Shipboard credit, cash back, reduced deposits. Twenty-six cruise lines promoting extra perks and cruise savings in conjunction with travel agents. It’s all going down from October 17 – 23, 2011, during the Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) National Cruise Vacation Week.
Sounds intriguing. But is this just a marketing ploy or an actual chance at savings? The event takes the place of the World’s Largest Cruise Night, an invention of CLIA to promote cruise sales on one night in October. Now the deals extend to an entire week, during which local travel agencies will host parties, presentations and other events to talk you into making a deposit on a 2011, 2012 or even 2013 sailing. While some events will be more general, others are focused on specific lines or destinations. For example, New Paltz Travel in upstate New York is focusing on Alaska cruises with a birds of prey demonstration from the Delaware Raptor Center. (To find a virtual or live event, you can search for participating agencies by location on CLIA’s Web site.)
So what about those deals? Most lines aren’t listing any general fares, and we doubt they’ll slash prices dramatically just for these events. However, if there are good fares out there, you can stretch your dollar a bit farther by taking advantage of up to $300 cash back from Carnival, up to $400 in onboard credit from Celebrity, free balcony upgrades from Princess, and two-for-one fares from Cunard. So if you were thinking about a cruise, it can’t hurt to do some pricing research and see how a CLIA agent can best the offer this week. Or attend an event. In addition to snagging a glass of wine and some M&Ms, some agencies, like Liberty Travel in NY, are offering the chance to win a free cruise. Now that would be a good deal!
Looking for cruises for under $75 or even $50 a day? We’ve got dozens listed on our Cheap Cruises page.
Everyone loves a deal — here’s our guide to finding cruising’s best bargains in 2011.
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