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Grab yourself a great deal for a holiday at sea.

1. Leave it til the last minute

A cruise ship sails with the same number of cabins every time, so as the sailing date approaches there is a greater incentive for the line to start dropping prices. They make no money sailing with empty cabins so even very low fares are a win for them. Keep an eye out for great deals on sailings that depart within the month – you could be paying less than half of the original brochure fare.

2. Be flexible

If you have one very specific itinerary, departure date or ship in mind, it will be harder to secure a bargain. Flexibility is key here – have a look online, in the travel section of the newspaper or at your travel agent’s and see what is available. Grabbing a deal might mean choosing a destination or line that you haven’t tried before, but that can be the best way to discover a new favourite.

3. Travel off season

If you’re looking to save money on any kind of travel (not just cruise) then you’ll want to avoid peak season. That means school holidays, public holidays or potentially ‘perfect weather’ times for season destinations. These are always popular and will book up first, so it’s unlikely there will be any big price reductions. Instead, travel in off peak or shoulder season and be prepared for a little bad weather, or choose a time that falls right in the middle of school term.

4. Try something different

Ever heard of a repositioning cruise? At the end of a season, cruise lines need to move their ships from one part of the world to another. For example, a ship might spend the northern summer months cruising the Mediterranean and then sail to Australia to cruise the South Pacific during our summer. You can find great deals for these cruises – plus it's a unique experience you can’t normally find. These cruises tend to be long, have lots of sea days and call at some unusual ports.

5. Use an agent

Since the internet became our go-to resource for travel (and just about everything else) many people assume that they can get a better deal themselves online. And while that may be the case sometimes, when it comes to cruising a dedicated cruise agent will almost always be able to save you some cash. They have access to special offers, can throw in some bonus goodies and will work hard to hunt down the best fare for you.

What are your tips for booking a cruise bargain? Let us know in the comments below.