1. Travel Insurance: What’s the Deal? Not only does travel insurance protect you from cancellation penalties but it also protects from the unknowns while on vacation.
The Hook: For a small percentage of the total price of your vacation you can receive a wide range of protections from lost baggage to trip delay.
The Lowdown: If you research travel insurance, you’ll find that almost all travel writers recommend purchasing travel insurance. Most medical insurance policies do not cover you in foreign countries, so if you get injured or sick you will have to pay medical expenses out of pocket unless you purchase travel insurance. We fully recommend travel insurance to all of our clients and warn you to beware of “free” travel insurance, as you get what you pay for!
2. Group Cruising: What’s the Deal? Cruising with a group of people whether it is with friends, family, or people who share a common interest or hobby adds value to the cruise experience.
The Hook: Cruising is the most social form of vacationing and cruising with a large group is a great way to reconnect with family or friends or to build new relationships.
The Lowdown: In order to plan a group cruise, you need to start your planning a few months earlier than if you were just booking a couple of cabins. Groups typically get special amenities and other bonuses. In the last year, CruiseDeals.com has helped plan many successful bridge groups, conferences at sea, singles cruises, fundraising cruises, family reunions, weddings, etc. Call 800.668.6414 to start planning your group cruise today.
3. Packing Tips: Pack Like a Pro – Packing comes easy for experienced Cruisers because they have a better idea of what items to pack when embarking on a cruise vacation.
The Hook: For first time cruisers we have included some items that might not make it into the suitcase.
The Lowdown: Always pack a small hand-carry bag with your toiletries, prescription medicine, and bathing suit just in case your luggage isn’t delivered until later in the evening. In case of motion sickness, be sure to pack ‘Bonine’ over-the–the counter medication, it works great and is non-drowsy. Bring bottled water in the luggage you are checking to be delivered to your room. Be sure to include a surge protector or an extension cord, there are not enough outlets in your cabin. Finally, throw in some post-it notes to leave your cabin steward notes.
4. Deal Finding Tips: Book like a Pro – Everyone wants to be the one on the ship who got the best deal.
The Hook: One approach for finding the best deals is taking advantage of limited time sales.
The Lowdown: Limited time sales allow the cruise lines to quickly move excess inventory and offer the customer a significant savings. Once you become aware of these sales, you have to be prepared to move quickly to take advantage of it.
5. Booking Tips: When to call a Cruise Consultant
Many online agencies like Cruisedeals.com offers the option of either conveniently booking online, or calling 800-668-6414 to book with a Cruise Consultant.
The Hook: Cruisedeals.com will provide you with the same great deals whether you call in, or book online.
The Lowdown: Cruisedeals.com loves for customers to call and speak with a cruise consultant for any reason, but there are some cases where we strongly encourage customers to call in. We recommend that first time cruisers, customers booking multiple cabins, customers in need of a handicap accessible stateroom or those with special needs, call and speak with a Cruise Consultant. We also encourage customers to call in at any point during the online booking process if any questions arise.
6. What’s the Deal: Fall and Winter Europe Cruising
The Hook: Cruiselines offer big savings during the off season. Conventional thinking is “who wants to go to Europe in the fall or winter” hence the price drop. But if you can get past conventional wisdom, there’s a lot more to cruising Europe in the off season than just lower cruise fares.
The Lowdown: In addition to lower cruise fares, airfares are also considerably cheaper—now, you’re double-dipping on the savings! And as they say on TV, “Wait, there’s more!” Since there is less traffic in the ports, the shops and restaurant prices are often better, with far less crowding and waiting for tables. Savvy travelers to Europe also know that July and August are vacation months for Europeans too, and as a result, some shops and restaurants are even closed! There’s a legitimate concern about weather, and while Europe can and will get cold in winter, it can also be quite hot in summer. Most European cruises are “sun and fun” oriented anyway, so break out those sweaters, scarves and hats, and make the most of your vacation.
7. Onboard Credits: What’s the Deal? Onboard Credits are like extra cash to spend while onboard your cruise. You can use them for anything that would normally be charged to your stateroom account, including beverages, shop purchases, shore excursions and even your gratuities.
The Hook: You can really think of your onboard credit as a “cash-back” discount for purchasing a cruise where it’s being offered. Typically, onboard credit promotions are limited to a specific voyage, OR as an incentive to book during a limited time period.
The Lowdown: One way that cruise agencies can offer their clients onboard credits is by booking and then successfully promoting blocks of cabins, called “group space.” Larger agencies, such as CruiseDeals, are able to book and promote many groups, giving our individual customer a volume purchase advantage, without having to organize their own group. We’ll have over 300 departures in 2011 where we’ve arranged for group space, giving our customers either a price advantage or onboard credits (and in many cases, both).
If you enjoyed these insiders tips check out the first blog post with 4 insider cruising tips from SEAmail.