One way to find some savings on the cost of a cruise is to sail as part of a group. You will find that you may get discounted fares or additional perks, sometimes both. If the group you hear about is offering none of the options, consider strongly using checking with a different cruise agent. In virtually all cases the cruise line offers agents marketing incentives to make the group work and unless they are all being put in the agents’ pocket, perks will be made available to the passengers.
Recently, one of the groups I was involved with was on a cruise where the rates started picking up steam for the non-group members. The group rates over time became just a small fraction of the going rate for the same cruise. This happens fairly often as cruise ships fill space and the prices go up. As the cruise price increases, the group cabins that were locked in at lower rates become very valuable commodities. Of course there are limited numbers of group cabins, so book early as they often sell out leaving new bookings to go in at the going rates.
Most cruise lines offer perks for group cruises. The travel agent who sets up the group is able to choose how the perks are delivered, as in what form that take aboard the ship. On Board Credit, a party, and bottles of wine for sail away are among the options frequently given to customers. One of the options is cash to benefit a particular charity, which is a nice way to cruise with a group of likeminded folks, and support the charity all at once, without having to reach into your pocket for more money.
If you are one who likes to pull together a group it is worth asking the travel agent what extra perks can be given to the tour group leader. Depending on the cruise and number of cabins sold, it’s possible you can get some nice perks for helping to pull together an entire group. Of course for smaller groups it may not be possible to get any better perks than the rest of the group and a lot often depends on how much you do to help get the group together.
When you have a group of folks who know one another ahead of the cruise you will have a group with whom you can hang out while aboard the ship. Having folks that you know and want to chat is really nice if you aren’t one who likes to go meet new people. It also helps if you have enough friends in your group when you want to have private shore excursions. Private excursions can be really nice as you can usually modify the pace of the tour as needed to meet your group’s needs without having to worry about what non group members think.
If your group is purely a likeminded group, at least you know there is a common thread for what brings these folks together. To that end, depending on the type of similar “liking” the group has, it’s possible that small/large group gatherings will be great for folks to get to know one another. When gatherings like this happen at the start of the cruise, it makes for a great opportunity to get folks visiting with one another thru the entire cruise.
Many groups are formed by agents purely to get better deals for clients even though nobody in the group knows one another. This is fine and allows the cruise passengers to save some money. It is just one more option for creating savings for clients some agents use.
Group cruises can be a lot of fun and typically save you money in one form or another. We love to put our clients into groups for extra perks and savings. We enjoy working with group leaders make their vacation dreams come true.
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