It’s not uncommon to associate deals with limited-time offers. After all, promotions are often accompanied by exclamation-sign laden phrases like 'Act now!' or 'Hurry! Sale ends soon.'
And cruise deals are no exception, particularly the ones offered for Black Friday/Cyber Monday and Wave Season. But that doesn't mean that you can only find good value on promotions that have an expiration date. From drink and dining packages to bundles and solo travel bargains, it's possible to find great value on a permanent basis.
These deals, however, can often go unadvertised and unnoticed. Here are six cruise line deals that are always available and are always a good deal.
Drink packages are one of the most popular add-ons that cruisers look for when booking a cruise. In general terms (and depending on how much you plan to consume), most drink packages can offer good value instead of going a la carte. Naturally, not all drink packages are created equal, and some can even surpass the $100 mark per person, per day.
The permanent cost of the package is $19.95 per person per day and entitles the passenger to unlimited drinks priced at $15 or less, and 15% off premium beverages, Armagnacs and bottles of wine over $50.
By comparison, Royal Caribbean's bottomless Deluxe Beverage Package can cost between $48 - $79 per person per day, depending on the voyage. This package includes any single beverage item with a value of up to $13 (plus, a 40% discount on bottled wines priced up to $100, and 20% discount on wines priced above $100)
Similarly, Carnival's comparable Cheers! Drink package starts at $59.95 per person, per day; while on Norwegian Cruise Line, the price for the Unlimited Open Bar Package goes for a whopping $109 per person per day.
It is true, however, that base fares on Viking are higher than on mainstream lines like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Carnival. But the Silver Spirit Beverage Package also compares favorably to those offered by premium cruise lines that are similar to Viking. Oceania Cruises' Prestige Select drink package, for instance, costs $69.95 per person per day, while on Virgin Voyages you pay for drinks a la carte using the line's Bar Tab, which is available in increments of $300.
Much like drinks, specialty dining is another popular expense that cruisers regularly incur. Most non-luxury ships have specialty restaurants and dining at them can add to your costs very quickly, which is why offering dining packages has become a popular option.
Most dining packages give you access to a fixed number of specialty dining venues throughout the length of your cruise. Royal Caribbean's Unlimited Dining Package, however, can offer better bang for your buck by entitling you to one specialty meal per night (plus lunch on sea days) during your voyage.
The cost ranges from $115 per passenger for a 3-night cruise to $260 per passenger on a 7-night voyage, plus an 18% gratuity charge. On average, you can save up to 40% of the cost of dining in these specialty restaurants individually.
Inside cabins are known to be among the most inexpensive accommodations on any given cruise ship, but they are hardly ever thought of as luxurious. MSC Cruises, however, could be considered the exception..
The cruise line's Yacht Club -- a private-access suite enclave that offers an exclusive ship-within-a-ship experience -- contains a handful of inside cabins that can go for just under $3,000 per couple on a seven-night cruise.
While that may seem excessive for a room without a view, the outstanding value comes with everything else that the Yacht Club brings. All suites here (including inside cabins) come with a premium drink package that covers all beverages up to $15, a two-device WiFi package, 24-hour butler service and dedicated concierge and access to the thermal spa suite in the MSC Aurea Spa. You also get exclusive access to the Yacht Club's private pool deck, dedicated gourmet restaurant and Top Sail Lounge.
And contrary to the suite areas on other cruise lines, there is no membership fee to book a cabin in the Yacht Club; just the cost of your room.
Aside from drink and specialty dining packages, cruise lines offer several onboard perks that incur additional costs. Bundling these is often a good way to save, as many cruise line will offer this alternative. And Princess Cruises offers two of the most complete bundles: the Princess Plus Package and the Princess Premier Package.
At a cost of $60 per person per day, the Plus package includes a Plus Beverage Package, Wi-Fi connection on one device, Crew Appreciation, Medallion Shipping, two premium desserts per day, two Xponential Fitness Classes per cruise, and unlimited drinks at the Juice Bar. By purchasing this package instead of each item individually, passengers can save up to 54% on an average seven-day cruise.
Princess Premier, on the other hand, costs $80 per person per day and it includes the following: Premier Beverage Package, Crew Appreciation, Medallion Shipping, unlimited premium desserts, unlimited Xponential Fitness Classes, unlimited Juice Bar, two specialty dining venues per cruise, a photo package, Princess Prizes, reserved theater seating and Medallion Accessory. The Princess Premier package can save passengers up to 66% of the cost of purchasing each item individually.
Since debuting in 2022, Margaritaville at Sea has consistently offered good value on three-day Bahamas cruises. Cruisers can routinely find fares as low as $129 per person, with ongoing deals that take 50% off the second passenger's rate.
But beyond the attractive base fares, you can also find great value in the cruise line's add-on package, dubbed License to Chill. And since Margaritaville at Sea's itineraries are always the same length, the cost of the package is always fixed.
For an additional $199 per person, you get 5 complimentary drinks, a $75 spa credit, dinner at the ship's JWB Steakhouse, a sparkling wine breakfast at JWB Steakhouse, one premium coffee and pastries at the Margaritaville Coffee Shop. You also get a wine tasting experience, exclusive stateroom gifts, bathrobes to use during your cruise and a private concierge.
Plus, the License to Chill Package includes all the benefits you'd get from Margaritaville at Sea's Faster Chill Package (individually priced at $99 for two guests). These perks include Wi-Fi for two devices, express check-in and port debarkation, priority luggage delivery, VIP lounge access at check-in, reserved seating at the ship's Stars on the Water theater, special seating in Fin Dining and shore excursion booking assistance.
Curiously, the cost of the package for two passengers in a stateroom is $399, more than twice the cost of the solo package. Either way, considering all that is included, it can be said that the License to Chill package basically pays for itself.
While cruise lines routinely advertise limited-time deals that reduce or waive the single supplement to entice solo travelers, many lines also have solo cabins that offer permanent value for these passengers.
And among the cruise lines that offer these rooms that are specifically designed and priced for solo travelers, Norwegian's Solo Studio Cabins. For starters, they offer more inventory: Norwegian Epic leads the pack with 128 studios, while Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Bliss each have 82. Sister ships Breakaway and Getaway offer 59 of these cabins apiece.
Norwegian's studio cabins also bring additional value because passengers staying in these rooms have access to the Studio Lounge. This exclusive hangout area is decked with sofas, large screen TVs, coffee-making facilities and a dedicated bartender.