Much like hotels, most cruise ships offer a free berth (Free bed) for every eight rooms booked at double occupancy (Total of 16 paid cruises).
So how do you go about getting a free room?
The first step is to get group cruise rates. Whether it’s a family reunion, an association group, a wedding or a fundraiser, you’ll want to get group rates to get better pricing. Plus, as a group you can get quite a few perks like free meeting rooms, a welcome gift, preferred group dining times and shipboard credit towards drinks and activities.
How do I get group cruise rates?
You could call the cruise lines individually or just fill out this simple group cruise request and have the rates sent to you. After submitting the form, one of our group cruise specialists will contact you with rates/availability based on the specified destination and budget. In filling out the form, make sure to include the following in the comments section:
”We are looking to make a decision soon and will give preference to the cruise line that offers the best free room ratio”
Once our group cruise specialist has all the rates, we forward them to you so you can compare the offers. Remember to factor in the group cruise rate, the complimentary rooms offered and any additional perks that the cruise ship is willing to sweeten the pot.
Before making a decision, make sure you understand the rules regarding the free rooms. For example, did you know that you have to pay for the free room?
What? How do you pay for the free room?
Instead of just letting you cruise for free based on the number of occupants in your group, cruise lines require you to front the money for your room including taxes and tips. Once the trip is over, the cruise ship will mail you a check for the value of the room minus any port fees, and taxes.
I still have to pay taxes and port fees?
Any complimentary rooms require the occupant to pay for the port fees and taxes. Even after having to pay for those, it’s still worth it since you save hundreds on the cruise itself. Just make sure that you understand the rules behind how cruise ships calculate whether you get a free room or not.
What are the rules behind getting a free room?
For the group to qualify for a free room, there has to be at least sixteen rooms booked with at least two paid occupants (double occupancy) in each for a total of sixteen paid trips. The third and fourth occupants in a room do not qualify towards the free room count. For example, if a family reunion blocked twelve rooms with four rooms having four occupants, they would satisfy the requirement of thirty two total paid cruises but still would not qualify for the free room since there aren’t sixteen total rooms booked. Here is an easy way to visualize it:
8 Staterooms booked by a group means one free bed (Not room)
16 Staterooms booked by a group means one free room (Two beds)
24 staterooms booked by a group means one free room + one free bed
32 staterooms booked by a group means two free rooms (4 total beds)
Do I have to take the free room with our group cruise or can we use it to lower the person price?
A lot organizations or groups do not want the free rooms for one person so they instead opt to lower the price per person for everyone in the group. That move yields an additional savings of 9% on top of the group rates you already received. Just remember that everyone will pay up front and a rebate will be sent after the cruise.
If the idea of lowering your group cruise rate does not interest you, then you also substitute the value of the free room for free onboard amenities like a meeting room, and shipboard credits towards spas etc. You can even arrange for the cruise to include welcome baskets in everyone’s rooms.
Booking a group cruise is easier than ever through our group cruise rates service. Get started by by clicking below.