Save During Wave! All the Reasons to Book Your Next Cruise During 'Wave Season'
It couldn’t come at a better time. The thrills of the holidays have passed, and cold weather, cabin fever, and the doldrums of winter are descending. Everyone needs something to look forward to. Welcome, Wave Season!
It’s the catchy name for the cruise travel equivalent to Black Friday. But instead of just a day, it’s a whole season of the best cruise deals of the year. Wave after wave of promotions, offers and perks that make booking your next cruise in the first couple of months of the year irresistible.
It’s not the only time of the year you can get a deal on a cruise. But it is the time of the year when cruise lines compete to outdo each other, and if you’re willing to do some legwork, and try something new, you can really wine.
With all the different kinds of discounts, promotions, perks and savings, it’s important to understand their differences, relative values, and especially, to compare deals ‘apple to apple’ to make sure you’re getting the best deals on the best cruise for you.
An expert travel advisor is your best bet to help you maximize your cruise travel budget and ensure you make the most of Wave Season. Here are some tips for the most common types of Wave incentives:
- Cruises are priced per person, double occupancy, so make sure you know whether the discount is per person or per stateroom (Example $1000 off per person would be $2000 off for the stateroom, but $1000 off per stateroom is $500 savings per person)
- Solo Travelers can also win during Wave. Instead of having to pay double occupancy rates, single supplements can be waived or reduced
- BOGO / 2-for-1 cruise fares: compare with regular fares in comparable cruise lines to make sure this is really as valuable as it suggests.
- 3rd/ 4th passengers OR Kids Sail Free: this is generally code for family savings, and applies most often to mass-market, family-oriented cruise lines. This kind of incentive can suddenly make a family cruise quite cost-effective.
- Reduced deposits: lower deposits to save your space on your cruise don’t change the overall price you’ll pay in the end. But they do give you the time to spread the cost of your cruise out, especially if your cruise is 12, 18 or more months away. That could allow you to book a higher category of stateroom, which will make a difference to your holiday.
- Stateroom upgrade: Like airlines, some cruise lines offer bidding for upgrades, but there are no guarantees. Complimentary accommodation upgrades are like a fare discount as you’ll know you’re getting better accommodations than you paid for.
- Pre-cruise overnight hotel stay: we always recommend arriving the day before your cruise, and this makes it easy on the wallet.
- Onboard Credits, or OBC: even on inclusive luxury cruises, you’ll always end up spending some money on the ship, and OBC’s allow you to treat yourself to shore excursions, spa treatments, top bottles of wine, even some shopping on board.
- Cruise plus Airfare bundles: Usually from major gateways; if you need to fly to get to the closest applicable gateway, there may be discounts on those connectors or you’ll be quoted on the difference.
- Beverage package or specialty restaurant dining package: These perks can really add value to non-inclusive cruises.
- Gratuities: 15$ or more per day per person in tips during your cruise can really add up; having them included in your fare can ensure you don’t have sticker shock at the end! If they are a free perk, all the better!
- Wi-Fi: With free wi-fi in almost every hotel now when we travel, it’s easy to forget that internet at sea is more complicated - and can be expensive. Check how many devices you can have connected at once.
- Shore Excursions: Even the most independent traveler sometimes enjoys joining a trip they couldn’t access themselves, or that makes it easy.
Try something new: If you’ve never tried cruising at all! Wave is definitely the time to look into booking the cruise you’ve been meaning to try.
Or have you been wondering what it’s like to try a new cruise style - maybe an expedition cruise? A small-ship cruise? If you usually take a Caribbean cruise, now’s the time to fulfill your curiosity about cold water cruising, or the Med, or even something really remote and exotic like Tahiti or Antarctica.
Or treat yourself. Use Wave savings and perks to upgrade to a luxury or ultra-luxury cruise line. Many are inclusive, offering certain things (like included tips, open bar, even shore excursions) that start making the math – especially with Wave offers – look very tempting!
The Bottom Line
Your travel advisor is your best partner sourcing and comparing the many deals available during Wave.
And in helping match you to your perfect cruise style and cruise line, especially if you’re going to take advantage of Wave promotions to expand your cruise travel horizons to try a new cruise for you.
START YOUR CRUISE TRIP!
By: Lynn Elmhirst, cruise/ travel journalist and expert
Image: World's Greatest Cruises on PBS TV
All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be copied, re-published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.