The most common discounts are seasonal, last minute, military, geographical, past passenger, senior citizen, positioning itineraries, promotional and distressed categories.
Seasonal – Caribbean cruises are typically discounted in the fall. Alaska cruises will be cheaper at the beginning and end of the season (May, September and October).
Last Minute – Waiting to book can also lead to a great bargain, especially if you are prepared to depart on short notice, having no strong preferences on which ship or itinerary.
Military – Tell the agent that you won the Medal of Honor fighting alongside Sgt. York at the Battle of Verdun and you might get an extra 5% to 10% off.
Geographical – Sometimes small discounts will be available because of where you live – say in Paris, Texas instead of Paris, Tennessee. (Don’t ask why – it is something known only to cruise line executives.)
Past Passenger – lines will frequently offer discounts and/or perks to loyal customers -depending on the number of previous cruises with that particular cruise line.
Senior Citizen – If you are over age 55, ask if an age related discount is available.
Promotional – These kind of discounts can rear their pretty little heads for any number of reasons – again, some only known by cruise lines executives.
Positioning Cruises – These are necessary but less popular itineraries needed to get the ship from one seasonal station to another – say, from Miami to Seattle for the Alaska season. These itineraries are available mostly in the spring and fall and almost always offer deep discounts. But be forewarned – these positioning cruises involve long days at sea and fewer ports. This is especially true of trans-Atlantic positioning cruises.
Category Sale – Another frequent price promotion – a ship may be over-sold in one category and grossly under-sold in another; resulting in deep discounts on the latter.