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Cruise Lines Cut Prices to Attract Skittish Vacationers — Dollars and Sense

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Cameron Spencer, Getty Images

Ever wanted to take a cruise? Bargain shoppers might find this to be the perfect time to book a seafaring voyage.

In the wake of the Costa Concordia tragedy, travelers have been largely shying away from cruise travel. By some estimates, bookings with some US companies have dropped as much as 20 percent, while European lines have seen a 12 percent reduction in passengers.

As result of all the bad press, many cruise lines around the world are cutting their prices. Want a last-minute seven-night Caribbean trip on a Carnival ship? Trip-watchers recently spotted one for $449 per person. Even luxury lines like Crystal Cruises have offered 10-day transatlantic cruises for just $1,360, more than two-thirds less than its brochure rate of $4,720 — and that includes wine, spirits, and gratuities.

And even if you find a cruise that doesn’t seem any cheaper now, read the fine print. Incentives like onboard credits have often increased, and travel agents sometimes throw in extras like free or discounted airfare — which means your overall vacation price will be less.

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