You’re tempted to book a cruise for your next vacation, but you figure it’s probably out of your budget and aren’t they for more “seasoned” couples The answer is no—on both accounts. Cruising can be quite affordable if you plan ahead and take advantage of benefits for USAA members. Many cruise lines have also recently upped their “cool” factor by attracting more millennials through specific amenities like high-speed Internet and silent discos. So, if you’ve always been curious about this luxurious mode of travel, here are our top-five reasons you should consider a shipboard adventure for your next trip.
1. Visit several places on your dream destination list
Can’t decide between Barcelona or Athens? With a cruise, you don’t have to settle for one vacation spot! Setting sail allows you to visit many different places in a short period of time. When you get to port, you can usually choose whether you want to join in on paid excursions or explore on your own time.
2. Prepare to be pampered
If you’re someone who gets mentally exhausted at the thought of trying to coordinate flight, cars and hotels, a cruise may be just the thing for you. Imagine a lush balcony cabin, an endless buffet of food, and entertaining onboard events. Cruise culture is appealing mainly because it’s about having an epic amount of fun.
3. Pack—and unpack—only once
Life on a ship has its perks, including not having to bundle your T-shirts and unmentionables into a suitcase every few days. When you’re in the middle of the ocean, you can turn your attention to more important matters, like taking selfies at sea or watching the ship pull into port.
4. Get some culture—along with your suntan
Cruises are a great way to experience different countries, climates, and cultures. Sometimes you can step right off the ship and visit the city you’re in, while other times you may need a little more transportation to get where you’re going. Excursions or guided tours with a local can be helpful when trying to navigate a new area, and venturing off the beaten path can often lead to some of the most memorable moments of your trip.
5. Add a touch of (affordable) luxe to your life
Did you know you can save money when you book a cruise by taking advantage of travel benefits for USAA members? Michelle Carter, a single, 32-year old from Texas , recently returned from her very first cruise to the Caribbean.
“I didn’t realize it was financially possible for me, but when I spoke to my travel associate, he let me know about specific cruise discounts available as a USAA member, and I ended up saving $1,200.”
Michelle also took it upon herself to cut down on some of her smaller, everyday indulgences (like her morning latte and to-go lunches) in order to afford some of the bigger luxuries in life. She also became more diligent about saving a certain percentage of her paycheck every month and putting it toward her travel expenses.
Richard Rathman, Product Management Director for the travel portfolio at USAA, agrees with Michelle’s financial strategy.He also says that approximately 70 percent of USAA members don’t realize the fun and exciting things in life they can afford with the discounts and benefits available to them.
“We’re here to help members afford the experiences they care about. You might not necessarily think you’re in a position to purchase a cruise, but it can be a cost-effective trip if you do it right.”
Rathman notes that because cruises are price-protected programs, the best way USAA members can save money is to get a discount through its points program*.
“All members start out with five thousand points, but you can quickly acquire up to ten thousand points, which equals about twelve hundred dollars. For example, if you make a hotel reservation in Las Vegas for the weekend and spend five hundred dollars for your stay—which is the guaranteed lowest price—you will earn eight points for every dollar you spend, which would give you an additional four thousand additional points. Members also receive points for rental cars and travel insurance. What’s great about these points is that they translate into real dollars in our members’ pockets.”
Rathman also says that members can take advantage of price-match guarantees offered by USAA travel partner Member Travel Privileges. There are no booking fees involved, either, and members receive their own personal consultant.
And if you’re worried about things like catching a stomach virus while onboard a cruise, you can also have access to travel insurance through our partner, Travel Insured International.
“Because of our partnership, Travel Insured International has added a deployment benefit so that our members have the opportunity to be reimbursed for any money they’ve already paid out for a vacation if they’re suddenly deployed,” Rathman says. “we’re constantly listening to our members and adapting our plans to fit their particular needs.”
Travel services and arrangements provided through International Cruise & Excursion Gallery, Inc., d.b.a. Member Travel Privileges.
USAA Alliance Services, LLC., is not a participant in the California Travel Consumer Restitution Fund, and this transaction is not covered by it. Passengers are not eligible to file a claim against that fund in the event that USAA Alliance Services, LLC., defaults. USAA Alliance Services, LLC., complies with California’s Seller of Travel requirements and has posted a $100,000 surety bond. CST:201538-50.
USAA strongly recommends the purchase of optional trip cancellation insurance. USAA Cruise Travel is not responsible for any act, error, or omission; change in price; or any injury, loss, or delay due to any cause, and disclaims responsibility of liability for the acts of the owners or employees of any hotel or any other facility. Carriers may vary cost, itineraries and other travel arrangements. The passage contract in use by these companies when issued constitutes the sole contract between the companies and the passenger. Prices, terms and conditions may change without notice. © 2017 USAA.
*Vacation Point Savings are quoted on a per cabin basis unless otherwise stated therein. Vacation Points are administered and managed by the International Cruise & Excursions, Inc. (“ICE”), a Delaware corporation doing business as Explore Cruise & Travel, and are subject to the Vacation Points terms and conditions available at usaa.com/travel or by calling 1-800-297-6189. Cruise savings are calculated by taking the savings with Vacation Points per person for the same cabin category, then multiplying the result by two (2). Actual price will be displayed upon cabin category selections. A maximum of 10,000 Vacation Points may be applied per cruise booking. Resort savings are per reservation based on double occupancy and availability, and the redemption of Vacation Points. A maximum of 5,000 Vacation Points may be applied per resort reservation. Guided vacation savings per reservation based on double occupancy and availability, and the redemption of Vacation Points. A maximum of 10,000 Vacation Points may be applied per guided vacation booking. Vacation Points discounts are not available on all cruise sailings, resort, or guided vacation bookings. Vacation Points are earned in the following ways: 4 Points earned per every dollar spent per cruise booking, resort reservation, and guided vacation booking; 4 Points earned for every dollar spent on hotel reservations made over the phone; 8 Points earned for every dollar spent on hotel reservations made online; purchase of travel insurance through Travel Insured International in combination with a cruise or land tour earn 4 Points for every dollar spent; stand-alone purchases of travel insurance earn 400 Points per policy, requires proof of purchase through USAA’s discount program; car rentals made through USAA’s discount program earn 300 Points, and requires proof of purchase through USAA’s discount program.
Use of the term “member” or “membership” refers to membership in USAA Membership Services and does not convey any legal or ownership rights in USAA. Restrictions apply and are subject to change.
Alliance Services provided through USAA Alliance Services, LLC.
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