Who doesn’t love free upgrades and onboard credit when taking a cruise? I know I do!
So what is the best way to get these extra bonuses when you travel? Well, there are a few ways. Obviously, the most straightforward way is to wait for a sale. Cruise lines advertise these on and off all the time, and promotions always vary. Sometimes there’s a reduced deposit. Sometimes there’s a free upgrade. And sometimes they offer varying amounts of onboard credit based on the type of room you choose.
After that (and many times, in conjunction with a sale), a great way to secure extra spending money on your ship is to contact a travel agent. Obviously, I’m happiest if you contact Sunshine Travel, but generally travel agents are able to secure additional onboard credit or perks on most sailings (that’s just one perk of using a travel agent, but that’s a story for another time!). These extra bonuses are only available by booking with a travel agent. (And remember, Sunshine Travel never charges any additional fees, so you are always guaranteed the best price!)
But now, I’m about to fill you in on a third way to add extra perks to your cruise booking…
Have you ever been on a cruise before, and passed the “Future Cruise Sales” desk? I have. And to be honest, I always found it a little bit annoying. I mean, I’m already sailing on the ship, and I’m already spending additional money on shore excursions, drinks, and other fun things. And then they’re asking me for more money to take another cruise, before this one is even over?
But you know what? If you like to cruise, that Future Cruise Consultant should be your new best friend! By making a deposit for your next cruise while you are still onboard, you stand to score some great discounts, upgrades, and/or onboard credits that you could not find otherwise!
Your reservation will seamlessly transfer into the hands of the travel agent you booked your current cruise with (or another travel agent if you wish). And when your travel agent takes care of your reservation, you’ll be able to take advantage of all of the additional credits mentioned above, plus the personalized service of an agent!
Specifics vary by cruise line when it comes to Future Cruise Sales, but in general, you can expect a reduced deposit for the future cruise of $100 per person. And for that next cruise that you choose, you can be eligible for an onboard credit that varies between $25 and $200. Some cruise lines also offer a free upgrade. Some cruise lines offer a discount on your next cruise. And one cruise line even lets you book up to 2 additional staterooms with the same reduced deposit/onboard credit perks so you can bring friends and family along!
If you don’t have a specific future cruise in mind, or you’re not ready to make a decision, some cruise lines even offer an option that allows you to purchase cruise certificates for the same amount of the reduced deposit, so you can choose your specific cruise later, and still keep the bonus offers! (Of course, restrictions apply.)
Let me give a brief example, based on a real life cruiser. Mr. Smith is sailing on a Celebrity Cruise. Mr. Smith loves Celebrity and knows he will sail on them again in the future. He goes to the Future Cruise Consultant and arranges to make a deposit on another cruise for next year. He pays a total of $200 deposit for him and his wife. He chooses a category 2C veranda room, but gets a free upgrade to a category 1C, which would have ordinarily cost him an additional $300. Furthermore, he receives a $200 onboard credit on the next cruise. Mr. Smith’s reservation automatically gets placed in the hands of his trusted travel agent. The travel agent then informs Mr. Smith that she has an additional $50 onboard credit available for his sailing!
So for putting down $100 per person, Mr. Smith ended up with a savings over $300 for his cruise, and a total of $250 onboard credit! Not a bad deal! If he called the cruise line directly after he returned home, he would have received none of these benefits. And if he just called his travel agent, he would have only received the $50 onboard credit.
Obviously, taking advantage of this benefit involves you getting on a cruise in the first place, but if you like to cruise, this is a great way to save money on your next sailing!