The newest and largest cruise ships are in demand – so they command higher prices.
    • Cruise lines will not struggle to fill ships like Royal Caribbean’s “Icon Of The Seas” or Princess’s “Sun Princess” – they are booked out months in advance.
    • If you are happy to sail on one of the older ships in the fleet, the prices will be considerably cheaper.
    • Look out for “Sister ships.” Identical ships in the fleet may be sailing a similar itinerary for a cheaper price.
emma cruises black and green dress long maxi
Magic Carpet bar and tender platform – Celebrity Edge, a newer “Edge Class” Ship

I took a trip on Celebrity’s newer ship Celebrity Edge around the Mediterranean – my longer sailing to the Greek Islands on Celebrity Infinity was far far cheaper.

Find out about my trip on Celebrity Edge, and whether I thought it was worth the money here:

#3 Book At The Right Time

Book too early? The price may fall. Leave it too late? You may miss out completely! Knowing when to book a cruise can be tricky…

Generally speaking the cheapest time to book a cruise is as far in advance as possible (2-3 years sometimes) or last minute (60-90 days before the cruise).

  • At the 60-90 days pre-cruise mark there can be some great deals because this is when the cruise lines need the full payment from other guests.
    • They know for sure how many cabins they have left to sell. 
  • It’s always a risk though, there could be no cabins left or no price drops.
    • If you have your heart set on a particular cruise, just book it and pay the price.

#4 Avoid Unnecessary Upgrades

Cruise lines are always keen to sell you upgrades – often packaged up (with Wi-Fi and Drinks for example) to try and make it seem like an amazing deal.

Consider carefully whether you need Wi-Fi or a full drinks package – does that offer good value for you?

  • If you don’t really drink much alcohol you probably won’t drink enough to get your money’s worth.
  • If you are taking a port-intensive voyage, you might just want to use the mobile data on your phone to access the internet, then you won’t need the ship’s WiFi at all.
    • If you are from the UK you may find that you can use your phone in port in the Mediterranean at no additional cost.
    • Check your plan with your phone provider before you travel.

Remember, you can always use the Ships app Without buying a WiFi package. Find out more about that here:

You Don’t Need to Pay For Wi-Fi To Use a Cruise Line App – Here’s Why

A “Pay as you go” Coke Zero on Celebrity Infinity.

A soft drinks package on Celebrity costs around $40 a day – so it would have been around $440 for my eleven-day trip.

I don’t drink tea and coffee ( and that is available free in the buffet anyway) so I just bought a can or two of Coke each day.

My onboard bill for that was around $100 – far cheaper than adding the drinks package.

Find out more about drinks packages here:

Drinks Packages Aren’t Worth it For Me – Here’s How I Decide (Price Lists & More)

#5 Avoid Picking Your Cabin Location.

  • Unless you are particularly concerned about seasickness, or are a very light sleeper, don’t pick your cabin location, allow the cruise line to choose for you.
    • This is known as booking a “Guaranteed Cabin.” You are guaranteed to get a cabin of a particular grade (or higher) but it could be anywhere.
    • It costs more to choose your exact location.

If you are worried you might be seasick, it is more important to choose a central location for your cabin. Find out more about that here:

What is The Best Cabin Location on a Cruise For Avoiding Seasickness? (I’ve Tried Them All!)

Find out more about guaranteed cabins, including examples of ones I have been allocated, read the article below:

I Always Book Guaranteed Cabins on Cruise Ships – (Photo Examples, Regrets & More)

Before You Go

There are some very good reasons why you shouldn’t avoid sailing on older, smaller cruise ships. Find out more here:

9 Reasons You Shouldn’t Avoid Cruising on Older, Smaller Cruise Ships

Find out what it is really like to stay in cruise ship’s cheapest inside cabins here:

What It’s Really Like to Stay in The Cheapest Cabins on Cruise Ships (5 Examples)

Free Insiders Cruise Line Guide

Ever wondered how the mainstream cruise lines compare? Cruise lines won’t tell you this, but I will.

This FREE guide shows you everything you need to know to find your perfect cruise line.