Frugal Family Friday | Carnival’s Early Saver Rates

MS Carnival Triumph
photo credit: Aah-Yeah

Carnival Cruise Line offers some great rates if you book in advance with their Early Saver Rates.  Carnival states that you can save up to 20%.  To qualify for the special rates you must pay a non-transferable and non-refundable deposit. Bookings must be made 3 months in advance for 5 day or shorter cruises, and 5 months in advance for 6 day or longer cruises to get the special rates.

One bonus I have seen is that you get to pick your cabin instead of booking a guaranteed cabin, and the price is usually the lowest available. Price protection is also a feature of the Early Saver Rate.

Please visit their webpage for full details on the Early Saver Rate terms and conditions.

Frugal Family Friday | Charleston Cruise Deals

cruise ship

Carnival Fantasy in port in Charleston, SC
photo credit: Muffet

Even though I have featured Charleston, South Carolina cruise deals before, it has been a while and there are some great deals if you are willing to book well in advance.  The only ship out of Charleston is the Carnival Fantasy.  It does have cabins that hold up to 5 passengers so it is a great option for families with 1- 3 children especially if you live near the east coast and can drive to the port.

All prices are per person without taxes/fees and are the lowest priced cabin available in each category.

January 9, 2013 – Carnival Fantasy – 5 Day from Charleston to Nassau and Freeport

Inside:
Family of 3 or 4:  $269 1st/2nd passengers, $129 3rd/4th
Family of 5: $289 1st/2nd passengers, $129 3rd-5th

Oceanview:
Family of 3 or 4:  $299 1st/2nd passengers, $149 3rd/4th
Family of 5:  $299 1st/2nd passengers, $149 3rd-5th

January 4, 2013 OR January 14, 2013 – Carnival Fantasy – 5 Day from Charleston to Nassau and Freeport

Inside:
Family of 3 or 4:  $269 1st/2nd passengers, $129 3rd/4th
Family of 5: $289 1st/2nd passengers, $129 3rd-5th

Oceanview:
Family of 3 or 4:  $324 1st/2nd passengers, $149 3rd/4th
Family of 5:  $299 1st/2nd passengers, $149 3rd-5th

January 19, 2013  - Carnival Fantasy – 7 Day Eastern Caribbean from Charleston to Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, and Nassau

Inside:
Family of 3 or 4: $419 1st/2nd passengers, $199 3rd/4th
Family of 5: $444 1st/2nd passengers, $199 3rd-5th

Oceanview:
Family of 3 or 4: $469 1st/2nd passengers, $219 3rd/4th
Family of 5:  $469 1st/2nd passengers, $219 3rd-5th

There are many other cruise dates available with slightly higher pricing if these dates do not work for you.  Simply search Carnival’s website or any of our affiliates to the right.

Frugal Family Friday | Holiday 2012 Cruises

Queen Victoria shops
photo credit: slideshow bob

Merry Christmas to my readers!  Obviously it is too late to book a holiday cruise for this year, but do consider booking one for next Christmas or New Years.  Booking early is usually better for the holidays if that is the only time you can go on a cruise, but it would be best to wait for some sort of cruise line sale such as reduced deposits or onboard credits.

Christmas is going to be a Tuesday in 2012 due to it being a Leap Year.  The weeks of Christmas and New Years are probably the most expensive of the year.  Third  and 4th passengers will typically cost close to full fare as well. If you can get away the week before Christmas or the week after New Years, you will pay significantly less.

I will not be posting any specific pricing this week.  One cruise line to consider for a holiday cruise is MSC Cruises.  They have offered some decent holiday pricing in the last few years, so do consider them especially if you only have 1 or 2 children as their cabins only hold up to 4 passengers and Kids under 12 Sail Free.  If you have 3 or 4 children, you might be able to travel with the grandparents like we did for Thanksgiving 2009 and have all of your children sail for free!

Frugal Family Friday | Winter Cruises From New Orleans

Mississippi River (2)

Mississippi River at New Orleans
photo credit: HeroicLife

Here are some cruise deals for winter (December 2011-March, 2012) out of New Orleans.  The best pricing will be in January and February due to the holidays in December and spring break in March.  The cruise lines that depart from New Orleans are Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean.

*All prices are for the lowest priced cabin available which is an inside cabin.  Some are guarantee cabins where you are not assigned a cabin at booking and could get upgraded and some are assigned at booking. Taxes and port charges are additional.

January 8, 2012 or January 15, 2012 or January 22, 2012 – Norwegian Spirit – 7 Day Western Caribbean to Costa Maya, Belize City, Roatan, Cozumel

Family of 3: $429 1st and 2nd passengers, $199 3rd/4th, $160 children under 2

Family of 4:  $449 1st and 2nd passengers, $199 3rd/4th, $160 children under 2

January 9, 2012 – Carnival Elation – 5 Day Mexican Cruise to Progresso and Cozumel

Families of 3, 4, or 5:  $219 1st and 2nd passengers, $139 3rd-5th

January 28, 2012 or February 4, 2012 – Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas – 7 Day Western Caribbean to Falmouth, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel

Family of 3 or 4: $439 1st and 2nd passengers, $259 3rd/4th

February 26, 2012 – Carnival Conquest – 7 Day Western Caribbean to Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel

Family of 3 or 4: $459 1st and 2nd passengers, $179 3rd/4th

Book these cruises and more directly with each cruise line, with your favorite travel agent, or our affiliate:


Frugal Family Friday | Taking Advantage of Carnival’s Cash Back Offer

P1060057
Carnival Legend

Carnival is offering up to $150 cash back on cruises booked through July 31, 2011.  The credit will show up on your stateroom account to be used onboard or for excursions. 

3 and 4 Day Cruises receive $25 each for the 1st and 2nd passengers = $50

5 Day Cruises receive $50 each for the 1st and 2nd passengers = $100

6+ Day Cruises receive $75 each for the 1st and 2nd passengers = $150

This is actually a pretty good offer as Carnival offers some great pricing for their off season cruises, but you must be careful and check all pricing options.  For example, a family of 4 could go on a 6 day cruise on the Carnival Freedom on December 11, 2011 for as little as $234 per person!  If you want the cash back offer of $150 you will have to pay $309 per person.  That means that in this case it is $150 cheaper to forgo the cash back offer and go with the Early Saver pricing option. 

If you are booking a cruise that does not qualify for the Early Saver rate with a cruise closer to now, you will do better in most cases with booking the Cash Back Offer.  For example, a 7 day cruise on the Carnival Liberty on September 24, 2011 with cost $314 per person for a family of 4 with the Fun Saver pricing or $329 per person for 4 with the cash back offer.  If you count the $150 cash back you are actually saving $90 AND you get to choose your cabin.

If you think you might not be able to spend $150 onboard, think again.  This cash back can be used for tips and shore excursions.  That is usually all we charge on our onboard account.

photo credit: Cruise News Weekly

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