3. Watch the Value-Added Offers
When it comes to saving on a cruise, it's not always about the base fare. Cruise lines often try to entice you with promotional schemes, among them "kids cruise free" deals, guaranteed cabin upgrades, free shore excursions, and air and shipboard spending credits (i.e., money you can use for onboard expenses). Look at these offers carefully, though. Sometimes cruise lines hike fares and then offer value-added options, so these "deals" aren't really what they seem.
4. Travel in a "Shoulder" Period
Booking in a shoulder season — that is, the weeks right before or right after the high season — can save you money. For example, to snag deals on European cruises, consider a trip in March or April, or September to December; for Alaska, good times are May and September; for Bermuda, April and October. Although the Caribbean is a year-round destination, there are still slow periods when rates drop, when kids go back to school in September, for example, or the non-holiday weeks of November and December and in January.
5. Be Flexible With Dates
Group bookings, holidays and other factors can affect the supply of open cabins on cruises (and therefore the prices), so it pays to be flexible. You might find that scheduling a sailing just one week earlier or later than originally planned can save you big bucks.