Monday, 5 October 2009

The Early Bird Gets the Bargains!

Holiday companies have accustomed savvy buyers to wait for the best deals in recent years, offering various last-minute and late-discounted offers for those who are happy to hold out for a bargain.

But the cruise world is changing tack, quite literally, with a whole raft of new ideas, offers and incentives that make sure the early-booker gets the best deals.

And 2010 is now the perfect opportunity to put this to the test, with a combination of mouth-watering packages and even, in some instances, a cut-price guarantee that promises any future savings will be passed on. Here’s what to look for.

Great Deals

Luxury line Silversea Cruises offers up to 60% savings and FREE flights and transfers on select 2010 sailings.

The boutique style of Oceania Cruises is offering up to $1,000 off per person if booked by 31 December.

Book with any of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises or Azamara Cruises for 2010 and save up to £400 per suite, with free car parking AND up to $150 per person onboard credit if booked by 30 November.

More luxury? Crystal Cruises have re-priced select 2010 fares, as well as featuring 20th Anniversary Savings and discounts on Mediterranean and Northern Europe voyages, PLUS up to $2,000 per couple onboard credit.

Cruise with sumptuous Regent Seven Seas and enjoy FREE shore excursions and flights on select 2010 dates if booked by 31 December.

Or try Holland America, and receive their Early Advantage benefits of lower rates, first choice of staterooms, savings on hotels and reduced deposits.

How about a river cruise? APT River Cruises are offering 2010 voyages at 2009 prices on their 15-day Magnificent Europe cruise from March-October or FREE flights on selected cruises if booked by 31 October.

The more adventurous may want to try Swan Hellenic’s Best Price Promise, with many published fares for 2010 lower than corresponding fares in 2009, while Voyages of Discovery insist there will be NO fuel or current surcharges after you book.

Big-ship European line Costa Cruises have PRONTO pricing, which is the lowest possible price available and Fred Olsen feature early saver advance booking prices, giving the widest choice of cabins and preferred sitting for dining and table size. Ocean Members who book at least 6 months in advance will also receive a 5% discount.

Pay early for the sail-cruise style of Windstar and receive a Gratuity Package on all 2010 & 2011 sailings, PLUS $500 per couple shipboard credit if booked by 31 October.

There are even incentives for the deluxe Yachts of Seabourn, with early bookers receiving savings ranging from 10-50% off brochure fares. As the sailing date draws closer, these savings typically decrease or are withdrawn altogether.

Price Guarantees

Six-star Crystal Cruises have the Crystal Assurance Plan, which means if you book a 2009 or 2010 cruise and the fare is reduced later, you will be protected at the reduced fare (policy may not apply to special promotions).

Silversea will honour lower prices, provided it is their Silver Savings discount system that has changed. Silversea also have a Reassurance Programme, whereby if you cancel for any reason, you receive a 100% Reassurance Cruise Credit (subject to terms and conditions). The fee for this Programme is 3% of the guest’s holiday when purchased with a travel insurance that contains trip cancellation benefit.
Oceania Cruises will also match new rates where main brochure prices are reduced at a later date, as will Regent Seven Seas and the Yachts of Seabourn.

And Swan Hellenic's new Price Promise means if their prices reduce in future, they will automatically refund the difference, plus there are NO fuel or currency surcharges.

It all adds up to the BEST holiday style, at the BEST price and with the BEST discount guarantee. So it HAS to be a cruise in 2010!