Find out why cruising is still popular for upscale travelers, plus steps you can take to save big on your next luxury trip.
The cruise industry has had it rough over the past few years. You’re forgiven if you’ve been avoiding booking what should be a relaxing vacation for fear of turning into a speck in a Covid petri dish.
But as infection rates subside, you might consider looking at one overlooked part of the cruise industry that doesn’t involve crowds of people sucking down hot dogs and jockeying for space on a congested pool deck.
Cruise lines are trying to attract travelers with greater financial means because they keep pouring billions of dollars into bigger, improved vessels. With so much capital invested into new ships each year with upgraded technology and all the bells and whistles, the average cruise industry clientele is more sophisticated than they used to be. At the same time, cruise lines do their best to make luxury options an affordable choice.
How cruises bring luxury travel within reach
Cruising also makes it easier (and more affordable) to secure luxury accommodations and upgraded experiences than with other types of trips. For starters, you may not have to fly to your cruise departure port, leaving you with thousands more to spend on the cruise of your dreams.
Budget cruise lines offer luxury options
The first detail to understand about cruising is that you don’t have to go with a luxury cruise line to enjoy the best things in life. Both The Haven from Norwegian Cruise Line and the Yacht Club from MSC Cruise let you book an upgraded experience with a family-friendly budget cruise line, and often for less than people think.
Both “ships within a ship” offer upgrades such as roomier cabins, private pools and dining areas, and 24-hour butler service that ensures your vacation goes off without a hitch. They also give their guests priority at every turn, from flexible dining times to private escorts from the ship before and after excursions. Guests in the Yacht Club even receive an unlimited drinks package that covers nearly any drink you want during your cruise, from top-shelf liquors to fine wines chosen by the ship’s sommelier.
Cruise cabins are growing in size
One of the biggest gripes of reluctant cruisers is cabin size available on the average ship. On the new Carnival Mardi Gras, for example, an interior stateroom can be as tight as 158 square feet, and even a Junior Balcony suite has just 216 square feet of space including extra room on the balcony.
If you can’t imagine being confined to such a small area, you’re not alone. Fortunately, many of today’s ships offer roomier cabins that can make the travel experience feel more like a stay in a luxury hotel. This is true in upgraded VIP areas on modern cruise ships, and cruise lines generally have chosen to let their customers have some breathing room.
As an example, the Deluxe Owner’s Suite in The Haven on the newer Norwegian Prima offers 994 to 1,017 sq. ft. plus another 600 sq. ft. or more of balcony space. Meanwhile, the Yacht Club Owner’s Suite on the new MSC Seashore includes 1,055 sq. ft. of interior space and a huge balcony with its own private whirlpool.
Cruise deals are easier than ever to find
You can often find last-minute cruise deals on your favorite line’s website, or you can sign up for cruise line updates and newsletters to learn about last-minute deals or discounts at the moment.
The website VacationstoGo.com lets you browse cruises priced at up to 82% off with their 90-day ticker—a tool that lets you compare prices on cruises that depart in the next three months. This website lets you browse discounted cruises from all the major brands such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival, as well as cruise deals from luxury cruise lines like Windstar Cruises, Oceania, and Seabourn.
Luxury cruises worth taking
Angling for a luxury cruise? Here are a few 2022 cruise deals that can help you enjoy a luxury experience without breaking the bank.
Caribbean Cruise with MSC Cruises
- Ship: MSC Divina
- Departure: Port Canaveral, Florida
- Dates: September 18th – September 25th, 2022
- Cabin: Yacht Club Deluxe Suite
- Price: $5,136 for double occupancy
Cruise the Caribbean on the MSC Divina, one of the most popular ships at MSC Cruises. This cruise fare includes a stay in a Yacht Club Deluxe Suite, which comes standard with private dining in the Yacht Club restaurant, an unlimited drinks package, 24-hour butler service, and an array of VIP perks. Over seven nights, the MSC Divina stops at MSC Cruises Ocean Cay for two nights before heading to Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico.
Mediterranean Cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line’s The Haven
- Ship: Norwegian Epic
- Departure: Barcelona, Spain
- Dates: September 18th – September 25th, 2022
- Cabin: The Haven 2-Bedroom Family Villa with Balcony
- Price: $8,225.22 for a family of four
Prices in The Haven from Norwegian Cruise Line are very reasonable, even if you’re traveling with kids. This seven-night cruise out of Barcelona, Spain includes a stay in a 2-Bedroom Family Villa with Balcony, with over 500 sq. ft. of space across two bedrooms and a small living area. Stops after departing Barcelona include Ajaccio, Corsica, Rome, Naples, and Florence in Italy; with additional stops in Cannes, France and Palma, Majorca. The best part? The current promotion for this cruise includes free drinks and Wi-Fi.
How to cruise in style on a budget
Cruising gets a bad rap for the food, cramped quarters, and the overall travel experience, but cruise lines have upped their offerings a notch in the last few years. You can always cruise with a luxury line if you’re ready to shell out some cash, yet several budget lines have introduced upgraded experiences and cabins that let you cruise in style without breaking the bank.
You’ll find even better prices if you’re willing to consider multiple cruise lines and itineraries, and if you’re willing to book a cruise at the last minute. Keep your eyes open for deals and your mind open to the possibilities, and you could be booking your next luxury cruise in no time.