Living in a third world country and earning just a decent amount of money means that cruises are just a luxury and expensive affairs. I was 12 years old, watching the iconic movie Titanic when I got an idea of what it’s like sailing on a cruise ship. I knew at that time that it was impossible to step into this massive adult playground for wealthy people.
Here in the Philippines, you can experience the cruise life if you’re working on a cruise ship, you’re a wealthy person, you have great savings or you have won the lottery or raffle. So, growing up, I erased from my memory the thought of seeing and experiencing what is inside a cruise ship. Even after I became a travel blogger, cruise experience still did not exists on my list of things to try or do, as I believe that this is not my definition of travel.
To me, travel is exploring, going out, and learning new things about the world and culture. It’s all about discovery. On the other hand, vacation is taking a break from your day-to-day routine, relax and not do anything. Cruise is not a travel for me, I view it as a vacation.
Working in a Travel Company
It was this January 2018 when I started working full-time for a travel company in Makati City as part of E-Commerce or Digital Marketing Team. Part of my job is to visit the places that we’re offering and take photos and videos for our digital marketing materials. Around April, I was assigned to help the team for the embarkation in Crystal Cruise line. I had a glimpse of what it’s like working on a cruise ship. I met a Hungarian guy who’s working in one of the bars on that cruise for 4 years already and we’ve talked about life at sea. I learned from him some of the advantages and disadvantages of working on a cruise which ignited again the fire of knowing more about the cruising life.
Just recently, I was assigned again to join the team for the welcoming ceremony, as Ovation of the Seas, the biggest cruise ship in Asia, will dock here in Manila. I was fortunate enough to experience the cruising life even for a small amount of time. I know it’s a once in a lifetime experience that’s why I made the most out of it.
How much does it cost?
The listed price of an Asian cruise is $630 USD or around PHP33,600. That’s expensive for a week at sea. I could travel to several Southeast Asian countries for a month on that kind of money.
If we do the math, that’s $90 USD per day. Luckily, there are ways to experience cruise for as low as $30 per day.
How to Book a Cheap Cruise if you’re coming from Manila
After my cruise experience, I posted some photos online and was asked by many of how I can afford it. But, the truth is, since it’s part of my job, I got it for free. However, I am also working on a travel company and one of our products is the cruise. I also learned the tips and tricks on how to book a cruise without breaking your bank, so might as well share it with you guys! Here you go!
Booking a cheap cruise requires flexibility
Just like other travel and tour pricing, cruises rates are also the same. The closer you get to your departure date, the cheaper the rate becomes. Cruise ships don’t want to depart with half-empty boats, so they drop rates steadily until the time of departure. These cruises get the majority of their income from what the visitors purchased on board, that’s why they want people on those cruise ships, and for them, empty cabin means less money. Also, most of the crew earn their money from the tips they get from the visitors.
The only downside of last-minute booking is that you need to be willing to go anywhere or fine with not booking the specific cruise ship or cruise destinations.
Getting the last-minute cruise deals
It is advisable to look for a travel agent, as they are working directly for different cruise companies that can give you different options for last-minute deals with better rates. These agents can find much lower prices and can act as the middleman to cruise companies when something goes wrong. Here at Baron Travel, we are tied up with three different cruise lines:
You can also subscribe to Baron Travel’s weekly newsletter to get last-minute deals.
However, if you want to secure a specific cabin, that’s the only time to book early. Otherwise, wait until the last-minute deal.
Finally, if you book a cruise and the price drops, contact the cruise or your travel agent. They will often give you the difference as an onboard credit.