Q&A with Travelzoo UK Cruise Experts

Questions & Answers

We have put together some of the most popular questions that get e-mailed to us and with the help of Travelzoo UK cruise experts here are the answers.

What are the advantages of booking early?
Traditionally, cruise lines tried to encourage customers to book early with early sales and discounts. This worked well with regular cruisers who were used to booking a long time in advance. However, two factors have combined to change things slightly.

First, cruising is becoming mainstream, and people used to booking last-minute land holidays are now considering cruises, too. Second, there are many more cruise ships operating, meaning more cabins to sell and therefore more discounting needed to fill them. As a result, we see some great last-minute bargains.

That said, it’s not all about the price either. Waiting until the last second might mean that some of the best cabins are sold out. Even worse, the sailing you want could be entirely sold out. So, if you’re just looking for a bargain, it pays to leave it late, but if you want to book a specific date on a specific ship – you’re better off booking early.

Why are cruises for single travellers so expensive?
It’s mostly down to the limited availability of single cabins. Some ships offer a few, others none. Once the single cabins are sold out, prices jump for single travellers.

This is because cruise lines can make more money with two people per cabin. It’s not only about the getting two fare-paying customers per bed, it’s also having an extra body on board, buying drinks, spa treatments, souvenir photographs…  On the plus side, the industry seems to slowly adapt and tries to cater more and more for the singletons out there.

Notable examples includes NCL’s Epic and P&O’s Azura, which both offer single cabins.

What are the chances of another Costa Concordia disaster happening again?
You can never guarantee this type of disaster will never happen again. But, at the same time, the chances are rather slim. The main cruise lines take safety very seriously. Plus, the Concordia disaster led to a tightening of safety guidelines across the industry.

I have been on many ocean cruises and am now thinking of taking a river cruise. What lines would you recommend?
The number one consideration is budget. Overall, river cruising is more expensive than ocean cruising, mostly because the ships are smaller and have fewer cabins.

However, some budget-friendly options can be found, such as Shearings Holidays and The River Cruise Line. More expensive alternatives we would recommend include Avalon Waterways, Viking River Cruise, Noble Caledonia and Scenic Tours.

Is every six star cruise line All Inclusive?
First, it’s important to understand that there’s no official star rating when it comes to cruise ships.

Six star is mostly a term that’s been coined to differentiate what you can call ‘mainstream luxury’ lines (like Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Lines) to the more boutique lines, with smaller ships like Regent Seven Seas, Silversea, Paul Gauguin. Whilst the last three examples are all-inclusive, some cruise lines which could be considered 6-star or premium, like Oceania Cruises or Windstar, do not include alcoholic drinks.

If you’re interested in a high-end cruise, the best is to research thoroughly the market and find what’s best for you. For example, Regent includes excursions in the price, so if you like discovering places it’s ideal. And, Oceania is widely praised for its restaurants and is perfect for foodies.

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