By Linda Carter
1) If you drive your car to the port, try off-site cruise parking. Not parking at the pier can save you as much as $10 a day. Be sure the lot includes a free transfer in both directions, or you can loose some of the savings.
2) If you drive down a day early, choose a hotel that offers a park and cruise package. This way along with your hotel, you get free parking for your car. Again be sure they include free transfers in both directions, or if not then factor in the taxi trip back. The hotel may cost a bit more, but you will see savings overall.
3) If you, or your family, expect to drink a large amount of soda or alcoholic beverages, consider the packages the cruise line offers. This can add up to significant savings. But be aware you have to buy it for the entire duration of the cruise, not just by the day.
5) If you can travel with very short notice, take advantage of flash cruise sales. Typically with in the 90 day of sailing window cruise lines will begin running sales, that are not well advertised. If you know when and where to look you can score a great deal.
6) If your dates of travel are flexible, then travel during shoulder season. These vary for each destination. For Alaska, travel May or September. For the Caribbean, prices are best from September through December. For Europe again April and May, then again September and October. During these seasons short notice travel can get you some even better deals.
7) Sailings between Thanksgiving & Christmas (but not the sailings that include the holidays themselves) are some of the best-priced cruises of the year.