Questions You Should Ask Before Booking a Cruise
Before You Book
When you decide to go on a cruise, make sure you get the lowest rate possible when booking the cruise. Most cruise lines guarantee that they have the lowest price, and if you find the price lower for the same accommodations, they will match it. Some will allow you to get the better deal by offering you an onboard credit for the difference, up til so many days before you leave to go on your cruise.
Also, you can always write down your questions before you make your phone call to book your cruise vacation. This way, you don't book, and then remember what questions you wanted to ask, but forgot during your booking.
Most cruise lines now, don't give you your deposit back, if you decide to cancel, no matter when you decide to cancel, so it's nice to find deals that only require 1/2 deposits. Some of those deals though, have higher rates, but it's fine, as long as they offer you to be able to get a lower rate before your cruise arrives if a lower rate happens to pop up.
Ask Questions During Booking
Don't expect the cruise line to offer you the best rate on their own. When you call to book your cruise, ask for a military discount, if you're entitled to it.
Inform them of the state you live in, because you might qualify for a resident discount.
Let them know if you're a past guest. Past guests sometimes get a discount, as well.
Ask if they have discounts if you use a certain credit card to book your cruise. Mastercard and Visa sometimes offer discounts. This will even work if you have a debit card with a Mastercard or Visa logo on it.
If you're at least 55 years old, tell the booking representative on the phone, because all cruise lines have discounts for senior citizens.
Ask about stateroom credits, and if there is any being offered. Also find out if they're offering free upgrades. Why settle for a room near the bow that's going to be a little more rough, when you could possibly get one in the center of the ship for the same price.
Check around and see if other travel agencies offer OBCs (on board credits). This is money that is put into your onboard account for you to spend while you're onboard.
Some cruise lines offer $25 - $200 per cabin in OBCs, depending on which type of stateroom you book. Usually OBCs are higher on longer cruises, compared to shorter ones.
Check for Extra Perks
Sometimes you can get a cruise where you get free drinks, and some offer free Wi-Fi. There's cruise lines that will give discounts on shore excursions if your pre-book before you get onboard. Same as with internet prices, and drink and food packages.
You also have to watch for prices that reflect the free perks, because if you're not a big drinker, it might be better for you to wait for the cruise line to offer a different sale. For example, you could possibly find a cruise for $500 a person that has free drinks, but then you might be able to get the cruise later for $300 a person, where you have to pay for your own drinks. If you're only drinking a few drinks during your entire cruise, then most likely you would be better getting the lower price cruise.
It pays to shop around. It's also worth your time checking on the prices of a cruise that is already booked, just to see if the price drops. If it does, you might qualify for the lower price, provided that it's the same stateroom and location that you already have booked. You have to be careful though, because you don't want to lose any perks you might have received, during your first booking.
More Spending Money
You'll be surprised at the discounts that weren't advertised, that you could possibly qualify for.
Think of it this way. The more money you can save on the actual cruise, the more money you'll have to spend on the ship, gifts, or shore excursions.
Make a list of these things, and check them off as you ask the questions, during your booking.