Glam for Less: 3 -Steps for Singles to Save Big on Luxury Cruises.
Friends keep asking me: "How can you afford all that glamorous travel on your salary?"
My answer: "I never go anywhere unless it's a bargain -- and this includes one of my favorite forms of travel: cruises!"
In today's post – I share how I find deals on luxury cruises for under $60 a day!
Three Cruise Deals I booked on NCL
$399 - 7 Night Bermuda Cruise
NCL - Dawn $57/day for a single traveler
Image: St. George, Bermuda
Photo: Calvin Wood
$599 - 11 Night Caribbean Cruise
NCL Gem - $55/day for a single traveler
Image: St. Thomas Harbor
Photo: Calvin Wood
$599 - 11 Night Mediterranean Cruise
NCL Spirit - 55/day for a single traveler
Image: Castel Sant'Angelo - Rome
Photo: Calvin Wood
$399- for 7 Days to Bermuda, $599-for 11 days to the Caribbean, and $599-for 11 days to the Mediterranean: This was the TOTAL cost (not including port taxes) for a single person for a whole fabulous cabin – all for me... (I know! I couldn't believe it myself! My dining-out bill is higher than that in Corfu and Positano!)
How did I snag such luxury for so little?
3 Step Process to Save on a Single Cruise
Step 1: Start by looking at NCL
After years of research - I realized NCL offers the best deals for singles. NCL is a true leader for solo cruisers. They hold the crown!!! And they offer those deals as "Single Fares".
Now, I'm warning you – you need to work to find these deals. NCL only showcases "Single Fares" on SELECT cruises.
You need to keep your radar up for a special blue "S" icon next to a desired cruise.
You can only see the blue "S" icon if you set the number of guests to "1" in the search widget.
With the blue "S" icon – savings can be SIGNIFICANT.
Why? Because on other cruise lines, if you sail alone, they double the listed per-person price. They call that a "supplement" (to cover the cost of two beds in the room. Remember, when you travel solo, the second bed will be empty. The cruise company wants you to absorb that financial).
However, if you travel solo on NCL on Single Fares, the company does not double the fare. Instead they charge a "reduced supplement" ...and in some cases they add absolutely no extra cost to the per-person rate.
Still too confusing? All you need to know is you can save up to 50% on NCL!
I assume NLC offers these fares on trips that aren't selling well – or have last minute unsold cabins.
I found these special Single Fares as close as three weeks prior to departure... and in rare cases (as far as) four months ahead of time.
If you can't find these deals, DO NOT GIVE UP. Go back on a daily basis, and search for that special blue "S" icon next to your dream cruise. That icon may pop up at a moment's notice. You must be persistent and determined. (For hard-core travelers only... like me.)
Step 2- Book a "Sail-Away" Cabin
Once you've found the Single Fares, do NOT book your actual cabin – IF you want to save even MORE money!
Instead – book what's called a "Sale-Away" cabin – meaning NCL guarantees you a cabin in the category you booked: either an Inside, Outside or Balcony - but they won't give you the room number until a day before departure.
The good news: no matter what cabin you get - you definitely have a room guaranteed on that ship.... AND in special cases (this is where the glamor takes over) you might get an upgrade to a better cabin. (Crack open the Veuve Cliquot!!!) On my last voyage, I paid for an inside cabin, and on sailing day, got upgraded to a dazzling outside cabin!
NOTE: At these rates, you won't get "specials" like free drinks. But if you value luxury over being intoxicated, the savings are huge. On my last 7-day cruise, I saved $800 on the cabin rate. $800!!! It would be hard to drink that much champagne on a cruise – even for me.
Step 3: Be Completely Flexible
Be Flexible. You'll never get a deal if you insist on sailing, on only one date, and on only one cruise – say, the Fjords of Norway in the third week of June.
Remember: Flexibility = Bargains.
If you are set on a locale - be flexible on the date.
If you are set on a date - be flexible on the location.
For best results – be flexible on both.
How to Use the NCL Widget to Find Glamour Bargains for Single Travelers
- Set the Widget to "1-Guest".
- Sort by "Price." This helps you identify the best deals.
- Start searching weeks before you're ready to book. When you see something that looks great - GRAB IT! Don't wait!
(Look at the example above: $599 for a 7 day cruise to the Adriatic! - For a single person!)
The Verdict: Luxury travel on a budget requires work. But it's SO-OH worth it!
Here's hoping my advice, clues, and secrets help YOU travel in style!
And by all means, I'd love to hear how you make out! And what bewitching destination you end up sailing to!
Now, let's toast with Dom Perignon and Lobster Thermador.