There are few things that a travel professional dreads more than the start of wave season. Wave season, (pun intended), is how we affectionately refer to the busiest season of the cruising travel pros year, between February and May. This is when the phones never stop ringing. The caller on the other end is always seeking the cruise getaway of a life time…for pennies on the dollar of course!! Well I as a seasoned and perhaps a bit toughened to a jerky like consistency travel professional am here to tell you how it really is.
Of course there are always cruise deals to be had but the discerning shopper must be, well, discerning and by the by being a pill to the kindly travel professional on the other end of the phone line really won’t get you on the sea any faster or cheaper. But, take heed to my tested and true tips and you just might save a few dollars and loads of aggravation.
If the kids are free to play then you are gonna pay!!!
That’s right folks look at your friendly school calendar and make note of all the school related holidays. Spring Break, Summer Break, Winter Holidays, typically if your children are out of school and free to travel the rates for cruises are going to be considerably higher. The cruise industry is well aware that this is a convenient time to travel and take advantage by charging higher cruise rates during these times. If you want to take the same exciting cruise, but, save some of your hard earned dough then try to avoid traveling during these periods. Your kids are very bright I’m sure and can stand to miss a day of school here or there in the interest of cultural enrichment …and not breaking your bank.
Did you include the cost of travel into your travel budget?
So every other call that I receive during the height of wave season is from a client that wants to purchase the highly advertised cruise deal that gives six whole days of cruising pleasure for the low, low price of $279 (or some other arbitrarily low amount). Yes, so thrilling! The ship leaves from Miami. The Client lives in El Paso, Texas. Hmm. Have you considered the cost to travel to your departure port? Because that can add a whole lot of dinero to your bargain priced cruise. Oh you have and you plan to drive you say? Well okay then…did you consider the cost to park your vehicle while on your cruise? Parking ain’t free traveling Matt. The lots at the cruise ports charge by the day and if you are driving something larger than a standard sized vehicle (SUVS included) then by all means expect to pay more here. Or even better if frugality in travel is our aim consider selecting a cruise port closer to your home. The price for the cruise itself might be higher, but, when you factor in the added pre- travel, travel expense you may find that the closer cruise ports offer a more economical option
Take the Insurance… ’cause you never know.
So, whenever I talk to a new client and begin to offer them travel insurance the auto response seems to be “Oh, I don’t need that we are going on this cruise no matter what!” Really? I know that you believe this to be true when you say it, but, what if…your husband dies? What if your house catches fire? What if you get into a car accident on the way? How about you come down with just a God awful case of diarrhea the morning that you are scheduled to set sail? Still going then? Didn’t think so, and now you have no insurance and the big bad cruise line is going to keep all your hard earned money oh yes, yes they are. So think long and hard about declining the insurance because you really just never know. If you are dead set on not taking the insurance offered by your travel pro then please, please for the love of cheese and toast do some research and find a travel insurance policy that meets your needs.
So intrepid travelers I know that I have given you a harsh dose of tough love with these travel tips, but, heed them and you will set sail with less worries and more money to spend on all your decadent desires. Happy Cruising!