Berkeley, California (EastBayDaily) — Thinking of taking a Mediterranean cruise in 2013? If so, travel expert Rick Steves—who’s also the author of Rick Steves’ Mediterranean Cruise Ports—says the time to start planning is now. According to Steves, November is the perfect time to begin researching cruise options because cruises booked before January often qualify for early-bird discounts.
To help travelers select a cruise that best matches their traveling style, and save some money in the process, Steves is offering his best advice for booking a wallet-friendly Mediterranean cruise. Steves’ tips—gleaned from his years of experience as an award-winning travel writer, and popular radio and television show host—offer insider-knowledge that will help both new and experienced cruisers save money while planning an amazing Mediterranean cruise experience.
Here are Steves’ top nine tips for planning a budget-friendly and memorable Mediterranean cruise: Cruise lines want to fill up their ships as fast as possible, so they typically offer early-booking discounts if tickets are purchased well in advance (six-twelve months). Travelers should match their interests and lifestyle with the cruise ship. For example, some vacationers may want a party boat experience, while others will want more time in ports. Book the cruise for the shoulder season, when there are fewer people and generally better weather: May-June and September-October. If travelers are interested in cruising in the summertime, it’s best to begin research and booking during the preceding November. Travel agencies are a cost effective way to book cruises because of the relationships cruise lines have with agencies; some agencies purchase blocks of cabins to ensure lower rates. Pay extra for an itinerary with two more hours in each port. It may be an extra $20 per day, but it’s worth it to have more time to experience European sights. Ask about discounts: Some cruise lines offer discounts for seniors (AARP members), AAA members, firefighters, members of the military, union workers, teachers, those in the travel industry, and so on. For repeat or frequent cruisers, sign up for cruise lines’ “frequent cruiser” programs that offer incentives, upgrades, and access to special deals. If the price drops after a cruise is booked, ask for a new price. Travelers will often be given a discount, or possibly an upgrade. Combine a cruise with a land trip. The typical cruiser sails for seven days. Consider adding a few days on either end of the cruise for further land exploration of Mediterranean cities.
For more information on Steves, or his book, Rick Steves’ Mediterranean Cruise Ports, visit the Avalon Travel website. For more tips or to set up an interview with Rick Steves, please contact Eva Zimmerman at 510.809.3834 or at eva.zimmerman(at)perseusbooks(dot)com.
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About Avalon Travel
Avalon Travel is the largest independent travel publisher based in the United States. Major series include Rick Steves, the top-selling European guidebook series in the U.S.; Moon, with guides to more than 200 destinations around the world; and Road Trip USA. Based in Berkeley, Calif., Avalon is a member of the Perseus Books Group. For more information, visit http://www.avalontravelbooks.com.
About Rick Steves
Rick Steves is on a mission: to help make European travel accessible and meaningful for Americans. Since 1973, Steves has spent four months every year exploring Europe. He’s researched and written more than 50 travel guidebooks, writes and hosts the public television series Rick Steves’ Europe, and also produces and hosts the weekly public radio show Travel with Rick Steves. With the help of his hardworking staff at Europe Through the Back Door, Steves organizes and leads tours of Europe and offers an information-packed website, http://www.ricksteves.com. When not traveling through Europe, Steves lives in Edmonds, Washington.