Many cruise lines offer highly discounted rates for third and fourth passengers sharing a cabin with two full-fare passengers, even if those two have booked at a discounted rate. You can add the four rates together and then divide by four to get your per-person rate. This is a good option for families (or very good friends) on a budget, but remember that travelling four to a stateroom particularly in smaller oceanview and inside categories will be a tight fit, with at least two guests sleeping either on pull-out couches or Pullman-style berths that fold down from the wall or their housing in the stateroom’s ceiling.
Many of the most intense deals are marketed first to past passengers. So if you’ve cruised at all before Caribbean, Europe, Bermuda check with the cruise line to see if you qualify for a past-passenger deal. In addition, you’ll want to sign up for the cruise line’s loyalty program, if they have one, so that you can take advantage of other offerings given to frequent cruisers and other brand loyalists.
One of the best ways to get a cruise deal is to book as a group, so you may want to gather family together for a reunion or convince your friends or colleagues they need a vacation, too. A group, as defined by the cruise lines, is generally at least 16 people occupying eight staterooms. By doing so, the potential savings include discounted cruise fares all around, and at least the cruise portion of the 16th ticket will be free. On some upscale ships, you can negotiate a free ticket for groups of 10 or more. The gang can split the proceeds from the free berth or hold a drawing for the ticket, maybe at a cocktail party on the first night. If your group is large enough, you may even be able to get that cocktail party for free, and perhaps some other onboard perks as well (contact Group Services though cruise lines have wildly varying policies on this point.)
Senior Citizen & Military Discounts
Senior citizens might be able to get extra savings on their cruise. Some lines will take about 5% off the top for those who are 55 and older on select sailings, and the senior rate applies even if the second person in the cabin is younger. Membership in groups such as AARP is not required, but such membership may bring additional savings. Discounts may also be available for active or retired military personnel, so let your travel agent know if you fit into this category.
Sometimes, discounts are offered on select sailings and destinations depending solely on where you live. Residents living near Vancouver or Seattle, for example, may find special British Columbia or Washington State resident’s rates for cruises to Alaska and the Pacific Coast. Likewise, offers targeting the same residents might be designed to encourage them to take a Mexican Riviera cruise, or a trip to the Caribbean. So make sure you ask your travel agent about any region-specific offers, and be sure you’ve added your State or Province of residence when searching for your next cruise vacation online.