So you want a cheap getaway? Well look no further.
Get a taste of the luxury life on a short mini cruise, aboard a modern, stylish cruise ship.
Top 10 Best Value Mini Cruise Deals
When it comes to cruising, it's not always about getting the cheapest possible price. Instead, you should look for the best possible value.
If you are willing and able to spend a little more, then consider these options. The cruises below offer the cheapest rates per person per night I have found. So while the upfront cost might be a little more, they represent better value for money in my opinion.
Top 10 Cheapest Mini Cruise Deals
As you can see in my mini cruise calendar, there are plenty of short breaks to choose between.
If you are looking for rock bottom prices, then the mini cruises below will fit your bill. They are the cheapest holidays I have found.
Cruising on a budget - top tips for cheap fares
I love saving money. Who doesn't? While the savings you can make on mini cruises aren't usually significant, they are still savings nevertheless. Here are some top tips:
- Book super early. Cruise fares are based on supply and demand. So book as early as you can when the itineraries are released for a good deal.
- Consider booking late. Sometimes it can pay to book close to the departure date. Cruise fares can be cheap, but the risk with this tactic is that cabins might be more scarce. If you are travelling alone or as a group of 3 or more people, I'd avoid this option if you have your heart set on a specific cruise. Last remaining cabins are usually only for two people sharing, especially during peak times.
- If you can, book outside of peak periods. School holidays (predominantly the summer holidays but also the Easter break and half-term weeks) are notoriously expensive. If you can sail outside of these, you'll likely find cheaper rates. Also, weekday departures versus weekend departures are typically cheaper, as there is often lower demand for mid-week breaks. Many people can clock off work early on a Friday or turn up a bit later on Monday. They'd need to take annual leave to sail Monday to Thursday for instance.
- Consider an inside cabin. If you are sailing on a mini cruise, it's likely you will sail overnight, so a cheap fare to compensate for the lack of a view is worthwhile on short trip. If your itinerary includes a sea day, a balcony is a real treat. If you are celebrating a special occasion (a birthday or a wedding anniversary perhaps), a luxury suite is an affordable splurge on a mini cruise (oops, there goes the saved money!).
Beware of the small print:
- Remember to factor in the gratuities. Most cruise lines add a set amount per person per day onto your on-board bill. These gratuities (tips) are divided up between a variety of staff that help make your cruise what it is, including the back-of-house staff you never see. Typically, this will set you back around £10 per person per day (each cruise line has a different rate and some charge a reduced rate for children). Personally, I'd rather cruise lines baked this cost into the cruise fare to remove the surprise bill at the end of the sailing, although a couple of lines have begun to do this.
- One way or two? Most one-night (and some two-night) mini cruises are one way repositional cruises meaning they start and end in different locations. Some cruise lines offer transport options back to your origin but others let you make your own way back. On the plus side, this means you can privately book a hotel stay for a few nights at the destination before making your own way home - ideal if you've never been to the destination before and you want to make more of a holiday of the occasion.
- Special offers rarely apply to mini cruises. Beware of the glossy ads with amazing offers such as "up to $1,000 (≈ £715) in onboard credit". That's usually only available on a super-long cruise and only if you book a luxury suite. These offers usually have a sliding scale of benefits, but the cheapest cabins are normally excluded. Compare the cost of cabins with the perks and the cabins without the perks to see if you'll end up paying more by taking the offer. The saying "there's no such thing as a free lunch" applies to these offers - the cost is often baked into the cruise fare.
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