The travel industry is generally going through a boom period and of all the sectors the cruise is doing the best. In fact cruise liners have taken the travel industry by storm during the last season. The latest figures indicate that more than 10 million passengers have enjoyed the luxuries that a cruise liner has to offer in the year 2005 alone. And if industry analysts are to be believed then this figure is going to double in the next five years. And as the business booms it is the passengers who stand to gain with different cruise liner companies introducing new itineraries and packages, and providing their customers with better purchasing options and more competitive prices.
If you are planning to go on a trip then the best time would be during the months of January to March. Traditionally known as the 'wave period' in industry circles, this is the time when the companies have the heaviest bookings and record about 35% of their annual sales. So this would be the right time for you to get the best deal as companies compete for every passenger and generally try their best to woo passengers. This is the time when they come out with the hottest deals and so if you book for this period you generally get the best deals.
However as things are now it is expected that you would get cooler deals this time around. Only six vessels have been purchased in 2006 compared to a dozen or more that have been purchased for the past five years by the fleets. But then again the Royal Caribbean Cruiselines have given away Blackberries, and RAZR phones as booking incentives for specific packages. So things might not be all that bad.
When you decide to book a cruise make sure that you have invested your time on it and got exactly what you were looking for. You can check the Sunday newspaper where most of the leading companies bring out their ads highlighting their new offers and special discounts. Keep a track of these offers. You can also get loads of information from the different websites that deal exclusively with cruise liners. Most of the larger companies have their own websites too.
When you have decided on what kind of cruise you want you make your first call. Make sure you mention your age and your state of residence, and also indicate if you are traveling in a group, or you have had traveled earlier with them. All these might just help you to get an additional discount. Once you get a figure quoted take it as a reference and in all your later discussions with other companies let them know how much you would are getting the trip for.
Sometimes it helps if you talk directly to the agents. They know the intricacies better and a good agent will help you choose the best cruise for you. And since the competition for getting clients is enormous the agents go a long way to get a deal. Obviously they can provide you rates which are less than what the company quotes. So if some agent offers you the same rate as the company it is better you move on and find another agent.
That's about it. Happy cruising!
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