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Rolling Out the Deals: Why Now Might Be a Great Time to Book a Cruise

Rolling Out the Deals: Why Now Might Be a Great Time to Book a Cruise
Celebrity Edge (Photo: Cruise Critic)

September 14, 2020

Aaron Saunders
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(10:30 a.m. BST) -- With much of the cruise industry paused across the globe due to the ongoing health pandemic, cruise lines are rolling out the deals in order to encourage passengers to book for 2021, 2022 and beyond.

Rather than offering deep-discounted fares, however, these deals are including an almost-absurd number of perks; incentives that wouldn't normally be seen pre-COVID-19.

Ranging from deep-discounts on deposits to fares that bundle in everything from complimentary gratuities, Wi-Fi internet plans, beverage packages and savings on additional passengers sharing cabins, the overall goal here is a win-win. Cruise lines want deposits, and passengers want a good deal.

Should you book ahead? As with anything, this remains a personal decision. With cruise lines rolling out itineraries into 2022 and even as far out as 2024, reserving a bucket-list cruise down the road could result in substantial savings.

Cruise Critic took a look at what various cruise lines are offering up right now.


Exterior of AmaWaterways AmaMagna (via AmaWaterways)

AmaWaterways currently has a number of promotions available to UK guests with monetary savings of up to £650 per person offered plus free flights and overseas transfers.

The company recently expanded its range of no-fly cruises for 2021 with a choice of 15 itineraries now bookable with rail connections from the UK -- book by 30 September 2020 for free rail and overseas transfers on selected departures.


Azamara Quest

Azamara is offering a two-part promotion it calls "Double Upgrade Plus Double Points" on voyages departing between March 20 and April 1, 2021.

Azamara's "Double Upgrade" event runs from now until November 18, 2020 and offers passengers the ability to book a veranda cabin at the price of an interior. Customers can also choose to book a Veranda Plus stateroom for the price of an oceanview; or a Club Continent Suite at a veranda price.

Conversely, Azamara's "Double Upgrade Plus Double Points" promotion runs from now until September 18 and offers the Double Upgrade promotion in addition to double loyalty points on select voyages. This promotion is geared towards past passengers that are part of Azamara's "Azamara Circle" past passenger program, but also applies to new customers who sign up in advance for Azamara Circle.

Guarantee staterooms aren't eligible for this promotion. Price description 'FREEUP' must be listed in the reservation at time of booking.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line

Grand Classica TA Listings Page Image

Bahamas Paradise is offering a Buy-One, Get-One Free offer on 2021 sailings. Travelers can book a sailing to Freeport (Grand Bahama Island) departing between January 1 and April 30, 2021 and sail again for free any time between August 16, 2021 and February 28, 2022.

Bahamas Paradise operates two-night cruises out of West Palm Beach, Florida aboard Grand Celebration and fleetmate Grand Classica.

Bahamas Paradise states this is a "limited time offer" but doesn't provide an exact end date.

Carnival Cruise Line

Exterior on Carnival Splendor

Travellers looking for a cruise to the Caribbean or the Mexican Riviera can save up to 30 percent on all sailings to both regions through April 2023. In addition, Carnival is rolling out two-for-one reduced deposits; and best available room upgrades.

Carnival's current special runs until Tuesday, September 8.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Summit

Celebrity is running its "Book Now Bonus" through September 15 which offers savings of up to £800 per additional passenger when sharing a cabin on selected sailings in The Retreat. Plus the first two passengers receive a free Classic Drinks Package, available on AquaClass to interior cabins when booking a "Cruise Only" option.

Others offers include: Book a Balcony, Concierge or Aquaclass room and additional passengers beyond the first two in your stateroom will save £300pp. Book an Inside or Oceanview stateroom and additional passengers beyond the first two in your cabin will save £200pp.

Celestyal Cruises

Celestyal Experience (Photo: Celestyal Cruises)

Although it is paused until the spring of 2021, Celestyal Cruises is rolling out the incentives for travellers looking to book one of its 3,4,7 and 14-night inclusive cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean.

The offer, which is valid on all 2021 sailings, features savings of up to £450 per person, reduced fares for third and fourth guests sharing triple and quad staterooms, ultra low solo supplement of 15% and reduced deposit of just £159 per stateroom.

Bookings made between now and September 30 for 2021 departures feature savings of up to £450 per person, reduced fares for third and fourth guests sharing triple and quad staterooms and a reduced deposit of just £159 per cabin. Single supplements for solo travellers have also been reduced to just 15 percent.

Celestyal just added a new addition to its fleet during the pandemic, purchasing Costa Cruises' former Costa neoRomantica and re-naming it Celestyal Experience (pictured above). It joins Celestyal Olympia and Celestyal Crystal in operating Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean Sea voyages next spring.

Cunard Line

Transatlantic Cruise Tips (Photo: Cunard Line)

Cunard has some newly-introduced deals on selected Transatlantic Crossings, on Queen Mary 2 next year, with Balcony fares from £999 per person, including flight. This offer is available on the line's special London Theatre at Sea with the Olivier Awards event voyage, which takes place from May 14-21, 2021.

Emerald Waterways

Emerald  Liberte

Passengers can enjoy savings of up to £1,000 per couple, 150 Euros on board credit per cabin, and flexibility with Emerald Waterways’ Deposit Protection Plan when booking in September 2020. When booking between 5 September and 9 October, passengers can save an additional £150 per person across all 2021 Rhone & Saone itineraries. Plus choose to pay your holiday balance in full before 31 October and take advantage of further savings of £200 per person Early Payment Discount.

Cruises include the eight-day Sensations of Lyon and Provence river cruise will enjoy travelling from Lyon to Marseille journeying through France’s gastronomic heartland. Bookable from £1,595 per person (departing 2 October 2021), highlights include cheese and olive tastings, regional wine tastings and guided tours through the streets of Lyon, Glun, Tournon, Arles and Avignon.

Holland America Line

Nieuw Amsterdam in Alaska (Photo: Holland America Line)

Holland America is rolling out its "Save Now, Cruise Later, Have it All" promotion on 2021 voyages to Alaska and Europe.

Passengers who book voyages to Alaska and Europe in 2021 are being offered free drinks, free gratuities, a free signature dining package; free Wi-Fi for passengers booking suite accommodations; and a 50 percent reduced deposit.

In addition, shore excursion reservations are 20 percent off until September 9.

This promotion is valid for new bookings made for the aforementioned destinations by September 9, 2020.

MSC Cruises

MSC US Feb Advertorial

MSC Cruises is including a aremium drinks package on more than 1,000 sailings departing from April 2021 - November 2021 from multiple embarkation ports across the world.

As well as cruises to the Caribbean, and the East & West Mediterranean, the promotion includes all ex-UK cruises onboard MSC Magnifica which returns to Southampton in Summer 2021 for her second full ex-UK season with calls to Malaga and Monaco on a 14 night Mediterranean cruise.

The promotion includes a variety of options for guests from a two night mini cruise onboard MSC Magnifica sailing from Southampton with prices starting from £319pp, to a seven night cruise onboard one of the fleet’s newest ships MSC Grandiosa with prices starting from £644pp.

The promotion applies to all new bookings made between 8th of September 2020 and 2nd of December 2020, terms and conditions apply and can be found on the website.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line has a Balcony Bonus Sale on all ships to all destinations for bookings made before Tuesday September 8. Book a Balcony Cabin and pay the price of an Oceanview for cruises from April 2021 onwards.

Norwegian also has an ongoing £99 "Free at Sea" offer which allows you to choose two packages including a shore excursion credit, beverage package, free Wi-Fi or gratuities.

Princess Cruises

Caribbean Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)

Princess is running its "Upgrade Away" sale between now and September 30, 2020, on all cruises and cruisetours departing March 2021 and beyond.

This includes a free stateroom location upgrade on all applicable sailings, along with Princess Plus perks that include a premium beverage package with gratuities; unlimited Wi-Fi internet access; and all shipboard gratuities covered.

When booking online, customers should look for the Princess Plus designation or the Upgrade Away designation. Unbundled fares that do not include Princess Plus are still available.

Regent Seven Seas

Seven Seas Splendor (Photo: Regent Seven Seas)

Luxury line Regent is rolling out the deals for 2021, offering a free two-category suite upgrade on select 2021 voyages to Alaska, Northern Europe and the Mediterranean as part of its "Elevate Your Experience" promotion.

The two-category upgrade is offered up to the Penthouse Suite level.

Customers booking Concierge Suites will be offered a complimentary one-night, pre-cruise hotel stay.

Regent is also reducing deposits to just 10 percent of the total fare under this promotion. The line is also offering its "Regent Reassurance" program that allows travellers to cancel up to 15 days in advance of their sailing provided bookings are made by September 30, 2020 for voyages departing through October 31, 2021.

Regent's Elevate Your Experience promotion runs until September 30, 2020.

Royal Caribbean

Oasis of the Seas (Image: Royal Caribbean)

Royal Caribbean has a "Family Bonus" offer on selected sailings for the 3rd and forth passenger with fares starting from just £149 and onboard spend of $150 for bookings made by September 30.


Scenic Eclipse (Photo: Scenic)

Scenic is offering a suite upgrade credit on its 10-day Aegean Adventure itinerary departing from Piraeus (Athens) on April 26, 2021.

Among the highlights of the itinerary is the ship's maiden call on the Greek island of Kea, also known as Tzia. Here, passengers will be taken on an underwater excursion aboard Scenic Eclipse's six-person submarine, Scenic Neptune, for a look at the undersea landscape that is home to several shipwrecks, including that of the HMHS Britannic, sister-ship to the RMS Titanic, which sank off Kea in 1916.

Passengers booking this sailing before October 31 will enjoy a $500 per person suite upgrade credit.


Ship Exterior on Seabourn Ovation

Seabourn is offering its Sensational Suite Savings promotion between now and September 30 on select voyages to the Mediterranean in 2021.

Prospective passengers can take advantage of several offers that Seabourn says may include a 50 percent reduced deposit; complimentary suite upgrades; up to $600 USD shipboard credit per suite; per-guest air credits; and up to 600 minutes of complimentary shipboard internet.

Passengers booking one of Seabourn's Penthouse or Premium suites can receive up to $2,000 shipboard credit per suite, along with an unlimited internet package.


Silver Moon (Photo: Silversea)

Luxury line Silversea offers a number of promotions at the moment, including early booking promotions and reduced solo occupancy fares.

Silversea's Double Bonus promotion, however, is the one that will likely interest most cruisers. The line is offering a reduced deposit plus $1,000 onboard credit per suite and is combinable with other offers.

This offer is valid on bookings made by October 31, 2020.

Virgin Voyages

Scarlet Lady in Dover (Photo: Dover Strait Shipping)

Virgin is one of the few lines offering pricing discounts on future cruises. If the pricing for Virgin's initial 2020 voyages was off-putting, its late-2020 and early 2021 sailings are a downright bargain in some cases.

Passengers can save on the line's four, five and seven-night voyages to the Caribbean and the Bahamas. The current lowest-priced sailing, is a startlingly low $145 Caribbean sailing in summer 2021.

This promotion is ongoing.

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