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Discount Alaska Cruises: How to Get Alaska Cruise Deals

May 23, 2008
Discount Alaska cruises used to be much easier to come by. Now, such bargains are getting harder and harder to find, with demand for Alaska cruises going through the roof.

So how can you save money on your cruise? Is it even possible to visit Alaska on a budget any more? The answer is a resounding YES! You can still find great Alaska cruise deals -- if you know when and where to look.

Many people assume that the best way to find discount Alaska cruises is to wait until the last minute. But while this method used to work reasonably well (and still works very well for Caribbean cruises, due to the larger number of ships in that region), it is no longer a very effective strategy for Alaskan cruises.

Alaskan ships often sell out far in advance for the months of July and August. Despite their higher cost, balcony rooms tend to be the first to sell out, especially on Holland America cruises. So if you are set on booking a balcony room in either July or August, your best bet is to book well in advance. (Alaska cruises can be booked up to 18 months ahead of their sale date.)

Of course, if you are more flexible about your sail date and/or your room category, you increase your likelihood of finding some great Alaska cruise deals.

The best months for deals are May and September, the beginning and end of the Alaska cruise season. The very cheapest week of all tends to be the first week in May, when prices can be less than half those of the peak season in early to mid August.

Of course you can also save by booking a lower priced room category. Inside rooms can be half to a third the price of some of the higher priced cabins on an Alaskan cruise. Inside rooms have no windows and can be a little smaller than ocean view rooms, but they can be a wonderful bargain, especially since many people spend so little times in their rooms anyway.

However, if you are at all claustrophobic, an inside room might not be for you. Nonetheless, you can still find a great Alaska cruise deal on an outside room. Many outside rooms are categorized as obstructed view cabins, often due to a lifeboat or pole blocking all or part of the view. These obstructed view cabins are often quite a bit cheaper than regular ocean view rooms. In fact, obstructed view cabins can be as almost as cheap as inside rooms, yet they have windows that admit sunlight and can help ease claustrophobia.

So there are still a number of ways to find discount Alaska cruises. Remember, even with rising prices, cruises still represent an incredible bargain. For less than the price of a nice hotel, they include food, entertainment, transportation, and, in Alaska, glacier viewing too.
About the Author
Scott Russell is a writer, consultant, frequent traveler, and editor of the Alaska Cruise Advisor, a guide to Alaska cruise vacations and inland Alaska tours.
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