A Cheap Cruise Is A Good Deal Right Now

During the recession, many Americans think of cheap travel as weekender road trips, not as luxury cruises. Yet that’s exactly why cruises have become one of the best cheap travel deals in 2010. An industry newsletter from Cruise Week called 2009 “the worst booking slump in modern-day cruise history.” The upside, they say, is “unprecedented low pricing.” Some cruisers have reported paying just $499 for a week in Europe or $99 for a three-night Mexican cruise. Vacationers are also receiving more bang for their buck, with 2-for-1 specials, free cabin upgrades, spa treatment vouchers and shore excursion inclusions.

Exactly how inexpensive is a cruise bargain? Consider that not too long ago, Carnival offered a three-day return cruise from San Diego to Ensenada, Mexico only $99! Under $100 gave you all your accommodations, travel, entertainment and food aboard the cruise ship! These ships offer water slides, jogging tracks, ping pong, a spa, mini golf, nightclubs, live shows and a plethora of restaurants and shops. Guests paid a $50 government fee and paid extra for alcoholic drinks and health spa sessions.

One might wonder, “How can a ship afford to operate, while offering such a cheap deal?” The answer is that 25% of their revenue comes from onboard expenses. Despite most packages being deemed “all-inclusive,” vacationers find it easy to spend money aboard the ship. “You get most food, entertainment, soft drinks and coffee,” explains one Carnival Corp spokesperson. “You pay for alcohol, merchandise, for the spa, for pictures. All of these things are optional, but it’s hard not to spend money on a cruise because you are a captive audience.” On a ship like Royal Caribbean’s Voyager, you’ll come across golf simulators, internet cafes and ice skating lessons, which all come for a small additional fee. It’s still possible to find cheap travel if you can exercise some restraint, but many veteran cruisers confess to spending double what they paid for their initial cruise fare, in the end.

According to the UK Telegraph, one can find cheap travel cruises almost everywhere. Cruising in Europe, the Baltic and the Middle East has newly found favor among travelers. The Far East itineraries to China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Vietnam, Thailand, India and Malaysia are becoming hot spots for 2010. “Not surprisingly, the cost will be hugely important in 2010,” writes The Telegraph’s Sara Macefield. “The last year has seen a string of amazing offers, with widespread discounts of up to 60% accompanied by free flights, free places, complimentary car parking on ex-Britain sailings and on-board credits of up to $500 per person.” She said, with more new ships to fill, 2010 is looking like a great year to find inexpensive travel deals as well.

When many people think “cheap travel,” they check out websites such as www.orbitz.com or www.expedia.com for budget airfare or they pay a visit to www.hotels.com and www.bedandbreakfast.com for budget hotels. In 2010, all-inclusive trips have become all the rage since they supply more bang for your buck, which means more facilities, more fine dining, more destinations and more luxury for as low as $50 per day! As with hotel brands and airlines, there are many cruise operators, and that equals greater competition and cut rate fees for vacationers.

In the past, inexpensive travel and cheap airfare meant that you had to work around some travel restrictions. Sometimes you could only fly on certain days of the week, or you had to be on stand-by if you wanted a good deal. These days, fortunately, you can find inexpensive flight tickets for any day of the week.