Ways to save on expedition cruises

Although these cruises are very exciting, they can also be very expensive. Make them more economical with these seven cost-cutting tips.

1. Skip the balcony. You’ll spend very little time in your cabin on this type of cruise, so don’t pay for one with a balcony if you want to save money. “Someone could save 20 percent if they upgraded to an ocean view cabin instead,” says Linda Speer, senior cruise consultant at Cruises by Linda in Harrison, Arkansas.

2. Book very early or late. You will usually find the best prices for these cruises by booking well in advance or very close to the cruise date. “So once you’ve identified the cruise lines you’re interested in, sign up for their promotions, just in case there are last-minute deals,” says Speer.

3. Take advantage of loyalty programs. If you’re a loyal member of one of the regular cruise lines currently launching Expedition ships, Rob Clabbers of Q Cruise + Travel recommends asking if the line will extend your discounts for past guests to its Expedition cruises. . “Booking your expedition cruise while you’re on one of the company’s scheduled cruises can also result in savings and/or benefits,” says Clabbers.

4. Choose your cruise line carefully. “While Lindblad, Atlas and Viking are the first lines that come to mind, broaden your search to lesser-known companies if budget is a concern – Aurora, Hurtigruten and Quark [for example]says Speer.

Example: Speer compared a Viking sailing to Antarctica in January to a similar one offered by Hurtigruten and found that the latter was 40% cheaper. “But Hurtigruten sails with a lot more passengers, and regulations limit the number of passengers on the ice to 100, so there won’t be as much time ashore,” she notes.

5. Plan your trip carefully. Rates vary throughout the year, so look for price trends and book when they’re lowest. “Ahead of 2023, you can save thousands of dollars per person on an Antarctica cruise by booking a cruise in March, the month with the lowest fares this year,” advises Colleen McDaniel, editor of Cruise Critic, a press and news review on cruises. site. “But be aware that lower fares usually mean it’s a less popular time to sail this area, and that might mean it’s not the best time to experience it.”

6. Book a non-shipping location. In addition to cruises to places as exotic as the Arctic and Antarctica, many expedition cruise lines also offer cheaper trips to less adventurous destinations, such as the Caribbean and New England. “If the ship is your destination, that can be particularly appealing,” McDaniel says.

7. Choose an older ship. While newer ships will have the newest design and the shiniest interiors, you can sometimes save $1,000 or more by booking a ship that is a few years older.