It’s “The World’s Largest Cruise Sale!” Or, at least it’s billed so by the Cruise Lines International Association. For the past six years CLIA, the cruise line’s trade association, has organized 24 hours of cruise discounts and promotions on one day in October. This year, they decided to do seven times better by launching National Cruise Vacation Week.
NCVW, as is the association’s clumsy acronym, runs from October 17th through the 23rd, 2011. That is, you must book your cruise during that time period. Actually cruising dates vary.
The promotion is aimed towards travelers in North America but covers sailings to and from all over the world. All of CLIA’s member cruise lines are taking part, from major brands like Carnival and Royal Caribbean to more niche providers like Hurtigruten.
So how much can you save?
Quite a bit. Discounts off of cruise tickets range from US$100 to $5,000, depending on your specific sailing. Cruise Direct, for instance, is offering a five-night Mediterranean cruise for $249. And there’s a seven-night sailing on Norwegian Cruise Lines to Bermuda for as low as $349!
Equally as good—and arguably better than—those savings are the extra perks being offered during the National Cruise Vacation Week sale. Those include deposit waivers, complimentary shore excursions and automatic upgrades from a balcony berth to a suite. Many deals include ship credits; Norwegian Cruise Lines is giving everyone on their Europe cruises at least $300 (and up to $900!) to spend onboard.
To find deals you are best off going to an agrigator site. For Caribbean sailings we like Cheap Caribbean (who will give first time customers an extra $50 off via this link). For other destinations, Spot Cool Stuff prefers the useability of the Travelocity’s cruise search, though for higher-end cruises it is worth checking the special deal pages on Expedia and Orbitz too.
Regardless of where you book, when you book should be this week. Your wallet will thankful. And when vacation time comes and you are itching for open water and exotic ports of call, the rest of you will be thankful too.