7 Tips for Getting the Best Deal on Your Next Cruise

Reyna Gobel
By Reyna Gobel 
Updated
Edited by Mary M. Flory
cruise deals

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

So you’re ready to book a cruise to enjoy some time on the water and exploring port cities. But when is the best time to book a cruise? What if prices drop after you’ve already paid for your trip? Are the onboard drinks and Wi-Fi packages really worth it?

Christopher Festerman, a senior travel professional for CruisesOnly, has some advice on how to find the best cruise deals. Here are seven things to consider before booking your next cruise:

1. Book early if you have special needs or a large party

You don’t want to risk the rooms you need being unavailable, and you can often get money back if the per-person price drops later.

2. Your travel agent might be able to track price changes

Once you’ve already purchased a trip, some can set up an automatic notification to let you know of a price drop and refund the ticket difference to you as long as the final payment hasn’t passed.

3. Wait to book for last-minute deals

If you are really flexible on dates, location and cabin type, you may be able to get deals within 30 days of your departure.

4. Don’t assume an interior stateroom is the best deal

Often, the ocean view and balcony rooms will come with perks such as unlimited beverages and included gratuity. The difference you spend may save you money and make your vacation more comfortable and memorable.

5. Book shore excursions from outside vendors

You can find local shore excursions online and get more options with smaller group sizes.

6. Book spa treatments while at port

When the ship is docked, you can get spa treatment packages for much cheaper than on land in a destination city. Take the morning for a spa treatment and the afternoon to explore the area.

7. Only buy Wi-Fi if you absolutely need it

You can get Wi-Fi in coffee shops, local bookstores or restaurants at port stops.

Video preview image

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024, including those best for:

Cards for Cruises from our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-5x

5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

60,000

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Points
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card

on Bank of America's website

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
4.2
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1.5x-2x

Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

60,000

Receive 60,000 online bonus points - a $600 value - after you make at least $4,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Points
See more cards for cruises
Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.