TODAY   |  April 12, 2014

In the mood to cruise? Take advantage of these deals

There are many different ways out there to sail the open seas, and finding the best cruise to fit every wallet can be overwhelming. NBC’s Julia Bagg and Travel and Leisure’s Sarah Spahnolo offered the best way to get a great deal.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back on a saturday morning with the series the best time to buy. we're taking on cruises. from our affiliate station wtvj, here's more.

>> reporter: more than 2,000 cruise members are racing to turn this ship around for its next voyage, in just a matter of hours, the oasis of the seas will welcome aboard some 6,000 new passengers. ,900 state rooms , guest state rooms we are going to clean and get ready for our next guests within three hours. of course, all the food and beverage areas are getting ready.

>> how do you do that?

>> everyone knows what they need to be doing at any given time.

>> with its 17 decks and 2,700 state rooms , $1.4 billion vessel is one of the two largest in the world. three football fields long. it's part of a $38 billion industry where more than 20 million people on the planet set sail every year. with something for everyone, you'll find a treat for every case and every budget, from people who are looking to con conserve a little bit up to people who want to splurge.

>> and with every budget you can get on board, too.

>> it's in between the high season. you'll find fantastic deals in the caribbean, bermuda, europe and even on cruises to alaska.

>> reporter: a little planning ahead goes a long way.

>> think about your itinerary. on a cruise you'll be seeing a lot of ocean it might not matter if you're in an interior cabin or exterior cabin. calculate the real price of your cruise , the additional perks, air fare, alcohol, even spa treatments.

>> reporter: take advantage of loyalty clubs, usually free to join and offer exclusive experiences for their members.

>> the best way to stretch your dollar is to know what you want.

>> yes.

>> reporter: so if you're in the mood to cruise , hurry, before the deal for you sails away.

>> sarah spagnole is with travel and leisure . we share a similar story in that our parents are newfound lovers of cruising. it's crazy for my dad to be thinking about anything so far in advance. before we get to some deals, let's talk about the norovirus, hard to ignore. it's been in the news. over 100 people we believe that are sick on the princess cruise ship .

>> if you spent more on a cruise that you're willing to lose, book trip insurance. trip interruption insurance. if you get sick on the trip or before, you can get your money back.

>> you just said something. the season is coming to an end for the norovirus?

>> that's true. it's november to april. we're seeing the end of it. if you're looking to cruise now or the next couple of months, you're safe.

>> so may sounds good time to go?

>> absolutely. consider restaurants that are served by staffers as opposed to buffets and be aware of your surroundings.

>> what's the best way to book a cruise ? should you use a travel agent ?

>> many people working with a travel agent will add additional fees. that is false. the travel agents are paid by the cruise lines themselves, to help you get access to great discount sbus won't pay additional costs. they're familiar with the ships. they'll tell you which room to book.

>> if i want to take a cruise , haven't done it before, what's the best way to go about getting a good deal? think about the activities? i heard you say that in the piece. know what you want to do and sort of sort out and plot and plan based on that?

>> definitely plan in advance. access to the excursions and the experiences and make sure they're available. you can also consider local experts on the ground to maybe offer you excursions at a lesser price. one tip is to make am sure you're back at port on time. if you're not with the cruise lines tours, they will not wait for you.

>> you'll be stuck in key west , which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

>> reporter: repositioning cruise taking a ship from one area of the world to another for a new season. the first we'll talk about is the celebrity cruise . it's moving in april, they're offering a great deal for $499 per person. that's eight nights from puerto rico to new york. it's stopping in tortola, british virgin islands . you can compare it actually to another trip which is $599 for seven nights round trip to bermuda. another extra day and it's $100 less.

>> alaska and hawaii?

>> both shoulder season offering a great rate $549 now goes up to $679 in july. the difference in temperature is just ten degrees. hawaii is a great cruise any time of year. you compare it this month it's $899 for a seven-day cruise compared to $1,199.

>> thank you so much.