Tips and Advice

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Cruise Discounts and Upgrades

1.  Cruise for free!  If you organize a group of at least sixteen, you will receive your cruise free. It's not that difficult to do.  It can be a family reunion, a class reunion, a church group, or a group of old friends or individuals with similar interests. Everybody likes a nice cruise.

2.  Cruise lines sometimes offer a two-for-one deal or a fat discount for a third or fourth party who will be staying in your cabin.

3.  If you've cruised in the past with a cruise line and book another trip with them, you can inquire as to whether they will give you a free category upgrade.

4.  If a ship is being repositioned from one part of the world to another, you can often get a substantial discount booking on that ship. This usually occurs either in October or April.

5.  There can be impressive benefits if you either book a cruise a year in advance or are able to book last minute. If you book a year in advance, you will be considered first if there are any cabin upgrades. If you can book last minute, the line may offer highly reduced rates because they want to fill as many cabins as possible. 

6.  If you book back-to-back consecutive cruises on the same ship, you can often receive a substantial discount. However, it's wise to request that you remain in the same or a similar cabin so you don't wind up getting downgraded.

7. If your cruise is terminated even a little earlier than publicized for issues such as mechanical failure or passenger health, you will often receive a free future cruise of similar value.

8.  If you're a little daring, some lines offer a share-a-cabin program, You can share a cabin with another passenger to pay double-occupancy prices. However, do everything possible to ensure that your habits match those of your partner or it could be a very long cruise for you.

9. Some cruise lines offer the chance to charge your entire cruise vacation to the cruise line's credit card. You are then allowed two to three years to pay for the entire vacation. However, beware of super high interest rates.

Getting Your Senior Travel Savings

1) Always ask about senior savings when you travel on planes, trains, buses, or boats anywhere in the world. This also applies to movies, museums, theaters, tours, historic buildings and attractions.

2) Some countries require that you purchase a senior card to get senior discounts but most require only proof of age, usually in the form of a passport or driver's license.

3) Always have necessary identification with you and be ready to show it.

4)  You must purchase most European rail passes in the U.S. or Canada at least 15 days prior to departure. However, some national passes are only good within one country's borders and must be purchased there, usually at major railroad stations or airports.

5)  Though there are many European rail pass plans, only a few of them offer senior discounts to travelers age 60 or over.

6) Be sure your rail pass is validated at the railway ticket office the first time you use it, before boarding the train.

7) Ask about rail pass insurance in case it is lost or stolen. (You might also seriously consider full travel insurance).

8)  Major U.S. hotel chains such as Radisson, Marriott, Choice, and Best Western offer senior discounts that carry over to their establishments in other countries.

9)  Travel passes sometimes overlap and some must be purchased before you leave home, so it sin't a bad idea to contact national tourist offices of countries you intend to visit.

10)  Among the best buys are easy-to-use "city cards" available for many major European cities. They offer free public transportation plus admission to important tourist sites, and often discounts on meals, tours, theater tickets, cultural attractions, and shopping.