Cruise Critic: Helping Cardholders Maximize Travel Rewards with Reviews & Fair Pricing for the Best Ships on the Open Seas

Cruise Critic: Helping Cardholders Maximize Travel Rewards with Reviews & Fair Pricing for the Best Ships on the Open Seas

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Adam West
By: Adam West
Posted: April 27, 2017
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In a Nutshell: When it comes to redeeming travel rewards, most cardholders immediately think about savings on flights and hotels. However, those who prefer days at sea on a luxury cruise line might not be aware that credit card points can be used toward those vacations as well. Cruise Critic is an online resource for all things cruise-related, giving users access to a selection of constantly updated deals, along with thorough reviews of ships, ports, and excursions. This information can be used to compare deals and plan your next ocean escape. When it comes time to redeem your travel rewards, you can be confident you’re getting the most out of your points.

Flying to exotic locations to stay at four- and five-star hotels is a relatively common way to use credit card travel rewards. But cruises can be a nice alternative, allowing for ample relaxation time while exploring several new destinations in one trip.

Going on a cruise can be expensive, but using credit card rewards can lead to serious savings on your next voyage. Points earned on many travel rewards cards can be directly applied to booking a cruise. However, it’s important to do your homework and strategize to get the most value out of your rewards. For instance, if you’re only getting one point per dollar spent on your credit card, it might be smarter to use a cashback card and put that money toward a heavily discounted rate on a cruise.

No matter which route you take, information is the key. Cruise Critic is a comprehensive, convenient online resource that thoroughly covers cruise travel and the cruise industry, giving users access to information like excursion reviews and daily cruise deals. The site is updated regularly with price drops and the latest critic reviews, along with current cruise-related news.

Screenshot of the Cruise Critic homepage

Cruise Critic combines reviews and deals to help travelers get the best value — and the best cruise.

By doing your homework, you can leverage the educational information on Cruise Critic to make informed decisions when booking your next cruise and maximize your points.

Up-to-the-Minute Deals let Cruisers Choose Wisely when Redeeming Points

Cutting costs on travel gives you the opportunity to get away more frequently. Before making any decisions, it’s wise to spend time doing your research so you know every option at your disposal.

Cruise Critic provides you with a comprehensive list of cruise deals, allowing you to search for the cheapest cruises and last-minute deals aboard choice cruise lines. Using this section of the site allows you to narrow your search based on a variety of criteria, such as destination, cruise line, and which time of year you’re looking for. Being flexible about dates and itineraries can lead to serious savings, so those who are less stringent about the details can save even more.

Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, NCL, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity are among the cruise lines that offer branded credit cards, which would seem like the best way to save when booking a cruise. However, many cruise credit cards limit rewards earning potential — and points on many of these cards expire after five years — which is why research is so important.

Those who do the math will often find that you can get more by using a broader rewards card that allows for cash back, which you can put toward a lower-priced cruise found on Cruise Critic or a pocketful of extra cash to use on the trip. It really comes down to careful planning to ensure maximum savings.

Traveler Reviews & Editors’ Picks — Get the Inside Scoop Before Planning Your Next Expedition

Given the substantial scope of the cruise industry and the vast selection of cruise lines, ship sizes, and routes, it’s good to be in the know about every option before booking a trip.

Using Cruise Critic’s Reviews page, you can look up what other members are saying about different cruise lines, what the cabins are like, and even details about the cruise ship deck plans. It also gives users access to the editors’ top picks and Cruisers’ Choice Awards across a variety of categories, including best value, best entertainment, and best for first-time cruisers.

Screenshot of a Cruise Critic review of the Disney Dream

Cruise Critic allows users to review cruise lines and provides them with feedback from the site’s editors.

“Reviews offer incredibly helpful insights for those planning a cruise but also highlight the remarkable experiences and levels of service that people encounter every day on a cruise,” said Colleen McDaniel, Senior Executive Editor at Cruise Critic.

And since not every moment of a cruise is spent on the boat, Cruise Critic also provides reviews for shore excursions. Making an informed decision when planning any type of vacation is important, and nobody wants to waste their money on a trip that’s less than ideal. Thoroughly researching what others who have actually experienced these trips are saying can lead to better overall value.

Stay In the Know and Save with Price Drop Notifications

Cruise prices are constantly fluctuating, and it’s smart to search Cruise Critic’s deals before booking. The site’s Price Drop feature allows users to monitor specific cruises with built-in notifications that are sent out when prices go down.

“A great deal for a cruise fare can range anywhere from $50 to $100 per person, per day — sometimes even less,” said Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic. “Just be sure when searching for a bargain that you’re searching for value over just price alone. Find a ship that not only fits your budget, but matches your travel style, too.”

By selecting desired dates, destinations, cruise lines, and other preferred options, you can narrow your search and let Price Drop alert you when the cruises you’re interested in have a price reduction. It’s important to note that prices can sometimes plummet by as much as 80% or more. By taking advantage of this feature, you can greatly save on the cruises you’re most interested in.

Set Sail without Breaking the Bank

Cruises can seem costly — especially when paying full price — but it’s important to keep in mind the inclusive nature of this method of travel. After all, on round-trip cruises, you aren’t spending money on hotel rooms and food, which can represent the bulk of travel costs.

Cruise Critic gives travelers access to a thorough and well-organized resource for cruise travel deals, helping you plan your next at-sea adventure and ensure you’re booking the best possible trip.

People don’t always consider using travel rewards toward cruises, and many might find that credit card points are more useful for other types of travel. However, by having access to the right resources and employing careful strategy, you can compare prices and make intelligent use of your points.

Cruise Critic helps its readers enjoy the inclusive luxury of cruising to some of the world’s most beautiful destinations, while helping them do it at a more affordable price..