Cruises are great ways for families to vacation together — you get to see new places, experience amazing on-shore excursions and enjoy all the amazing food, fun and amenities cruise ships are known for. But they can also be extremely expensive when you’ve got a whole family traveling together. Fortunately, there are a few simple tricks you can employ to find the best deals possible.
Travel during the off-season. Peak cruising season is May through July and during the month of December. These are the months when kids are most likely to be out of school and therefore the ideal times for families to plan vacations. Unfortunately, that means higher prices (not to mention crowded ships and destinations). If you are able to swing a vacation during the low-season months you are likely to find better deals.
They say the early bird gets the worm but in cruising this logic doesn’t always hold true. Cruise prices are set way in advance based on travel trends and seasons. There are, however, benefits to booking early — if you set up a payment plan and find a cheaper price before your trip is paid off, cruise lines are often willing to work with you on adjusting your total price or changing your reserved dates.
When it comes to getting better deals, it helps if you are willing to be flexible on your dates. Cruise lines are more likely to offer better pricing on dates that aren’t so popular, so if your preferred dates are out of your budget try searching different dates.
If you have your heart set on specific dates and aren’t willing or able to be flexible with them, there is still a chance to get better pricing on fares by being flexible with your room choice. Rooms with exterior balconies on higher decks come with big price tags, but going lower or even choosing an interior room can pay off with much cheaper price tags.
Once upon a time travelers only had two options for booking cruises — directly from the cruise company or from a travel agency. Modern convenience has given us travel sites like Expedia and Travelocity that offer great deals that usually come with bonuses like on-board credits, but there are also great apps that broaden the playing field even further. Apps like Cruise Picker don’t just let you search for the best prices, but you can track your desired cruise and get alerts when the price drops, eliminating the need to check regularly for price changes.
While there are dozens of apps and sites to choose from, when it comes to searching for the best deals you will find the prices don’t vary that much from site to site. For the best deals available, the good, old-fashioned method is still the best — go directly to the cruise line and check out their specials.
Continuing our story from yesterday (if you missed it, click here), here’s part two on how to make the most of your weekend pioneering, with a closer look at our itinerary for Saturday:
While urban wine country might sound like an oxymoron, it’s actually a reality at the stunning City Vineyard in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood. The water-side venue is the perfect host for your next event — whatever that may be, from 20 to 200 guests and from cocktail party to plated dinner.
Chances are you know South Beach or have heard about the southernmost section of Miami Beach — 23rd Street to South Pointe Park. It’s the historic Art Deco district with stunning white and pastel buildings lining Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue and beyond.
Tucked into the central coast of California is a trail of history waiting to be found by your kids. The Highway 1 Discovery Route through San Luis Obispo County snakes along the winnowy Pacific Coast Highway, CA-1, between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The more than 100 miles of mostly protected coastline begins after a four-hour drive from San Francisco at Ragged Point, or about three hours from Los Angeles at Nipomo. The trail features 10 cities, connected by cliffs, carved by a moody ocean, and a slower pace of life. There are plenty of reasons to stop and walk into the past, preserved by those whose hearts still live there. Nature lovers will linger on the many trails to hike and picnic areas. We drove from Los Angeles with two 9-year-old boys to explore this part of the state.
By Hainan Airlines
Raising a budding Julia Child or Jacques Pépin? Or just looking for a more interactive family activity? Register your family (or kids) for a cooking class at the Culinary Institute of America.