Last updated: 07:00 PM ET, Wed December 16 2015

Can a Cruise Ship Fit Under a Christmas Tree?

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Chris Owen | December 16, 2015

Can a Cruise Ship Fit Under a Christmas Tree?

Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises

There is still time to place a cruise vacation under the Christmas tree — but do note that there are pros and cons to this travel buying decision just like any other.

The idea sounds interesting. Come along on a cruise to someplace wonderful. On me. No charge. I’ve got this.

It’s putting into action the common thought, “For the price of that ______ we were planning on buying, we could all go on a cruise.”

A good way to weigh the pros and cons of gifting a cruise is to compare it with some of the aspects of conventional holiday shopping, although in some ways there is more flexibility than standard retail purchase:

It Can Be Returned

Take a stab at a good ship and sale date for the initial booking, knowing that can change and those invited to go are OK with that. The cruise line won’t even ask for your receipt. This is a pro for those with iffy travel plans or for the giver when the receiver does not want to go.

Free Layaway

The cruise line does not put your choice up on a shelf somewhere until you are ready to pay it off, but they will take payments as low as $20 between booking and when final payment is due. Budget-minded travelers will see this as a huge pro.  Those who book and pay at the same time for a future cruise have the equivalent of a money back guarantee up to the date final payment is due.

They Match Prices

Depending on the chosen cruise line, prices might be lower, moments after you buy.  Carnival and Royal Caribbean for example, make good on their price if you buy today and find a lower legitimate price tomorrow.

Get The Right Deal

A huge pro over traditional gift buying, a booking done with a certain amount of savvy can be changed to accommodate a more attractive cruise line promotion that happens after arrangements are made. This should be a core element of any good booking strategy; cruise pricing is volatile and ever changing.

Buy Now, Pay Later

Traditional gifts take multiple online sources and trips to the mall; a cruise booking just takes a phone call to your travel agent. Not hard to do: You could pay the deposit on that cruise for about the same price as what you would have spent on holiday gifts.

Cruises Cost More Than Socks

Cost is really the only major con (another potential con: the receiver of the gift is prone to seasickness). There are many ways to mitigate cruise prices — your travel agent can be a huge help in this regard.

Big Spender

Unless a Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day sailing is chosen, the gift of a future cruise can be had for just the amount of the deposit.  This month, cruise travelers did not have to look far to find half-price deposit specials that included bonus perks like onboard credit.

What Also Works

Just wrap a cruise brochure to announce what this year’s holiday gift can be. Let them open that. The resulting excitement: Pro.


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