The economic downturn is becoming a bonanza for vacation shoppers, especially those looking for cruise bargains this winter.
Cruise line capacity is at an all-time high but the lingering recession means a lot of those new cabins and staterooms are going empty. And that translates into some rarely seen bargains for cruise lovers.
By this time of year, most people planning a winter cruise have either booked their passage or are shopping around. And, too often, by October it’s tough to find a good deal on a cruise anywhere in the Caribbean or Pacific sun belt. But not this year.
Cruise lines work on a price-to-fill business model. That means they’ll lower (or raise) prices to whatever level it takes to fill the mega-ships, since leaving port with empty cabins is a sure way to lose money for big cruise lines.
The past few years have seen an explosion of investment in new floating cities by the world’s leading cruise lines — a trend that ran smack into the recession. For this year at least, cruise lines are turning to resellers and discount agencies to unload excess capacity and ridiculous bargain prices.
How can your family take advantage of this “perfect storm” of good news for cruise passengers?
First, avoid booking directly through cruise lines — at least if you’re looking for discount deals. Instead, check out one of the many discount cruise resellers and repackagers such as Cruise411 or VacationsToGo. Both are reputable agencies that work with cruise lines to unload unsold inventory at bargain rates.
A luxury family cruise is often a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many households, simply because it can get very expensive. For the 2010-2011 season, though, it’s possible to find excellent Caribbean cruises with top-of-the-line companies for as little as $50 a person per day. Try finding a 5-star hotel for that price!
This year, you’ll find a bigger bang for your cruise buck than at any other time in recent memory. Good luck and remember to take plenty of pictures!