The Secrets of Shoulder Season Cruising
Posted on October 3, 2017
Welcome to shoulder season, the holy grail for cruisers on a budget. This three-month window between late September and mid-November brings about the best deals, longer daylight hours and fewer crowds. Here are a few of our all time favorite secrets to getting the most out of your shoulder season cruise.
1. Think Pre and Post Peak Season
As with any travel agenda, timing is everything. Scheduling your tropical getaway even just a week before or after a big holiday can be just enough of a peak-season buffer to beat the crowds and save you the big bucks. With this financial pressure off your shoulders (pun intended) you can spend those extra dollars on sailing with a more luxurious cruise-line, springing for a nicer stateroom or even investing in a thrilling excursion.
2. Be Spontaneous
Don’t forget to pack your “wind-in-my-hair” summer attitude and embrace the spontaneity that comes with shoulder season. This time of year is famous for scoring cruisers brilliant last-minute deals as cruise lines lower prices to fill empty staterooms. Hurricane season is also looming overhead, so being open to itinerary changes in the event of a storm is a necessity. The chances of your ship calling it quits are slim, but your captain may just swap out that stop in St. Thomas for a safer harbor in Aruba.
3. Take Advantage of Value-Added Options
Even if you don’t see a significant price drop on every shoulder season sailing, you can still count on most major cruise lines to promote their own value-added perks. These often include complimentary wi-fi, drink packages, shore excursions, spa packages or even extra on-board credit. Be sure to look for and take advantage of these booking promotions.
4. Save on Transportation & Hotel Accommodations
If you’re traveling to a port in another city, you’ll need to budget for transportation and hotel accommodations. Shoulder season not only happens to be prime time for locking in low hotel room rates, but you can also find great deals on packages that include both accommodations and transportation. Finding one of these bundle deals eliminates the unnecessary stress of scouting out individual services to accommodate everyone in your party and can help keep you within budget. If you’re cruising out of Port Canaveral, Go Port offers packages exclusively for cruisers that include everything you need ashore from a hotel stay to airport transportation and cruise transfers all for one low price.
5. Keep Repositioning Cruises on Your Radar
Twice a year in early spring and late fall, cruise lines tend to move their fleet to from one high-season destination to another. Shoulder season often coincides with these repositioning periods as ships chase the warmer weather. Repositioning cruises don’t tend to have many stops, but these trips are hardly boring. Cruise lines often add special guest lecturers and performers to keep passengers entertained on the ship. These long-term voyages are purchased in one-way routes at greatly discounted prices.
6. Befriend Locals
When the summer crowds melt away, locals come out to play! Shoulder season offers an exclusive look at the day in the life of a true local. Cultural events tend to spring back into place and destinations will offer more than just generic, tourist-friendly events. So skip your typical cruise-sponsored excursion and take advantage of the local events in your destination during shoulder season.