Here at VIP Leisure Travel, cruise expert Lori has been sharing the inside track on trends and updates to help readers plan the perfect vacation at sea. Here are six of her favorites:
1. More deals, better prices
We all love a good deal, and happily we’re seeing more chances to save money on a cruise. It used to be that the cruise lines waited until “wave season” — typically the first quarter of a new year — to roll out discounts and perks aimed at jumpstarting advance bookings. But now we’re seeing many more discounted cruises and lots of free amenities being offered throughout the year, especially on Caribbean and Europe voyages. For examples from the past year,Princess Cruises launched a suite and balcony cabin sale in July, while Royal Caribbean held two of its signature Wow sales in late summer and early fall. In October, MSC Cruisesoffered weeklong Caribbean voyages for an eye-popping $299 per person. One note: These deals always have a short booking window, so be ready to put down your deposit when a great discount, an onboard credit, or other valuable offer comes along.
2. Multi-generational cruising
Big family groups are embracing vacations at sea like never before. Grandparents splashing in the pool with the grandkids and Baby Boomers on shore excursions with their parents are common sights on cruise vacations today. With meals and entertainment included in the cruise fare, family group cruising has already been seen as an affordable travel option with plenty of activities for all ages. But the trend is gaining even more steam as cruise lines go all out with special accommodations choices, free or reduced fares for children, and more supervised activities for tots and toddlers. And families can now stay close — but not too close — in multi-room staterooms and adjoining cabins that offer both privacy and proximity for multi-generational families. Some family suites, as on Royal Caribbean Internationalships, are configured with two bedrooms and two baths, plus larger balconies for outside enjoyment.
3. Catering to solos
There was a time when cruising solo was only for the well-to-do, because cruise lines charge a single supplement fee when just one person books a double cabin. The fee usually is at least 100 percent of the single fare, meaning you’ll pay the equivalent of two cruise fares. This policy is slowly but surely going the way of the dinosaur. Today, we’re seeing more cruise lines, of all sizes, waiving these single supplements at various times during the year as well as building ships that have specially designed solo cabins. Carnival Cruise Lines, for instance, waived all single supplements on upward of 60 cruises between April and June of 2014, and Norwegian Cruise Line was first out of the shipyard with single staterooms a few years back. We’re expecting more lines to join in kind — so if you’re a solo traveler, read this guide to solo cruising, then start packing.
Ready to book your next cruise vacation? Call us today at 877-229-6008 or 757-229-6008.
Visit us on the web at www.vipleisuretravel.com