We asked movers and shakers from the cruise industry for their top tips for booking a cruise. Here’s what they had to say…

© Carnival Cruise Line
© Carnival Cruise Line
Erin Johnson, Marketing Director UK & Ireland, Carnival Cruise Line

“Most cruise lines now have spa cabins, which have direct access to the ships’ spa area and for the price you pay, everything within the spa environment is included like private access, fitness classes and priority appointments, which are ideal for sea days. These cabins are ideal if you’d like to ensure you have a guaranteed relaxing element to your cruise holiday.”

Jo Rzymowska, Managing Director UK & Ireland, Celebrity Cruises

“There are some great deals when you book your next cruise while on board enjoying a cruise holiday – and you can beat those post-holiday blues by knowing you have the next one to look forward to. It’s also well worth speaking to a good travel agent. Many have been on board Celebrity Cruises ships and can advise on the best staterooms, ships and itineraries to suit your needs.”

Scott Anderson, General Manager, The Luxury Cruise Company

“Look for upgrade offers. Praying to the upgrade fairy at check-in doesn’t usually work. However if you want a free upgrade then follow the cruise travel agents online and sign up to their newsletters – often travel agents will get access to exclusive offers, including suite upgrades, onboard spending money, free drinks and more.”

Simone Clark, Managing Director of Iglu and Planet Cruise

“Check out luxury cruise lines or what the price is for upgrading to suites before you book. Luxury cruise lines include things such as excursions, drinks (depending on which cruise line) as well as being a very luxurious experience. Suites on larger ships often include a lot of added extras too such as pre-dinner drinks, Champagne on arrival and so on.”

Liz Jarvis, Editor, Cruise International

“Make sure you’ve registered for your favourite cruise line’s loyalty programme – that way, you’ll get to hear about special booking offers (including upgrades) first.”

Wendy Atkin-Smith, Managing Director, Viking Cruises UK

“Get to know the reservation consultant. Give them the details of your ideal experience and let them do the work in finding you the cruise you want, at the price you want – they see the itineraries, prices and dates all the time and can usually help find exactly what you are looking for.”

Lynn Narraway, Managing Director UK, Holland America Line/Seabourn

“Our new partnership with UNESCO includes 161 tours to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a number of which offer exclusive excursions for Seabourn guests at sites including the Great Barrier Reef, the Taj Mahal and Gaudi’s fantastical architecture in Barcelona.”

Francis Riley, Vice President & General Manager International, Norwegian Cruise Line

“The vast accommodation options available to our guests sailing on board our fleet means that there is plenty of choice, no matter what your group size or budget. However, my top tip for anyone looking to bag the best deal is simply to book early. Early bookers benefit from a wider choice, especially when it comes to the most popular stateroom categories, and can take advantage of some great offers. Speak to your travel agent to get expert advice and plan your holidays as far ahead as possible.”

Andy Harmer, Director, Cruise Lines International Association UK & Ireland (CLIA)

“If you are not sure what cruise you would like to book then start with where you would like to visit while on a cruise holiday – itineraries vary from cruise line to cruise line, so find one that suits your needs. Some may include a late departure from port, or an overnight, or a port that others do not include – so spend a few minutes studying the itinerary carefully. Sometimes it is the lesser known ports that can be the most memorable. And I would always recommend booking with a travel agent who knows what types of holiday you have taken in the past, what you enjoy and what you do not enjoy, in order that they can suggest the right cruise for you. Make sure the person you speak to has cruise experience – and look for CLIA member travel agents who have access to industry resources and training.”

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