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The Real and the Not-So-Real Cruise Deals of Wave Season

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Cruise ShipsWelcome to Wave Season 2014. Did you know that the majority of cruises are booked between January and March? During this time, companies compete to offer the best cruise deals to win your business for the year, hence the term “wave season.”

Some cruise lines are offering deep discounts, free upgrades and substantial perks. Others have less significant offers. We’ve compiled the first round of first wave season offers. Deal or no deal? Judge for yourself:

Free Upgrades

Cunard's QE2You have 134 opportunities to save with Cunard. The cruise line is offering free cabin upgrades for all sailings on its three ships. Book a balcony cabin for the price of an inside cabin on select Mediterranean and North European sailings. Additionally, you can book a balcony cabin for ocean-view rates on trans-Atlantic, Caribbean and Canada trips. The wave season savings also include free gratuities for two people per cabin. Book before February 28 and remember code R2W.

From now until, April 4, Norwegian Cruise Line is offering a free outside, balcony or mini-suite upgrade. The deal is valid for most sailings, one and two-night sailings are excluded. In addition, when you book any sailings four nights or longer you will receive up to $100 in onboard credit. For cruises of three days or longer, you can reduce your deposit by 50 percent. For select sailings, you can take advantage of $300 in online savings coupons and air credits. Book before April 4, 2013. Call 866-234-7350 or visit Norwegian Cruise Line’s website.

Discounted Pricing

msc-crociere-da-il-benvenuto-alla-msc-divina-L-q1iWt7MSC enters the competition by offering “employee pricing “on April and May sailings on its newest ship, the MSC Divina. With this offer, deals that were only available to employees are open to the public. The employee pricing is for sailings in April and May. Rates start as low as $400 for a 7-night cruise, which breaks down to just $57 per person, per night. To receive the special pricing, you must book by January 31, 2014. Call 800-666-9333 or book online.

Regent Seven Seas cruises is not competing to sell the lowest fares. Instead, Regent is competing on a host of luxury perks. Its wave season offers for European sailings include 2-for-1 fares as well as throwing in round-trip airfare. You also have the option to save $6,000 per suite. In addition, you can upgrade to business class for $399 or free business class airfare on bookings of all penthouse suites and higher. All sailings include free and unlimited shore excursions, free airport transfers, free pre-cruise luxury hotel packages, free unlimited shore excursions, and free unlimited beverages (yes, that includes wines and spirits). Click here to see more information.

Shore Excursions & Other Perks:

princess_cruiseCelebrity Cruises is letting travelers pick their own deal  in Wave Season. The “123go” sale gives you the option of choosing a free beverage package, an onboard credit of $300 per cabin or prepaid gratuities. You can book the promotion on more than 400 cruises on most of their ships sailing between February 2014 and March 2015. Book before February 28, 2014.  Click here for more information.

Princess enters the Wave Season 2014 competition with a somewhat unusual offer. Here’s the Princess deal:  three upgrades on more than 200 sailings to Alaska, Europe and the Caribbean. The three free deal includes a free bottle of wine, a free frame keepsake photo and a $200 free shore excursion. In addition, you can book your next cruise with just a $100 deposit. If those perks don’t seem that impressive (and let’s be honest….they’re not), you should be impressed by the discounted rates. Princess Alaska sailings start at $598 for seven nights. Caribbean cruises begin at $799 for seven nights. European cruises start at $999. Book before February 28, 2014. Click here and remember promo codes RD3/RTF/RTG/RTH/RTI.

Don’t miss these early offers.

By Lily J. Kosner for