How to buy an inexpensive sea cruise?
A cruise vacation is an opportunity to visit several countries at once without worrying about lodging, transfers and food. In this case, a trip on the water is often cheaper than the usual tours.
For those who are eager to see the world and enjoy the seascapes, we have compiled recommendations for choosing a cruise company and the best time to go. Prospective travelers will find it helpful to learn about possible itineraries, approximate costs, required documents and other important information.
Which Cruise Company is Best?
The choice of company depends on several factors – the cost of the tour, the comfort and infrastructure of transport, as well as the proposed destinations. Which one is better depends on the category of vacationers, budget and individual preferences (someone wants to party all night, and someone important to visit as many sights as possible).
For those who are looking for inexpensive vacation (for 100-600 euros per person) the following cruise companies are suitable:
- Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL).
With roomy liners for more than 4,000 passengers, Norwegian Cruise can offer some of the cheapest cruises at sea. Available NCL destinations include Cuba, Australia, Bahamas, Caribbean, Mediterranean and Europe.
The infrastructure of modern liners includes swimming pools, water parks, halls for entertainment events and discos. There are theme nights and sports games during the trip.
The contingent of travelers is mainly young people and teenagers.
- Carnival Cruise Line.
Families with young children are recommended to consider low-cost cruises from Carnival. Short trips (3-7 days) will not tire the young tourists, and the abundance of children’s entertainment on board will fill the vacation with bright impressions.
On board there are a lot of restaurants and cafes, water parks, casinos, spas and play areas for children. The mini-club offers activities for the little ones.
With Carnival Cruise Line one can sail to Mexico, Great Britain, Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Caribbean.
Celestyal with its democratic prices is often chosen by Russian-speaking tourists. The main routes are in Greece and Turkey.
All inclusive meals are offered on board.
If you are interested in a budget sea voyage to Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, etc.), it is advisable to buy a tour of Viking Line, Tallink and DFDS.
The average price policy (700-1800 euros per passenger) is different:
Costa Cruises has an extensive fleet, including both small ships with a capacity of 1,000 people and vessels capable of carrying up to 6,500 passengers. Most cruises are concentrated in Europe.
The infrastructure includes cabins of various classes, restaurants, cafes and spas.
The main contingent is Europeans.
One of the most popular cruise companies offers an extensive entertainment program on board, advanced infrastructure (water parks, game clubs, health centers, etc.) and designer decorated interior.
Passengers are characterized by age and national diversity.
Cruise destinations are Mediterranean, North America, Southern Europe, UAE, Caribbean and Southeast Asia.
- Royal Caribbean International.
Mostly, families with teenagers and young people choose a vacation with Royal Caribbean. The trip on modern liners allows not only to visit the Caribbean islands (the main route), but also to get the full range of impressions from the abundance of entertainment programs – Broadway show, shows on ice and under water, performances of aerial gymnasts, performances of artists, etc.
Tourists are also offered rock climbing, ice skating, volleyball.
For luxury holidays (cost from 2000 euros) we recommend to contact the following companies:
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Passengers are offered premium-class cabins, the highest level of service on board and relative privacy (maximum capacity of the liners is 750 people).
Entertainment is provided by cabarets, live music, casinos and more.
The itineraries offered by Regent Seven Seas Cruises include destinations such as New Zealand, Australia, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and more.
The liners, which have a capacity of no more than 600 passengers, have excellent design and developed infrastructure. In addition to the standard luxury offerings, tourists have the opportunity to enjoy gourmet cuisine designed by renowned chef Thomas Keller.
Where is the best place to buy a cruise? We recommend using Dreamlines.ru. The service is an aggregator and allows you to compare the cost of a tour to all popular destinations. Here you can not only choose a cheap cruise, but also ask any question which will be promptly answered by the managers.
Those who are looking for how to buy an inexpensive sea cruise, we recommend paying attention to the following itineraries:
- A trip through Scandinavia, such as the 6-day tour Finland-Sweden-Norway or the same countries plus Denmark;
- Cruise Estonia-Latvia-Sweden-Finland which is very popular with Russian tourists;
- routes in the Caribbean Sea, which cover the United States, Mexico, the Netherlands, and the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands (one popular offering is a one-week trip Miami-Philipsburg-Charlotte-Amalia-Coco Cay);
- Mediterranean cruises with visits to France, Greece, Spain, Italy and Croatia (for example, the route of 8-night Piraeus-Mikonos-Split-Venice-Bari-Piraeus).
When it is cheaper to buy a cruise
The cost of a vacation depends not only on the destination, the duration of the tour and the class of the ship, but also the time of travel. The cheapest cruises are offered in the low season (in the Caribbean it will be mid-autumn and spring, in the Mediterranean – first two months of spring, and October-December).
Another way to save money on a cruise is to avoid holidays. At Christmas, for example, you can spend a lot of money and get tired of resting among the crowds. However, this rule does not apply to the Arab Emirates and other Gulf destinations, which offer discounts on cruises in December and January.
As a rule, 2 months before the start of the tour begins to reduce its cost, so you should not book a cabin in advance.
A traditional way to save money is to keep track of promotions. In addition to discounts, cruise companies make offers such as “luxury for the price of standard,” “drinks as a gift,” etc.
Where to Buy a Cruise
To pick up a sea cruise, we advise you to turn to agencies of international level. You can buy a tour on the websites of well-known companies such as Cruisedirect.com, Cruise.com, E-hoi.de, and Dreamlines.
In addition to standard travel, you can find special offers on the websites of the above-mentioned agencies:
- Cruisedirect has romantic and wedding cruises, honeymoon cruises, tours for seniors and even non-traditional tourists; offers holiday, wine, children’s and themed tours; can interest adventure lovers with its expedition cruises.
What cabins are better to choose
The price of cabins depends on their location, class and the view from the porthole.
Accommodation on board will be cheaper if:
- purchase a so-called guaranteed cabin (the tourist buys a “room” of a certain category, but with an unknown location);
- travel in a cabin with a view “in the yard” (the cheapest are those located near noisy places, for example, under the deck with a swimming pool);
- to be placed closer to the stern or the bow of the liner (where there are various loud mechanisms).
However, buying cheap cruises, the cost of which is due to reduced prices for cabins in a certain category, can be associated with inconvenience. For those who do not want to save money on comfort, we advise to choose the following options:
- Quiet cabins with no “neighbors” (side, bottom, top) such as laundry rooms, bars, gaming clubs, etc.;
- Those that are high up, with good sea views;
- not too far from the elevator (makes it easier to move).
For those who can’t tolerate motion sickness, seats in the middle of the ship on the lower decks will do.
What’s included in the ticket price
When purchasing a sea cruise to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Scandinavian countries and other destinations, the traveler purchases the following services:
- accommodation in a cabin;
- catering: you can refuse and go to the cafe during the stops and have a snack bought in the store, or you can order breakfasts, lunches, dinners on board (some carriers work on an “all inclusive” system);
- concerts, shows and other entertainment;
- use of a part of infrastructure (for example, playgrounds).
Expenses during a holiday on a liner
Those looking for cheap sea cruises need to understand that the cost of the trip is not limited to the purchase of the ticket. An abundance of paid pleasures awaits travelers aboard:
- Restaurants, bars and cafes.
As a rule, the purchased ticket offers meals in one restaurant, and drinks are not always included in the menu. Therefore, in order not to overpay for extra options, it is better to pre-purchase, for example, wine, coffee and other things (each company has its own additional set).
We recommend that you read the rules of the trip on the website of the carrier, especially those relating to the rules for carrying on board the food. Meals are one of the items of expenditure that can significantly ease the burden on your wallet.
- Entertainment and recreation.
When planning a tour you should decide what infrastructure of the liner may be of interest and prepare to visit them. These can be spas, massage parlors, casinos, bowling, water parks, saunas, etc. If, for example, you want to relax in the jacuzzi and sauna, we advise you to take a swimsuit and bath accessories with you, rather than buy them in the stores of the liner.
- Souvenir stores.
Of course, the trip does not do without buying souvenirs. But it is better to buy souvenirs on shore, where they are cheaper and more diverse.
A cruise in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean Sea, Canada and other countries is impossible to imagine without excursions. If you are used to sightseeing on their own, you can refuse this paid service, but in advance to study the prices for transport at the place of arrival (sometimes it is cheaper to buy a group tour).
Visa and cruise preparations
When choosing a cruise, it is advisable to find out in advance about the need to have a visa to visit certain countries and islands. In order not to worry about possible problems with embarkation and disembarkation, you can purchase visa-free tours.
The list of routes in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea for which Russian tourists don’t need a visa includes Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Aruba, Antigua and Barbuda, Honduras, Barbados, Bahamas, Venezuela, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Panama, Columbia, Costa Rica, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica (to visit San Juan and Isla. Jamaica (visits to San Juan and St. Thomas require a U.S. visa).
Some cruises require a visa, but it can be purchased on board or online without visiting visa centers. Such destinations include the Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Reunion Island, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Myanmar, Philippines, Cambodia, Singapore, and some others.
If you plan a Mediterranean Sea cruise visiting countries like Croatia, Italy, Spain, Portugal, England, and Germany, you’ll need a Schengen visa. By rules you are to buy a visa for the country, which is the starting point of your itinerary, or for the country, where you are planning to spend maximum number of days.
Many Russian tourists associate a cruise vacation with high cost. In reality, tours by sea often turn out to be cheaper and allow you to visit several countries in one vacation.
How to buy a luxury cruise for 100 euros: the most detailed instructions
Bet you’ve never been on a cruise ship, but you’re still convinced it’s HELL of a lot more expensive? In fact, if you know all the secrets (when to buy, which liner to choose, and the itinerary, and the tip…?), you can buy a cruise for pennies.
What is cheap?
A cheap cruise is a great option for those who want to see if this type of vacation suits them in principle. What if it’s boring? What to do a whole week on the ship? Won’t you get seasick? Doubts really a lot. And it is better to dispel them, having spent, 100-200 euros, rather than 1000 with more and suddenly to be disappointed (but it will not happen!).
- Up to 300 euros per person for 7 nights – promotional cruises;
- From 300 euros per person for 7 nights – budget cruises;
- From 700 to 2000 euros per person – the average cost of a cruise;
- More than 2000 euros – luxury cruises (but this is not the limit).
Read more about what a cruise liner trip is like in our previous article .
Which cruise company to choose?
If you want a budget cruise, in 99% of cases it will be Costa and MSC, which offer the most popular itineraries at low prices, and often have various promotions.
The higher price category includes, for example, the American Royal Caribbean, the premium segment – Oceania Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, etc.
How do the liners of these companies differ? It’s simple: the budget version has one pool for the whole ship, while the luxury one, for example, has five pools, a simulated surfing, bungee jumping, and also the longest waterslide, the biggest spa and lots of other attractions. That’s the difference in entertainment.
There’s also a difference in the level of service. Look at the information about the liner – how many passengers and how many crew are on board. If the ratio is close to 1:1, then it’s definitely a luxury! After all, it means that each guest will have a personal butler and 24/7 service.
Which itinerary to choose?
Cruises on the Caribbean Sea are some of the cheapest. It is in this region where most of the world’s cruise ships are concentrated, and because of the high competition it is possible to find a bargain.
Transatlantic cruises are another budget destination. How about, for example, a 12-day cruise from Marseille to the Caribbean (Martinique) for 165 euros? True, you have to spend six whole days at sea, crossing the ocean. This is one of the main features of these cruises. There are discounts in the fall and winter when the cruise companies move their liners to the Caribbean, and in the spring when the liners return to Europe.
But! Don’t forget that you have to fly to the starting point of the cruise, or only return after a transatlantic cruise. Flight to Cuba, for example, will cost from 40 thousand rubles round trip, and from Martinique to Moscow at least 25 thousand rubles … So that’s a savings.
Most optimal route in terms of price of the flight, the cruise, the number of impressions, the quality of liners – a trip to the Mediterranean Sea. Most European itineraries include cities in Spain, Italy, and France. Marseille-Barcelona-Mayorka-Palermo-Rome-Savona – a fabulous European itinerary for 135 euros per person starting November 25, you can buy right now!
And the most inexpensive cruises can be found in Scandinavian countries and Estonia. However, they usually last 1-4 days. For example, for a cruise from Helsinki to Stockholm to Helsinki, subject to the accommodation of 4 passengers per trip will cost only 900 rubles. We advise to follow the actions of cruise companies Tallink, Viking Line, DFDS, etc.
There are also cruises in the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf, Southeast Asia, South America, and so on. Take your pick!
When do I buy?
With cruises, just like with airline tickets, there are only three strategies:
- Buy early – winter cruises are best taken in the summer, and conversely, trips for the summer months are best taken in the winter. Early booking prices are usually lower.
- Anticipate promotions – If you’re aiming to buy a budget cruise, you should constantly monitor prices and wait for a price reduction or some bonus – a free drinks package, money on board as a gift, or an upgrade in the category of cabins.
- Buy at the last minute – there are last minute deals on cruises, too!
It is important to realize that in the high season there are no low prices, but in November and December, it’s realistic to buy a Mediterranean cruise for 100-150 euros per person.
Where to buy?
We always recommend to compare prices on the official sites of cruise companies, international agencies Cruise.com, Cruisedirect.com, and Russian cruise agents such as Dreamlines.
By the way, the Russian sites often have higher prices than the foreign versions. There is nothing wrong if you pretend to be Italian, and buy a cruise on the Italian version. Learn more about how to do this here .
Cruises with discounts are published by various groups in social networks – cheap sea cruises , sea and river cruises, etc.
Secrets about choosing a cabin
What are staterooms on the cruise liner? In fact they don’t differ from usual hotel rooms – bed, closet, bedside tables, TV, and bathroom.
The cheapest cabins are:
- Guaranteed staterooms.
“In this case, the cruise company itself determines the location of the cabin on board within the category you have chosen. You will know the cabin number when you receive your cruise documents. Often as a bonus upgrade class of service (from Classic to Premium) or category of cabins (from an inside cabin to a cabin with a balcony)” – tell cruise experts Dreamlines.
- Staterooms with limited sea views mean the vast expanse will be partially obscured by a dinghy, for example. But such staterooms are sold at a discount compared to regular view staterooms, so this option is a great compromise.
- Inner cabins – on the one hand, of course, these cabins are cheaper, but on the other hand – imagine that you go to sleep and wake up with a view of the sea, watching sunsets and sunrises from your window – it’s priceless. But you have to decide what’s more important to you – a million impressions or saving money on cabins.
Important: It is better to go on a cruise with two people. Going alone on a cruise is very unprofitable, because you’ll have to pay for the entire cabin.
What is included in the price?
The price of the cruise includes accommodation, food (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and entertainment on board (swimming pools, shows, theatrical performances, children’s programs, etc.). Of course, the price of the cruise itself is far from the final amount of your spending on a sea voyage, but you can save money.
How to save on the liner?
Food and alcohol
Meals are included in the price of the cruise – usually 1-2 buffet restaurants, and a few a la carte restaurants. But Japanese or Italian food, Starbucks, Jimmy Oliver’s restaurant – all this is for extra charge.
And most importantly, drinks are not included in the price of the cruise. You’ll have to pay for coffee, for water – a few euros, and nothing to say about alcohol. On Symphony of the Seas beer in the bars costs about $8, cocktails – from $10, a drink in the Bionic bar – from $12.
Better yet on shore (literally) decide how many drinks you need. If you are an avid coffee drinker or plan to have a good time in the evenings, it is more advantageous to buy a package of drinks in advance. The price starts at about 15 euros per person per night and depends a lot on the assortment of drinks included. For example, on Costa cruises for 16.49 € per day you get different wines, carbonated drinks, beer and mineral water at lunch and dinner.
Sometimes, by the way, you can bring your own soft drinks on board. Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to save money.
A street with stores, a street with bars, an aqua show, an ice show, a movie theater and theater, a surf simulator, an extreme bungee jump, a central park, water parks, children’s areas, an art gallery, a casino and much more – free entertainment will last. And you can go to the spa for the money at home, the liner is not necessary for that.
Most often the ship spends the night at sea, and in the morning you wake up in a new city – Venice, Rome, Kotor, etc. Staying in the port can be either 4-6 hours, or 12-14 hours.
It is possible to buy an organized tour, but the prices start from 50 euros, and may be all 150-200 euros. And you can go to the city by yourself and save a lot. Just be sure to check how long it takes to get from the city, whether there is public transport, make a specific route.
Important: First there is a drop-off of passengers who have bought tours, and only then – all others. Therefore, with a short stop you may simply not have time to fully go into town without a tour.
Don’t want to go out? Then stay on the liner: Prices for entertainment and alcohol are often reduced while you’re on the ship.
On most cruises, you have to pay a tip of about 10 euros per person per night. Where to pay how much, check here .
Internet on the liners is a problem. It is expensive – about 10-15 per day, and bad at that. So it’s better to have a digital detox, and only get in touch in ports and cities.
“On the liner itself you can not spend money at all, because breakfasts, lunches and dinners are already included in the cost of the cruise. We advise you to buy a package of drinks in advance, then you can enjoy your favorite cocktails or a cup of coffee at any bar on the liner. If you need Internet, it can be purchased on the liner. To save money, you can get a card with a good rate for traveling abroad. Excursions are also recommended to order in advance: so you will not have to pay a service fee (about 15%). The only expense – is the tip. They must be paid at the end of the cruise. But in some companies (e.g. Royal Caribbean) tips are already included in the cost of the cruise, “- advised the cruise experts company Dreamlines.