If you’ve had the opportunity to take a luxury cruise with one of the 6 Star cruise lines like Seabourn, Crystal, Silversea, and Regent, you know how fabulous cruising can really be. From beautiful accommodations and fine dining restaurants, luxury cruises are hard to beat.
Much of the wonderful experience has to do with the personal service. The average luxury cruise ship passenger to crew member ratio is about 1.5. The average mass-market passenger to crew member ratio is about 3 guests per crew member. But of course, all that additional staff comes with a higher price.
Though you see lots of advertised deals on mainstream cruise lines, at Prime Women, we wondered if it was ever possible to get those kinds of deals on luxury cruises, perhaps a last-minute bargain? To find out the answer, we turned to Vacations To Go, a national travel company that specializes in cruises and last-minute cruises.
Cheryl Cunningham, director of special projects and group sales for Vacations To Go, gave us the low down on how to get deals on luxury cruises.
PW: One usually doesn’t associate luxury anything with a deal, much less a luxury cruise that is priced thousands of dollars more than the average cruise, but are there any deals to be had?
Cheryl: Absolutely, many of the luxury cruise lines have stepped up to the plate in offering deals, but it’s a little different than what you might expect. They aren’t like the mainstream cruise lines where they just slash prices to be competitive. In the 6 Star cruise line market, they do understand they need to fill their ships to present a quality program to everyone, and with the pandemic, they’ve had to sharpen their pencils and offer some really big discounts.
For example, Crystal Cruise Line has a book by September 1, 2021, and you save up to $4500 per suite offer. Seabourn is offering a 10% discount when you book now and pay in full. Silversea has reduced rates by up to 83%, plus on select sailings, you can receive an extra discount of up to 15% off advertised rates if you book by July 31st. Silversea includes onboard gratuities, butler service, unlimited internet, and complimentary beverages, including wine and spirits.
Regent also has a variety of sailings with savings of up to 74%. In addition, you get shipboard credits of up to $500 per cabin and free upgrades on select sailings. The upfront price of a luxury Regent cruise includes unlimited shore excursions, gratuities, unlimited Wi-Fi, and unlimited beverages, including fine wines and premium spirits.
PW: Are there any last-minute deals on luxury cruise lines?
Cheryl: ‘Last-minute’ in the cruise world is within 90 days. It is much more difficult for cruise lines to sell their product compared to the airlines. They also realize they need to have their ships close to capacity to be able to offer the services you expect with a 6 Star cruise line.
Cruise lines will start looking 8 months out to see where they are on reaching their capacity. Right now, with many people still hesitant to travel abroad with COVID 19 still a factor in many countries, the deals for the rest of 2021 and the first few months of 2022 will be the best most of these cruise lines will ever offer.
PW: How about the Prime woman who has the ability to plan a cruise under 90 days?
Cheryl: The key to finding a great deal is to be with a travel agency that specializes in cruises. These cruise lines send these specials out to their biggest bookers of cruise ships. The agencies who book other types of travel may not know about these offers.
Companies like Vacations to Go are the first and, sometimes, only companies who will hear about these deals on luxury cruises. These offers are short-term and don’t last long. We update our website sometimes multiple times a day, based on the offers that are coming in.
PW: What is your best advice for someone who would like to book a luxury cruise and save money?
I would advise that they start keeping an eye on a destination where they would like to travel and keep checking back until they find a discounted price. You may not find a deal right off on your first choice of destinations. For example, Crystal has some really good offers right now for booking a Mediterranean cruise next year. The Mediterranean may not be your first choice, but you’ll eventually get to go everywhere you want to travel, just not in the order you want.
PW: Thanks, Cheryl, for the great tips on luxury cruising.
Up next month is river cruising, which lines are best, and when and where you can find savings on your river cruise.