Book your ultimate year-end holiday with MSC Cruises...
Save money on your year-end cruise with accommodation, meals and entertainment included, a cruise offers value for money for rand-strapped South Africans…
“Whether you have already booked a December cruise, or are still looking for deals, there are many ways to save on the cost of your cruise holiday,” says Divan Viljoen, Marketing Campaign Manager at Cruiseabout, a division of the Flight Centre Travel Group.
It is always recommended to book early, but Cruiseabout has several more suggestions to guarantee the best value cruise experience year-round.
“Look out for advertised specials and check exactly what the package and value-adds cover.”
Jane Davidson, Director of Development Promotions, which represents several major international cruise lines in South Africa, suggests travellers consider international sailings that start from a destination that is easy to access. “For example, passengers can easily fly to Barcelona or Rome for a Mediterranean cruise, or fly to Singapore to embark on a cruise around Malaysia and Thailand.”
Sandy Mc Carthy from Whitestar Cruise & Travel, representatives for Cunard in South Africa, added: “Look for discounted fares but check for restrictions. For example,Cunard offers a Saver Fare on certain cruises. These fares are cheaper, but there are restrictions. If you don’t mind them, then it is a great option.”
“Don’t forget about gratuities,” advises Teresa Richardson, Managing Director of The Travel Corporation in South Africa, parent company of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises.
“For example, both U by Uniworld and Uniworld Boutique River Cruises include gratuities in pricing for European cruises. This is wonderful as guests don’t have to budget for this – it’s already included.”
Cruise fares are usually rate of exchange dependent. “Although this is less of an issue with local cruises, it is always best to pay upfront. Pay in full at the time of booking, and save by locking in the price and avoiding any currency fluctuations,” Viljoen explains.
At the time of booking, your cruise specialist will advise whether you need to add flights, transfers, insurance or any extras. Cruise lines often have agreements with specific suppliers, and a travel consultant can tailor a package that saves you money.
“If you want to drink more than a few drinks each day, consider a drinks package offered by the cruise line,” says Ian Mathews, Sales and Marketing Manager at Triton Cape Sea Travel.
“Drinks on an MSC Cruises’ ship are always [priced] in US dollars, regardless of your destination, so buying prepaid drinks packages means that you don’t have to worry about fluctuating exchange rates while at sea,” explains Volk.
The same rule applies for shore excursions and add-ons such as spa packages. Where possible, pre-book these, says Viljoen. “On a local MSC cruise, passengers can save up to 20%… And, not many people know this, but, if you are cruising from Durban, it is possible to pre-book parking. The rate is charged to your onboard account, and it is convenient,” says Viljoen.
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