Photo credit Alonso Reyes and ben o'bro

How to save money when booking a cruise

The image of cruising took a battering in the early days of Covid, but they remain one of the most comfortable ways to explore the world. You can enjoy excellent entertainment, food and leisure facilities onboard all while discovering new cities almost every single day. 

But cruises can also be an expensive type of holiday, one that not everyone can afford - or so you thought. There are actually many budget-friendly ways to book cruises that will allow you to enjoy the best sailing experiences for very attractive prices. Here are just some of the ways you can save money when booking your next cruise:

Book early...

One of the best ways to make sure you are getting a great deal is to book your next cruise very early, typically anywhere from 6 to 18 months in advance. Cruise lines are now rewarding early birds very handsomely with many added extras and discounts that will make sure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck.

...or book late

Booking last minute (which, in the cruise world, typically means anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks prior to departure) can also offer you great discounts. Cruise lines are eager to fill up empty cabins, meaning prices will drop significantly and you may be able to get some added perks as well. Just beware that you may not get much choice on your cabin and you may have to be extra flexible on your travel dates.

...or book onboard

Another great time to book your next cruise is on board one! Cruise lines usually offer this option to put down a deposit (usually smaller than regular deposits) that you can then use to book your next cruise when a great deal comes up. Sometimes, added perks and fancy extras are included as well to make for a great cruise deal.

Take advantage of sales

Whenever you are booking, make sure to always keep an eye out for any extra sales that may be happening at the moment. Right now, we are in what is called the “Wave Season” - at time lasting between January and March of every year when cruise lines showcase their best deals, discounts and perks for all eager travellers to book - so make sure to sign up to newsletters and check cruise lines websites regularly to catch the best one. If that becomes too time consuming for you, you can always rely on us here at Simply Holiday Deals to provide you with the best cruise deals of the week every Saturday.

Use a travel agent

Travel agents can often offer you discounts in person that you won’t be able to find anywhere else on the internet. Plus, they take a load off your shoulders by taking care of all the price monitoring, planning, and booking of your trip. Make sure to use a travel agent when booking your next cruise to save yourself both time and money!

Book older cruise ships

Older cruise ships may not always offer the most modern amenities or up-to-date rooms but they do offer much more budget-friendly prices if your main priority when booking a cruise is saving money. You will still get to enjoy the itinerary of your choice with a cosy on-board experience, but for a much cheaper price.

Travel off-peak

Another way to save money when booking a cruise is to travel in the off-peak season. Essentially, any time that isn’t Spring Break, Christmas or the peak of the summer holidays is great for booking cheaper cruises. Plus, you will be able to enjoy your holiday with fewer crowds, which is always a plus for those looking for a more quiet and peaceful escape.

Choose cheaper itineraries

If you really want the cruise experience but can’t afford the hefty prices, consider booking a cheaper itinerary. Usually 3-day cruises offer much more competitive prices and still allow you to enjoy the cruise experience aboard excellent ships.

Cruise close to home

Another way to save money when booking a cruise is by departing from home! Many cruise lines are now making this option available with cruises departing from Southampton and Tilbury. So save some money on your next cruise by not having to buy return flights and choose a cruise that departs from closer to home.

Book extras separately

If you really can’t help but choose a cruise that departs from a European or American port, consider booking your flights separately from your cruise. That goes for any other extras you may want to book on your cruise holiday including shore excursions or hotel bookings. Opt-out of the all-inclusive cruise deals and look for better deals yourself - it may take more time, but it will help you save money!

Picture of Andy

Posted by Andy
on 7th January 2015 and
updated on 29th June 2023

Filed under


Similar blog posts

From the UK's most popular travel bloggers


I Took a Bargain Last Minute Cruise on an Old Ship – Was it Worth it?

12th April 2024 by Emma Cruises

Recently, Emma embarked on a spontaneous adventure by booking a budget-friendly last-minute cruise aboard one of the oldest and smallest ships in the industry. With just a two-week window before setting sail, she delved into this unique experience to uncover whether the bargain was truly worth it. Join Emma on her journey as she shares her insights on this unconventional cruise escapade....


Six ways to get great deals on cruising

2nd April 2024 by Rhian

I went on my first cruise in September 2022 and absolutely loved it. There’s something special about waking up each morning in a new destination. Going on a cruise can be expensive depending on various factors such as location, ship, time of the year etc. But there are plenty of ways you can get great deals on cruising and save money while you are there. Keep your eye out for last minute deals Cruise ships don’t want to have empty rooms, or sail away at lower than full capacity....


Why my Costa Cruise Was HALF The Price of Other Cruise Lines

28th March 2024 by Emma Cruises

You may see cruises with Costa advertised with ridiculously cheap lead-in prices and wondered how their cruises can be so cheap – compared to other cruise lines. In this article, we find out how Costa are able to charge such low prices and explore what you would actually get for your money if you booked a low-price cruise like this....


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

28th March 2024 by Emma Cruises

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....


These Are The Best Times Of Year For Cruise Discounts

28th March 2024 by Cruise Mummy

Your dream cruise probably comes with a hefty price tag, right? But what if there was a way to turn this dream into a reality without stretching your budget too thin? The key ingredient is timing....


The NEW Sun Princess - Sorrento, Pompeii And Sea Days

25th March 2024 by Fly Drive Explore

The inaugural cruise of the New Sun Princess reaches Naples and we take an excursion to Sorrento and Pompeii before we return to the cruise ship for a sea day as we head to Greece. On board Sun Princess during the sea day we go to the casino for a group slot pull, try a wine-tasting afternoon and have dinner in the Reserve Dining Room. After the sea day, we arrive at Crete, Greece. Naples and a Sea Day: 0:00 Sun Princess Naples 1:07 Positano 2:17 Sorrento 5:38...


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

20th March 2024 by Emma Cruises

Inside cabins are often the smallest, cheapest cabins found on ships. From the cheapest to the most expensive – I stay in them all....