Michelle Barth, who runs the travel agency Just Escape Travel, says cruises are great trips for families because they offer different experiences for different ages.
“I’m finding more multigenerational travel occur, maybe a big family traveling with adult children and grandchildren,” she said. “That way people can travel and be together but also have their own separate experiences as well.”
The reasons to book a cruise right now are many: Cruises can be hassle-free with meals, excursions, entertainment included in one package price, she said. Also, cruise travelers are able to experience multiple destinations to maximize their vacation time, and cruises are great for families, groups, and travelers of all ages and activity levels.
Need more reasons to book? Cruises offer a diverse range of cruise options, from yachts, boutique cruises, large ship cruising, river cruises, and themed cruises, she said.
Cruises are also a great way to meet other like-minded people. “Many of our clients book subsequent cruises with people they have met on previous cruise trips,” Barth said.
But with the range of options available, from big ships to small expeditions, from ocean cruising to river trips, it can be overwhelming, Barth said. So she offers some tips on how to book the best experience.
Cruises year-round mean you can get exactly the experience you want.
“You can cruise during all seasons,” she said. “If you are looking to escape the winter cold you can consider sailing the South Pacific, Asia, or Australia or New Zealand. If you are looking to get a great deal and don’t mind bundling up in the cold, then you can save on a Europe cruise.”
Related: Travel + Leisure's Cruise Finder
Keep in mind Christmas-themed river cruises are some of the most popular cruises, she cautions, so it’s best to reserve early.
Book early and consider shoulder season to get the best price.
“If you are looking to cruise in 2019, I wouldn’t wait too long,” she said. “Many carriers have extended great promotions and value adds as spacing becomes more limited. Book now to secure the best available cabins.”
She also has some tips on how to find a great cruise deal.
“Book in advance as many cruise carriers offer early booking discounts,” she said.
Also, you should consider signing up on cruise mailing lists to keep an eye on great offers.
When you book can also make a difference. If you cruise during the shoulder months, avoiding peak travel times, prices can be cheaper. Also, if you book last minute, prices may be much less. But keep in mind that preferred cabin types and shore excursions can be already limited.
You can score a deal on your next cruise before you get home.
If you are a repeat cruiser, many cruise carriers will extend you a discount. Even better, book your next cruise while sailing, she said.
“Many cruises will offer passengers promotions to book their next cruise,” she said. “This is a great way to get in early at a great rate.”