Before Booking - Check & Compare Rates For Cruises You Are Interested In Often:
I check rates for cruises I am interested in almost daily and have noticed the rates are always changing. I suggest checking the rate for the cruise you want daily. Depending on the cruise line, even after you have booked, you might be able to get a price match for a lower rate on your cabin if you find a lower rate. In those cases it can pay to check the rates daily! However, be careful not to procrastinate on booking your cruise because rates typically get more expensive as the sailing gets closer (not always) and space is limited onboard the ship. Whenever I check rates I write down the date & time and price for what I am looking at and then keep comparing to look for price differences.
Making Your Decision Of Which Cruise Line & Ship To Sail:
To book you need to narrow down your cruise selection to one cruise line, one ship, and one date. Here are some factors that may play an impact in your final decision.
1. Amenities The Ship Offers - Make sure the ship has the features you want. I suggest verifying what the ship has on the cruise line's website and from a third party source (make sure it is trustworthy).
2. Guests With Disabilities - If someone in your group/party has a disability make sure the cruise line & ship can accommodate them. You might want to consider getting information from the cruise line in writing, instead of by phone or travel agent. Most cruise ships have special rooms for guests with disabilities that may have features and layouts that regular cabins don't have. Make sure you verify the room you selected can accommodate the guest with a disability.
3. Itinerary & Length - The itinerary a ship will travel is important to many cruisers. This can include a ship's homeport as well as port of calls. Some cruisers want to travel to many ports of call, while others just want a short getaway that may include only one port.
Looking For Discounts and Special Rates:
Besides checking rates daily to determine the price, look for discounts and special rates. Some cruise lines run sales on off-season times, offer category upgrades in some sales, and much more. Also look for rates that apply to residents of certain states. For example, if I live in Nebraska my cruise line of interest could be offering a discount for Nebraska residents on New Orleans sailings. That example is hypothetical and is only meant to serve as an example for this website. Also look for past guest discounts, group discounts, frequent flyer mileage discounts, senior citizen discounts, military, teachers, or public service official discounts. Some cruise lines offer more discounts than others, but it never hurts to look and see what discounts your cruise line offers.
Misc. Booking Tips You Should Keep In Mind:
1. Before and after booking make sure you know documentation requirements for your cruise. If you need to get certain identification/documentation items in order to cruise make sure you get these items well in advance before cruising.
2. I suggest you try to keep a written record of everything. Keep a copy of your booking confirmation, cruise selections, and billing information. If you have any credits that were applied to your booking keep a record of the applying of credits.