The Starter’s Guide to Canadian Travel Hacking Cruise Ships

Travel hacking cruise ships is one of my favorite things to do. If you love cruise ships, you will enjoy this blog post!

The price tag to take cruises are often quite expensive and saving up for one takes quite some time. The price tag alone is enough to scare most people to try cruises. This is unfortunate because cruises are amazing.

I will continue to update this blog post as I become more knowledgeable on getting cruise deals.

There are several ways to travel hack cruise ships. The four main ways are:

  • Last Minute Cruises
  • Early Bird Deals
  • Relocation Cruises
  • Free Cruises?

Last Minute Cruises

The first time I went on a cruise was back in December 2014. I used a website called vacations2go to find last minute deals. Cruise ships will often give big discounts for those that book last minute. The cruise that I personally booked was 83% off the brochure price. I forgot the exact brochure price but it was roughly around $900 before tax. After the 83% off discount, the cruise ship price was down to $179. After tax and conversion to Canadian dollar, Karen and myself paid $270 each. We then went on a five day Caribbean cruise on Carnival Cruise and gained 10 lbs from eating all the delicious food. Yes, cruise ships will make you fat but that’s a different story for another blog post.

Chowing on Desserts in Carnival Cruise

Cruise Desserts

 

How to Find Last Minute Cruises

The main website to search for last minute cruises is vacations2go. They have a list of cruises from all over the world with discounts cruise lines are currently giving out.

Here are screenshots with step by step instructions on how to search for discounted cruises:

Step 1: Click the 90-day Ticker

90dayticker

 

Step 2: Enter Your Email Address

Vacations2GoEmail

 

Step 3: Start Browsing for Deals

94%OffCaribbeanCruise

If you look at the deal I found above, they are giving away 94% off a 7 day caribbean cruise! $199 USD before tax is an amazing deal! Even after paying taxes and converting to Canadian dollar, the grand total will probably be around $320. That’s ridiculously cheap for a 7 day cruise!

Is it safe to book with Vacations2go?

Yes, it is safe. I booked with them personally and received the deal promised. The whole booking process is done over the phone and their customer service was pretty good.

Why would the cruises give such a big discount?

When a cruise line doesn’t sell out all their cabins, they are losing profit. It is better for cruise lines to sell empty cabins for a big discount than to leave them vacant. Some money is better than no money.

 

Early Bird Deals

Early bird deals is essentially paying for your cruise travel several months ahead of time. The savings can be quite good.

Early bird deals are typically cheap but not as cheap as last minute deals.

When to Book Early Bird Deals

I helped a Japanese family book a Hawaiian Cruise with Norwegian and we opted for early bird as oppose to last minute. The main reason is that everyone has work and it works better for their schedule to know ahead of time when they are travelling. That way, they can all notify their employer ahead of time of their travel plans.

There is no definite time frame when early bird deals are available. I’d say roughly 8 months before the cruise embarks is when you should look into getting early bird deals.

Where to Find Early Bird Deals

The best place I’ve found to book early bird cruise discounts is actually on the cruise lines’ website. I compared the price between Expedia and other travel search engines and found that the actual cruise line to be a few hundred dollars cheaper. That is because travel search engines get a commission based on their sales and would have to increase the overhead price to collect their share of the profit.

Here is a list of some of the popular cruise lines and their website:

The cruise lines’ website will also typically post up last minute deals as well so do go check their sites and compare with Vacations2go before doing any booking.

 

Relocation Cruises

Relocation Cruise is when a cruise goes one way instead of round trip. They are great for people with a lot of flexibility. When paired up with travel hacking flights, you can save massive amounts of money and frequent flyer points while enjoying the comfort of a cruise.

Here’s how to find a relocation cruise:

Step 1: Click All Cruise Regions

RelocationCruiseRegions

 

Step 2: Select Repositioning 

RelocationCruiseRegion2

 

Step 3: Find a Cheap Relocation Cruise

RelocationCruiseCheap

The deal above looks pretty amazing. For $260 USD, you can do a 15-day cruise fom Panama to Portugal. This is a really cheap way to reach Europe from North America while enjoying your time on the sea. Combining cruise deals with travel hacking flights can yield you massive savings. For example, you can use 20,000 Aeroplan miles to fly from Canada to Panama for around $100 then take the relocation cruise to Portugal. That’s a fun way to reach Europe for under $500.

If you want to save even more money, you can take a relocation cruise under the 90-day ticker and get even more discount. Keep in mind that relocation cruises sell out pretty quickly because of their cheap price tag.

On another side note, some cruises will also let you travel alone. Here’s a link to a repositioning cruise from Portugal to Panama for $225 USD. If you read the description, you can do this cruise alone and you only pay $225 USD + tax and gratuities. That’s an amazing deal!

Looking at the relocation cruise above, I may actually take one during my one year trip around the world.

 

Free Cruises?

Did you know you can cruise for free? Well almost for free because you still have to pay an agent to find you cruise ship speaking gigs. If you have knowledge on a specific travel destination or interesting topic, then some cruises will allow you to cruise for free in exchange for you doing entertaining presentations during “sea days”.

I haven’t done this myself but if you do some research, the information is available online. I will probably hire someone to teach me the strategies so that I can take my girlfriend and family members on free cruises.

 

Travel Hacking Cruise Ships Conclusion

Travel Hacking Cruise Ships is a great way for cruise lovers to do more of what they love which is cruising the world!

If you plan on traveling the world, taking cruise ships is a great way to visit multiple countries and cities in the comfort of a “moving hotel”.

Port Stop in Jamaica

Rain in Jamaica

 

Whether you plan on taking a last minute cruise and go on a winter get-away or planning a big trip with friends and family using the early bird deals, you are sure to save a ton of money.

If you are flexible and plan on traveling the world, consider using the repositioning cruise to get you to your next destination.

With more research, you can cruise for nearly for free by being a cruise ship speaker.

In Part 4 of the Starter’s Guide to Canadian Travel Hacking series, I will be covering how to get hotel elite status.

Here are the previous travel hacking starter guides if you missed them:

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