Who says a budget Caribbean cruise has to feel like one? Budget Caribbean cruises are not only just as fun & exciting as “luxury” cruises, but budget Caribbean cruises will leave you with more money to burn on shopping, land adventures and sightseeing.
A common misconception about Caribbean cruises is that they are mainly for the mature or wealthy set. These days, neither is true. In fact, over the past several years, bookings by younger groups, individuals and professionals has increased dramatically with more than 50% of todayâ€™s cruisers earning a household income of less than $60,000 a year.
More than 90 million people from all different age groups and income levels have taken a deep water cruise over the past several decades and guess what? Cruise lines are taking notice. Because cruise lines are constantly competing for millions of consumer dollars, the vast majority of cruise lines will offer special deals and discounts through travel agencies and their websites as well as through special radio or TV promotions.
Caribbean cruises are the most popular cruises in America today and the budget-conscious traveler is fast becoming the most popular ocean passenger. Most standard cruises start at around $100 a day (double occupancy) and they will include accommodations, a variety of activities, entertainment, meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, buffets) and of course, ship transportation. While $100 a day may cover the basics, anything that goes beyond the basics, such as gambling or spa treatments, will cost extra. Keep in mind that, once you start adding â€œextras,â€? the price can increase rather rapidly. Here are a few tips to help keep costs within your budget:
Â· Try booking your cruise 3-6 months in advanceâ€”a year is even better. Budget Caribbean cruise lines will award those who book far in advance with huge discounts and shipboard credits.
Â·Tip: Shorter cruises cost less. Two-to-five day cruises to the Caribbean are plentiful and they sail from ports all along the Southeast and Gulf Coasts to Mexico and the West Coast.
Â·If you prefer an extended cruise remember, the more time you spend at sea the less money you pay for the cruise. Select a cruise that includes 4-6 days at sea if youâ€™re interested in relaxing, dining and participating in onboard activities rather than shore excursions.
Â·Excursions can be very costly for the budget conscious, so opt for 1-2 excursions (max) during the trip to save money.
Â·Going it alone can cost more, so why not buddy up? Single passengers are charged up to $150 more than double occupancy passengers, so go with a friend or group or you can sign up to share a room with another passenger. If the passenger doesnâ€™t show up for any reason, youâ€™ll have the room to yourself at the double occupancy rate!
Â·If youâ€™re planning lots of excursions, itâ€™s best to do group tours and group activities. Arranging your own transportation can cost hundreds more than group transportation and activities like scuba diving, snorkeling and 4×4 tours are pricey for singles.
Â·Smaller inside cabins are much less expensive than outside cabins. You may not have a private verandah, but you will enjoy the same ship amenities at a lesser price.
The best time to go
High season for budget Caribbean cruises is generally from February through mid-April, late June through August and Christmas and New Years Eve weeks. You can still find discounts and deals during high season, but you will find much more during low season. Low season typically runs from late April through May and September through January. This excludes Christmas and New Years Eve weeks. In addition to saving hundreds of dollars during low season, passengers will also enjoy great weather and much thinner crowds than during peak season.
Choosing the best budget Caribbean cruise line
Carnival Cruise lines is the leader in attracting young people ages 18-35 and the budget-conscious. They typically offer year around deals and deep discounts to groups and families. Other cruise lines that may offer special deals, discounts and packages include: Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Radisson, Disney Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruise Line. You can find some of the best deals online, so be sure to surf a bit before you book!