The Norwegian Breakaway

Cabins are an average of $143 per night, down 13 percent from last month. The only catch? It is also hurricane season. Conde Nast Traveler editor Kate Maxwell was on the Today show this morning talking about latest news from the cruise industry and the best ways to find deals for your family.

How to find the best cruise rates:
Know your “bargain” cruise season

Caribbean: fall months (hurricane season), and non-holiday portions of Nov–Feb

Europe: Sept/Nov and then again March/April

Alaska: September, May (right during the thaw period, still cold but not as icy)

River cruises: March, April, and Oct–Dec are low season.

Work the discounts. We always recommended you work with travel specialists; they know how to work the good deal to your advantage, getting you upgraded to a better suite, a special shore excursion, etc. Also, there are discounts for seniors, military, police officers and union members.

The pros of sailing during hurricane season:
Deals: You can find great bargains on Caribbean cruises, since there are many last-minute deals available.
Ships can outrun the storms or move around them. If you’re at a hotel on the beach, you would just be stuck inside in the rain.

The cons of sailing during hurricane season:
Shore excursions could change:  If your ship reroutes to avoid a story near Jamaica, you could end up missing that diving trip you booked on your own. Tip: Use the ships’ shore excursions programs since they will reimburse or offer equivalent credit for another program. Independent operators won’t. Independent operators won’t.

Return flights could change: Let’s say you miss your return flight because your cruise was delayed or re-routed due to storm. The cruise line will not reimburse you for the cost of missing and changing your flight, but third-party insurance through TravelGuard or TravelEx, for example, will. Tip: Buy travel insurance and double-check that it includes hurricane coverage. And read the rest of our tips on cruising during hurricane season.

The Deals!
Here at Conde Nast Traveler, we know the value of a good travel specialist—they’ll help you find great deals. That’s why we make a point of finding the best ones out there each year and sharing our list with you. To find these and other good bargains, check out our list of cruise specialists.

Bahamas after labor day: Norwegian Cruise Line’s brand-new ship the Norwegian Breakaway has just started sailing from New York this past June. You can leave on Oct 6 from NYC for a seven-day trip to Bermuda, with three days at sea and three days in port in Bermuda. Oceanview rooms start at $699 per person.

Alaska on a Sunday: Holland America Line’s “7-Night Alaskan Explorer” departs from Seattle and visits Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria British Colombia. It’s perfect for last-minute travelers: $449 for an oceanview room leaving on September 1. This is a 77 percent savings off the normal rate for this trip.

Seven nights in the Caribbean: Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas departs from Ft. Lauderdale for a seven-night cruise to the eastern Caribbean, visiting Coco Cay, St. Thomas, St. Maarten. We’re seeing availability for September 1, 15, and 29 at $649 for an interior cabin.