It makes for a great headline and easy to promote. The idea of being able to book a cruise on a significantly reduced deposit comes up fairly regularly among a variety of cruise lines and retailers. Some allow you to book a cruise with an initial outlay of only $1 per person.

These low deposits are understandably tempting to travellers, many taking the opportunity to schedule multiple cruises sometimes years in advance. Dig a little deeper though and you’ll find that while the price is right in so many ways, there can often be some very tough terms and conditions which should be considered before handing over your pocket change and thinking you’ve landed the deal of the century.

Why do travel agencies offer these temping deals you ask? How can they do it without running the risk of self-imposed financial problems? Here’s the lowdown.

Make no mistake, a bargain discount is a great deal, but make sure it works for you to ensure you're sailing stress-free.
Make no mistake, a bargain discount is a great deal, but make sure it works for you to ensure you’re sailing stress-free.

Amid all the hype associated with such a low deposit, it can be easy to forget that you are actually still paying the full deposit, eventually, but just prolonging the final due date to roughly 190 days, or around six months, prior to the day the cruise sets sail. This policy ensures there is in fact no financial risk to your travel retailer, as in most cases, eligible cruises available on such reduced deposit deals won’t be departing until well into the future – usually well outside the cruise line’s normal free cancellation period.

So in reality, your travel agent or retailer will be the ones paying the full deposit amount on your behalf in the short term, but this can easily be refunded in full should you not pay the rest of the deposit or meet any other due dates on your holiday payments.

Some cruise agencies will automatically charge your credit card for the remaining deposit amount at an agreed due date, usually 190 days before sailing, while others put you in full control, complete with the responsibility on ensuring you meet your payment plan.

Reduced deposit deals on cruises don't necessarily mean the overall cruise is any cheaper.
Reduced deposit deals on cruises don’t necessarily mean the overall cruise is any cheaper.

Unless you’re fastidiously organised and particularly if you’re booking multiple cruises on a reduced deposit deal, the repercussions associated with this can be dangerous, especially if you’ve lost track of when your retailer will be charging your credit card or debiting your bank account. Additional care should be taken to ensure that you are appropriately covered by cancellation insurance should you be charged without realising.

Traps like this can see your reduced deposit deal become a nightmare, with unexpected pitfalls in the terms and conditions rearing their ugly heads.

All in all if you are definitive in going on a particular sailing or organised enough to ensure you will not be charged any cancellation fees, these reduced deposit deals can be a great thing and something worth taking advantage of.

There are also some pros and cons to keep in mind.

Pros

Having multiple payment dates can be a nightmare to keep in check.
Having multiple payment dates can be a nightmare to keep in check.

Planning in advance: If you like having more than one holiday in the works at a time or enjoy planning far in advance, reduced deposits can be a great way to secure a fantastic deal without outlaying hundreds of dollars for a cruise which might not be sailing for two years.

Getting friends and family together: Booking on a reduced deposit deal can also be a great chance to secure a cabin for friends or family who may not be able to commit financially too far ahead. For most people, these deposits can be paid with pocket change.

Securing a particular cabin: These deals can be used to secure higher-end luxury suites or special staterooms such as Carnival Spirit’s highly sought Obstructed Ocean View French Balcony staterooms which typically sell out quickly.

Cons

The process of booking a cruise on a reduced deposit can be pleasant, straightforward and should not cause undue stress.
The process of booking a cruise on a reduced deposit can be pleasant, easy and should not cause undue stress.

Payment due early: Reduced deposit deals often carry with them tighter payment deadlines which may require you to submit final payment further in advance than normal.

Multiple payment due dates: By booking multiple cruises, this will in turn set multiple due dates for payments, resulting in a greater chance of an error to occur and the potential for your booking to be cancelled.

Extra booking fees: While these will likely not be much, additional booking fees and other surcharges can be applied as your retailer requires multiple payments to be processed.

Have you taken advantage of a reduced deposit promotion? Tell us below in the comments.

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