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Money Saving

Is the Royal Caribbean credit card worth it?


The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature credit card offers no annual fee and bonus points that can be earned towards free cruises and other cruise-related benefits, but is it a good credit card for you?

Just like an airline branded credit card, Royal Caribbean's credit card is aimed at cruise line loyalists who want to earn rewards for a cruise vacation.

The Royal Caribbean credit card is popular with people who do not want to pay an annual fee, in addition to the benefits.

There is usually a one-time bonus for signing up for the credit card, along with earning 2 points per $1 spent on qualifying purchases with Royal Caribbean and sister brands.  Other purchases will earn 1 point per $1 spent.

The sign up bonus is pretty easy to earn: you will get 10,000 one-time new cardholder Bonus Points if you use your new credit card account to make at least one transaction that posts to your account within 90 days of the account open date.

Those 10,000 points equal $100 onboard credit that you could turn around and apply to your next sailing, or save it towards a higher-tier reward, including a free cruise.

All of those points can be redeemed towards onboard credit, cruise discounts and vacations, and more.

To earn a free cruise, you would need to save at least 50,000 points for a 3-4 night Royal Caribbean cruise. You get a minimum of a oceanview stateroom, and the cost of the cruise cannot exceed $1,000.

Being a Vista Signature card, it comes with the standard travel benefits like lost luggage protection, emergency cash worldwide, Visa Signature Concierge service, and more.

Royal Caribbean card benefits

The appeal of this card are simple: it costs nothing to keep the card (no annual fee), and you will earn more points on your Royal Caribbean purchases than with some other cards.

Moreover, this is a credit card for Royal Caribbean fans who love to cruise, and being able to get credit rewards that you can directly apply to your cruise is easy.

While there are plenty of other travel credit cards, being able to earn cruise onboard credit or free cruises is quite rare a reward.

In addition, the card has no foreign transaction fees, which is useful when visiting ports of call on a cruise.


Other cruise line credit cards offer more lucrative sign up bonuses.  The Carnival World Mastercard offers 0% APR for the first 6 months, and enough bonus points for a $200 credit. The Norwegian Cruise Line World Mastercard also offers a $200 signup bonus and triple points on NCL purchases.

Of course, the chief benefit of the Royal Caribbean Visa credit card is all about Royal Caribbean Group rewards, which means there is less flexibility if you change your mind later on what you want to redeem your points towards.

This card is only avaialble for United States residents.

Should you get the Royal Caribbean Visa credit card?

This card is a good choice for cruise fans who mostly cruise with Royal Caribbean (and its sister brands) but are strongly against paying an annual fee.

If you want to get the most lucrative credit card rewards program out there, there are better cards that can offer more value for what you spend compared to this card. A few even have no annual fee, while most others do have an annual fee but with signficantly higher rewards and more varied choices in how to redeem them.

The Royal Caribbean Visa card offers exactly what it advertises: a way to earn discounts or even a free cruise from everyday purchases. The question is how important Royal Caribbean specific rewards are to you.

How to cruise on the cheap


When it comes to making your money go further, cruising on the cheap means taking advantage of certain strategies and opportunities to ensure you are spending less overall.

While you can reserve extravagant rooms and book bucket list tours, there are always inexpensive and very fun cruise vacations you can take in order to maximize your money.

The key to cruising on the cheap is knowing where to look, and pouncing on the right deal.

Look at the small and medium ships

While Royal Caribbean's Oasis and Quantum Class ships are as amazing to cruise on as they look, they do not usually have the cheapest cruise fares out there. Newer ships command higher prices.

Instead, price shop around the Voyager or Radiance Class ships to find the real bargains. Similar to how a used car that is a few years old will provide a better value than a brand new vehicle, cruise ships that have been around for a few years tend to offer better deals to entice cruisers to book them.

The great thing about the Voyager and Radiance Class ships is that you are not compromising a ton on the onboard experience, but will save a lot compared to the bigger ships.

In addition, Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas are Royal Caribbean's oldest and smallest cruise ships, and they also tend to have some very low prices.  Keep in mind these ships are fun to cruise on for a "classic cruise experience", but they may lack some of the modern features many of us expect on newer ships.

Shoulder season cruising

Some of the best prices for any cruise will be at the very beginning or very end of the cruise season.

If a cruise to Europe, Alaska or Australia is what you are aiming at, be sure to look for the first couple sailings when cruises begin or when they are about to end.

Known as the shoulder season, these times are when perhaps the weather is not perfect or when families are still adhering to the work and school calendars.

Refer to our guide on what is the cheapest month to go on a cruise to get a sense of the lowest prices for every itinerary.

Book early

The tried and true way to lock in the best prices is to book as early as you can.

Royal Caribbean's prices tend to go up over time, as more and more guests book up rooms.  As a result, I find the lowest prices tend to be offered early.

Booking early is especially important for high-demand sailings, such as the summer, holiday weeks (Christmas, New Years, Spring Break, et al).  These sailings will always command higher prices, so the key for getting the lowest price on these cruises is to book early.

Yes, last minute cruise deals do exist periodically, but they are few and far between and it is a bit of gamble if you will find something that lines up perfectly with your plans.

Cheap cruise fare versus cheap cruising

An important distinction to make is are you looking for the lowest price overall, or do you want a cheap per-night cruise sailing?

When it comes to getting the lowest price on the final bill, short cruises will be where you want look. These sailings typically sail to Mexico or The Bahamas, and they almost always depart from a port in Florida.

Royal Caribbean offers three and four night sailings every week, and if you can manage to book one during the school year and/or during hurricane season, you can really find some super low prices.

On the other hand, if you want to get the lowest price per-night of the cruise, look towards longer sailings, such as repositioning cruises.

A transatlantic crossing or a ship moving to a new home port can be among the cheapest per-night sailings you can find.  These cruises tend to be longer voyages and Royal Caribbean will heavily discount these sailings in order to fill rooms.

Book a guarantee room

One way to save more money on any sailing is to book a guarantee stateroom.

Guarantee staterooms offer a lower price, in exchange for allowing Royal Caribbean to pick the exact location. You will receive a room of at least that category (or higher), but it may be days or weeks before you learn of the room assignment.

These rooms help shave hundreds of dollars off the cost of your cruise, and may allow you to move up to a higher room category without paying more.

10 Ways to save money on your Royal Caribbean cruise


A Royal Caribbean cruise does not need to be an expensive vacation, especially if you take advantage of a few money-saving tips I have to share today.

Many first-time cruisers find a multitude of options to consider, so here are some ways to get the most value out of your cruise.

Buy a dining package

I have read money-saving tips that advocate skipping specialty dining all together to save money, but if you want to enjoy some specialty restaurants without paying full price, invest in a dining package.

Royal Caribbean's dining packages provide a set amount of specialty restaurants at a fraction of the list price to dine there.  Quite often, a dining package can knock as much as half off the regular per person price.

Purchase this before your cruise and make reservations on embarkation day.

Buy a drink package

You will save much more money by not buying any alcoholic drinks on your cruise, but since so many do enjoy cocktails, beers and other beverages during the cruise, the best way to savor these within a budget is to buy a drink package.

If you buy a drink package in the months leading up to your cruise, you can lock in a lower price compared to what it costs onboard, and you will spread out the total cost of the cruise.  A drink package purchase requires full payment up front, so that means it could be on a different credit card billing cycle from your cruise fare.

There is no question a drink package has the potential to save money, it just relies on you to take full advantage of what the drink package offers.

Watch for price drops

If you live in a country where you can re-price cruises before final payment date (United States, Canada, etc), then this is one of my favorite ways to help bring the price down.

One mantra I advocate time and time again to save money is to book your cruise as early as you can.  In the months leading up to your cruise, if there is a price drop, you can take advantage of it up until final payment date.

The easiest way to reprice a cruise is to work with a good travel agent, who can take care of the process on your behalf.

Keep in mind that whichever booking promotions you had with your initial booking may be lost when repricing, so be sure to compare the total cruise cost before and after a reprice.

Head back to the ship for lunch

It is hard to overlook the fact your cruise ship offers complimentary food all day long, including when docked in a port.

When touring one of the ports of call your ship will visit, you might consider having lunch back on the ship instead of somewhere on land.

Some guests opt to go back to the ship to eat and then head back out afterwards, or they may eat a late lunch once they get back on the ship after the conclusion of a shore excursion.

Take advantage of Kids Sail Free offer

If there is one promotion that Royal Caribbean offers that seems to save the most money, it is the Kids Sail Free deals.

During select times of the year, Royal Caribbean offers third and fourth passenger fare for kids 12 years old and under staying in the same room as their parents.  

The "catch" is there are lot of blackout dates, primarily around school holidays and breaks.  If you can manage to book a cruise while Kids Sail Free is offered, it can represent tremendous savings.

Tour on your own

While there are plenty of great shore excursions to consider, do not overlook simply walking off the ship and exploring on your own as a great money saving idea.

You could walk or take a taxi to a nearby beach, or explore the downtown area of the nearby city you are visiting.  In many cases, this is a very inexpensive way to enjoy the port you are visiting without breaking the bank.

Bring your own wine and non-alcoholic drinks

Did you know that Royal Caribbean allows its guests to bring a limited quantity of wine or non-alcoholic beverages on their cruise?

Guests may bring up to two bottles of wine per stateroom on embarkation day. Each bottle of wine may be up to 750ml in size. Do not put the wine in the luggage you hand over to the porters on embarkation day.

In addition, you can now bring small quantities of non-alcoholic beverages in a carry-on or hand luggage onboard only on boarding day. 

Specifically, non-alcoholic beverages brought onboard may not exceed 12 standard (17 oz) cans, bottles or cartons per stateroom. Distilled water or specialized beverages such as, milk for medical purposes, dietary or infant use, are permitted.

Use your credit card points

If you have racked up credit card points, a cruise is an excellent time to redeem points to help save money on your vacation.

Whether you have a credit card that provides free flights, cash back bonuses to use on shore excursions, or points to redeem towards hotel stays, I have found credit card reward programs an excellent means of "chipping away" at the overall vacation cost.

Cruise on an older ship

Rather than booking Royal Caribbean's latest and greatest ships, try a cruise on a ship that has been in the fleet for a few years.

The Voyager and Freedom Class ships have all been (or are about to be) upgraded and enhanced as part of the Royal Amplified program and represent some of the best values available today. They are still large ships, with lots to offer, minus the new cruise ship price tag.

Going on an older ship does not mean you have to sail on some dilapidated ship. Royal Caribbean maintains its fleet quite well, and with upgrades over the last few years, these ships are as fun to go on as they are good at saving you money.

Book a guarantee stateroom

Royal Caribbean may offer the option of picking the exact room assignment for you, in exchange for money off the cruise fare.

If you are flexible with where on the ship your room is located, guarantee room assignments are a fantastic value because you get the category of room you initially wanted, at a lower cost.  

Video: Why you don't want to wait to book a cruise


Are you waiting to get that price drop or perfect sale in order to book a Royal Caribbean cruise? Believe it or not, that is a big mistake.

Here is why trying to time a sale is a mistake, and what you ought to be doing instead.

And if you love this video, we have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

By the way, have you subscribed yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

So check out the video and then let us know: How far in advance do you typically book a cruise?

10 Ways to Save Money on Your 2019 Royal Caribbean Vacation


Are you looking to take a Royal Caribbean cruise in 2019 without breaking your budget?  This post is aimed at helping you figure out ways to budget for the vacation to save money! To help you get the most out of your vacation dollars, we’re here with 10 money-saving tips for your next Royal Caribbean cruise.

Regardless of your budget, it is never a bad idea to consider ways to save more money. Some may find cutting spending onboard is the only way to make a Royal Caribbean cruise financially viable, while others may find cost savings a means of affording more to do onboard (or a second cruise).

Here are some of our recommendations for saving money on your 2019 Royal Caribbean cruise vacation.  Not all of these strategies may be for everyone, but the hope is at least one (if not more) will result in more money in your pocket and that generally makes everyone happier.  

10. Bring your own soda, water, juice or wine

Did you know that Royal Caribbean allows its guests to bring a limited quanity of wine or non-alcoholic beverages on their cruise?


Guests may bring up to two bottles of wine per stateroom on embarkation day. Each bottle of wine may be up to 750ml in size. Do not put the wine in the luggage you hand over to the porters on embarkation day.

Wine lovers will be able to bring a couple of bottles of their favorite wine on their cruise at a savings compared to purchasing the wine onboard.  Moreover, bringing your own wine means you will save money on your total bar tab during your cruise.

My favorite aspect of bringing your own wine is if you do not finish the bottle of wine, Royal Caribbean can store the wine for you and deliver it another restaurant at that time.

It is important to be aware that Royal Caribbean will charge you a corkage fee for personal wines opened at any restaurant or lounge onboard.  Even with the corkage fee, you will still save a significant amount of money compared to purchasing a bottle of wine onboard.

Guests are prohibited from bringing alcoholic beverages onboard any cruise ship, with the exception of being able to bring two bottles of wine per stateroom.

Non-alcoholic beverages

Yes, you can now bring small quantities of non-alcoholic beverages in a carry-on or hand luggage onboard only on boarding day. 

Specifically, non-alcoholic beverages brought onboard may not exceed 12 standard (17 oz) cans, bottles or cartons per stateroom. Distilled water or specialized beverages such as, milk for medical purposes, dietary or infant use, are permitted.

9. Pre-purchase a specialty dining package

Specialty restaurants are an optional way to gastronomically indulge while on your Royal Caribbean cruise, and these days, it seems like specialty dining has never been more popular.  If you have your heart set on trying out places like Sabor, Izumi or Chops Grille, you should consider buying a dining package to save money overall.

Royal Caribbean offers on most, if not all, of its cruise ships specialty dining packages, where guests can dine at 2, 3, 4, or 5 specialty restaurants during their cruise for one low cost. The advantage is these packages cost less than trying to book the same restaurants individually.  Of course, you could forgo specialty dining completely and really save some money, but there is no reason to not save some cash when checking out these favorites.

Your best bet is to purchase the dining packages on Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner and to read the terms and conditions of how they function.  There is no question these packages will save you money on specialty dining, provided you were planning on eating out while onboard in the first place.

8. Do most of your drinking on shore

In our experience, Royal Caribbean's drink prices are about what we pay for drinks at many restaurants on land, but there is no question you will save money by drinking at the ports of call you visit compared to onboard.

Bars and restaurants at the ports your Royal Caribbean ship will visit regularly offer cheaper drink prices for beers and cocktails and that can mean big savings if you can wait to enjoy some drinks when on land, compared to on your ship.

Depending on your itinerary, this strategy may be more lucrative than others, but it is a good way to indulge in your favorite mixed drink or cerveza for a lower cost.

7. Look for drink specials onboard

If you are going to enjoy a few cocktails onboard your Royal Caribbean ship, you can avoid paying top dollar for them. When looking at Royal Caribbean drink prices, many guests base their math of whether a drink package makes sense off the regular price for drinks, but in reality, there are drink specials all around the ship that bring that price down.

One of the best ways to get a deal on a cocktail is to order the drink of the day.  The drink of the day is a select cocktail that changes every day, which has about a 20% discount on it and is available from most bars onboard.  You can just ask the bartender or waiter what the drink of the day is and take advantage of those savings.

In addition, individual ships will run their own bar specials, like 2 for 1 deals, drink combo deals and other happy hour discounts.  The exact details of a drink special will vary from ship to ship, and sailing to sailing, but it is important to understand that they exist.  

To find drink specials, consult the Cruise Compass for some advertised deals, as well as walk around bars and look for posted signs.

6. Use credit cards before your cruise

Personal fiscal responsibility aside, proper use of a credit card can definitely save you some money on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Royal Caribbean has its own branded Visa credit card, which allows guests to earn points that can be redeemed for onboard credit on future cruises (as well as other rewards too).

For each purchase made with the credit card, you can earn points that can be redeemed for onboard credit or even free cruises.

Of course, there are lots of other credit cards out there with various reward programs that can help offset the cost of your cruise.  Credit card reward programs with cash back bonus are popular options. Regardless of which card you use, if you can manage to pay off each month's balance on time, you ought to be rake in the credit card rewards quickly, which can go towards paying for the cruise, or the various costs associated with the cruise (new clothes, airfare, hotels, etc).

5. Book shore excursions on your own

At each port of call you visit, Royal Caribbean will offer plenty of shore excursions to consider, however you might look past those excursions to save more money.

While Royal Caribbean's shore excursions offer convenience and reliability, they tend to cost more and (arguably more importantly) involve larger groups that move at a slower pace.  Instead, consider booking shore excursions on your own.  This will likely save you money, or at the very least offer you more variety in options available as well as customization in what you see and do.

In many ports, you can skip booking an excursion all together and simply walk off the ship and start exploring the port.  Taking a taxi into town, walking the streets and discovering things around you are at the core of what makes port days so much fun. 

If you are looking to book a shore excursion on your own, we recommend planning it out before your cruise.  This will give you time to consider all options, research the tour operator, and find the best prices.

4. Book spa treatments on port days

Royal Caribbean's Vitality Spa is the perfect place to relax, enjoy a treatment that is customized for you and feel rejuvenated.  While the spa is a magical place for those looking to relax, it can also be expensive.  The key to saving money on the spa is to wait for port days to book a treatment.

The spa is open everyday of your cruise, but on days your cruise ship is docked in a port, they will often run much better deals to convince guests to stay onboard and indulge in a treatment.  The Vitality Spa is a business, and when the ship is in port, most guests are off the ship exploring, which means the spa is not nearly as busy.  As a result, they will run different specials that are more lucrative than normal to get folks to book something and stay onboard.

You can inquire about port day specials at any point in your cruise at the Vitality Spa desk and see if it looks like a good deal to you.  Often, the port day spa specials are the best overall values found in the spa.

3. Put your phone into airplane mode

This tip has more to do with not incurring a large bill when you get home.  These days, a smartphone is as essential to bring on a cruise as sunglasses or your passport, but if you do not prepare your device properly, it could cost you a lot of money.

Before your ship is ready to sail away, be sure to put it into airplane mode, which disables your phone's ability to use a cellular signal.  The reason you want to do this is once your cruise ship leaves your home country, your phone will look for a signal outside the regular cellular network and connect to the ship's cell tower, which is known as roaming.  Roaming means you are out of network, and will result in high fees for pretty much anything you do that uses the cellular signal.

You should place the phone into airplane mode, and then be confident in using your phone for taking photos, playing games or even connecting to the ship's WiFi without fear of a monster bill later that month.

2. Skip the souvenir glass

Imagine this: you are on the pool deck, enjoying another beautiful at sea and suddenly you see a drink station set up with the cutest glowing/flashing/colorful glasses.  They are cool looking and the drink inside looks even better, but you are better off asking for that tasty cocktail sans souvenir cup.

The souvenir cups are nice, but it tacks on a few extra dollars to the cost.  You can ask for the same drink without the souvenir glass/mug/pineapple and save on the cost of the drink.  This saves you money, but you still get to enjoy drinks by the pool.

1. Use a travel agent

The best way to ensure you are getting the lowest price on your Royal Caribbean vacation is to use a travel agent. Regardless of if this is your first or fiftieth cruise, a travel agent is a worthwhile "investment," and the best part is they are free to use!

Travel agents provide great service to folks looking to take a Royal Caribbean cruise because they are keyed in on the latest promotions and they can be your best advocate for finding promotions that help you, not just the day you book but every day until final payment.

A good travel agent will be able to assist with the booking process, and give you every single permutation of pricing to figure out which itinerary, stateroom or promotion makes the most sense for you.  I cannot count the time I have saved by having the travel agent jump through the proverbial hoops for me to figure out what is the best deal for my family.

The reality is you only stand to benefit from using a good travel agent, both in convenience and time saved.

Your thoughts

Do you have any of your own money-saving strategies when on a Royal Caribbean cruise, or perhaps saving for a Royal Caribbean vacation? Disagree with any of our tips? Share your thoughts in the comments!

5 ways to save hundreds of dollars on your next Royal Caribbean cruise


A Royal Caribbean cruise is a top choice for many families that want to enjoy a great vacation, but there are some important strategies for saving (a lot of) money off the total cost of the cruise.

Bargain hunters should be aware there are some definite ways to bring that total cruise cost down.  Here are five ways we have found to consistently save hundreds of dollars on cruise vacations.

Book your cruise early

If there is one tried-and-true strategy for getting the lowest price on a Royal Caribbean cruise, it is to book the sailing as early as possible.  If you can book your sailing 12, 18 or even 24 months in advance, you will very likely pay much less than someone that waits to book their sailing just a few months before the cruise.

The simple reason why booking early gets you the lowest price is that when a sailing is put on sale, all the staterooms are available to book, and thus, demand is at its lowest.  As guests start to book rooms, supply goes down, which inversely drives prices up.  Over time, we typically see prices for a sailing go up.

Moreover, if you live in a country that allows re-booking prior to final payment date (United States, Canada, Australia, etc), you can always take advantage of price drops, if they were to occur, and get the new lowest price.  If you book early enough, you may find regardless of the deal or promotion Royal Caribbean publicizes, the rate you had booked early on is still a better deal.

Cruise close to home

If you can manage to go on a cruise without having to fly, or take another expensive means of transportation, you will reap a ton of savings.

In addition to the traditional cruise homeports in Florida, Royal Caribbean also offers year-round and seasonal cruises from New York, Baltimore, New Orleans, Galveston and San Juan.  This means a great deal of convenient embarkation ports that can be driveable. 

By not having to include an airline ticket in your vacation budget, you will save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Of course, there still will be a transportation cost to get to the port, but very likely the savings in not buying an airline ticket will outweigh gas, tolls and even a hotel stay.

Buy a dining or drink package

If you are the sort of person that will indulge in specialty dining or alcoholic beverages onboard your Royal Caribbean cruise, a dining or drink package can save you a lot of money.

Royal Caribbean's dining packages allow guests to enjoy meals at a variety of specialty restaurants for one low price.  There are many packages available, but taking advantage of these dining packages will save money compared to eating at those same restaurants, but paying the walk-up price without a package. When you figure multiple people investing in a dining package, the savings stack up quickly.

Likewise, a Royal Caribbean drink package can save you money, provided you drink enough every day of your cruise to make it worthwhile. Guests pay a flat cost to enjoy unlimited beverages that are included in the package they select.  Be sure to get a discount on a Royal Caribbean drink package prior to your cruise to increase your total savings.

It is worth noting that a drink or dining package may not inherently save everyone money.  The cost savings depend on how much you will actually consume on a cruise.  It is important to sit down before your cruise and think about how many drinks you might have, factor in time off the ship in foreign ports of call, and determine if a drink package is right for you.  Dining packages are a bit easier to figure out if they are a worthwhile investment, because you can look at your Cruise Planner and determine what looks of interest and plan accordingly.

Book your next cruise onboard

Royal Caribbean will reward you if you book another Royal Caribbean cruise, while still onboard your current sailing.  These rewards come in the form of onboard credit, which can stack up into the hundreds of dollars quite quickly.

Dubbed NextCruise, Royal Caribbean has changed up some of the rules lately for how the program works, especially if deposits are refundable or not.  It is important to be aware of all the rules on canceling or changing sailings prior to booking. 

However, if you are certain of the sailing you want to take, booking onboard will garner significant savings, especially on longer sailings (7 nights or more) and/or balcony and suite staterooms. The NextCruise program is one of the easiest ways to earn money towards your next sailing.

Be flexible with your cruise dates

If the dates you can take a Royal Caribbean cruise are somewhat open, you can shave off hundreds of dollars from your cruise fare. 

Just like the entire travel industry, cruises have peak and off-peak seasons.  Booking a cruise over Christmas week will see a much higher cost than if you opt for that same cruise two weeks earlier or later. Those that can cruise when many families are stuck following a school or work holiday calendar, will find rock bottom prices for cruise fares.

Finding the lowest fares typically has more to do with when you are actually going on your cruise. In general, you will find lower fares if you are willing to cruise during the "shoulder seasons" and/or when school is usually in session.

This includes

  • January (minus New Years holiday)
  • Most of February
  • May
  • September
  • October
  • First two weeks of November
  • First two weeks of December

Picking Royal Caribbean cruises that sail during these times of year often net the lowest fares because it is when less people have the opportunity or inclination to cruise.

Five money saving tips for getting the best Royal Caribbean cruise deal


Perhaps the most common question we get on Royal Caribbean Blog is how someone can save money on a Royal Caribbean cruise or just get a good deal on their sailing.

It certainly makes sense to get questions like this, because no one wants to overpay for their cruise and we would all prefer to spend the least possible for our cruise so we have more money to spend on things like shore excursions, souvenirs, drink packages and more.

While there is no silver bullet solution that will work for everyone, there are some good guidelines we can share to getting you the best possible pricing.

Book as early as you can

We will start things off with our best tip, and that is to book your Royal Caribbean cruise is far in advance as you can to get the lowest possible fares.

In general, Royal Caribbean rewards those that book their cruises early with the lowest fares.  As more people book a given sailing, prices tend to rise because there is less inventory available.

Royal Caribbean typically publishes its cruise schedules up to two years in advance, which sounds like a lot of time to wait for a cruise, but it is among the best ways to lock in the best prices.

Your best bet is to book early and place a deposit on a sailing that can lock in that price until your final payment date.  This not only gives you the lowest possible price, it also gives you the most time to make payments on the cruise.  Plus, that deposit is fully refundable if you happen to change your mind later.

If you cannot book two years in advance, that is okay too.  They key is not to wait, but instead book a cruise as early as you can.

Use a travel agent

Whether you are brand new to Royal Caribbean or a veteran, you really ought to book your cruise with a good travel agent.

Travel agents are paid by Royal Caribbean and cost you nothing to use.  What they offer to the customer is quality service and expert advice on Royal Caribbean bookings.

It is their job to stay on top of the various deals and promotions Royal Caribbean rolls out there and because they are constantly pricing a variety of sailings across Royal Caribbean's fleet, they may be aware of deals and savings out there that you might not have considered.

In addition, even after you book a cruise, Royal Caribbean is constantly rolling out new promotions that could save you even more money, and a good travel agent will be there to re-price things for you without your intervention.  

On a personal note, I book all of my Royal Caribbean cruises through a travel agent for the service they provide.  I figure, let them sit on hold with Royal Caribbean while I do something much more fun!

Book a cruise during less-busy months

The first two tips I shared will get you some great prices, but if you want to find those super low cruise fares, then you ought to consider taking a Royal Caribbean cruise when many others are not willing to.

Royal Caribbean offers cruises throughout the year, but there are certainly times of the year when cruising is more in-demand than other times. 

Since Royal Caribbean is a family cruise line, what you want to do is avoid taking cruises when kids are off from school for holidays.  Summer, Christmas, Spring Break and Easter are all times when families have built in vacation time and many look to cruise.

If you can, consider taking a Royal Caribbean cruise when most schools are in session because these are the times of year when you will be able to net some super savings.

The best months for the lowest fares include

  • January (except New Years)
  • February (except Presidents Week)
  • First two weeks of March
  • October
  • November (except Thanksgiving)
  • First two weeks of December

To illustrate this point, here are two Freedom of the Seas sailings to consider. Both cruises are six nights, leaving from Fort Lauderdale and priced for two passengers in an inside stateroom

  • December 4, 2016 sailing: $1472.18
  • December 24, 2016 sailing: $2321.86

That is a $849 difference in price between two identical sailings separated by a few weeks!

Consider ships sailing from alternate ports

In addition to considering time of year, also consider the ports Royal Caribbean sails from and which ones can get you a better deal.

Royal Caribbean offers cruises from a variety of ports around the world, but some sailings always seem to be priced lower than other sailings mainly due to where the cruise departs from.  

The reason prices are lower from certain ports is because they are more difficult for out of state guests to travel to, and thus, there is less demand for these sailings.

In North America, you can often find great rates from these cruise ports.

  • Galveston, Texas
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Tampa, Florida

If you are willing to fly a little further and/or drive a bit more, Royal Caribbean cruises from these ports tend to offer some fantastic deals consistently throughout the year.

Skip the brand new ships

When you watch any of Royal Caribbean's television commercials, you will see scenes from their Quantum and Oasis class ships and they are absolutely amazing experiences, but they also come with premium pricing.

Royal Caribbean has a fleet of 23 cruise ships and they all offer really fun experiences.  The thing is, Royal Caribbean charges a premium for its newest ships, so some of the best deals can be found with the (relatively speaking) older classes of ships.

I know it sounds like with an older ship they will not have all the whizz-bang features of the new ships, but Royal Caribbean has spent millions of dollars in upgrading these ships and I would not hesitate to cruise on them.

Here are my favorite five ships that offer a tremendous value for the money

  • Independence of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Enchantment of the Seas
  • Navigator of the Seas
  • Brilliance of the Seas

There are plenty of others as well, but the bottom line is if you can look past the latest and greatest, you can find great deals on some truly amazing ships.

What are your best tips for Royal Caribbean cruise deals? Tell us in the comments!