Over the years, Black Friday has become a quasi-holiday in the US. Companies fight to get your hard-earned dollar as they look to increase their sales and profits. Of course, it’s totally a commercial initiative to increase spending, but that being said, sometimes there are good deals to be found.
When it comes to cruises, there can be some deals to be found. Now, when it comes to cruises themselves, while there is always some “deal” going on, it’s often not anything special, just a way to get you to buy in the moment. Still, there are a few gems to be found, especially on onboard expenses like excursions, activities, and dining. The key is not to buy anything you wouldn’t buy otherwise and to do your homework.
Here are some of the best deals for Black Friday for cruises. We’ll update this through the week as new deals go live for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Black Friday Deals on Cruise Fares
Since January, we’ve been monitoring the prices of 26 different cruises from the following cruise lines. We’ve been tracking them to see whether they’re actually offering “deals” or if it’s marketing fluff. You have to be careful with cruise fares; you’ll see offers for a certain percentage off, but that’s off the book price that no one actually pays. On top of that, the book price fluctuates. The discount may go from 30% off to 40% off, but there are little to no savings because the base price went up. We used that information to help see if the Black Friday “deals” we’re seeing is actually good.
Carnival is offering 40% select cruises through March 2022. According to our research, these deals aren’t significantly better than what people were seeing over the past few weeks, especially if you’re a past Carnival cruiser (VIFP).
Currently, Royal Caribbean is offering a “Thanksgiving Sale” on cruise fares. It’s 30% for all guests and up to $550 off. For most of the cruise prices that we’ve been monitoring for the past 6 months, the price is the same or up to 10% cheaper. On average, it’s about 5% better. It’s nothing phenomenal that means you should go book a cruise right now, but if you’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on a specific sailing, double-check your prices.
For Black Friday week, Norwegian Cruise Line has a deal for 70% off the second passenger plus up to 7 offers such as free wifi, excursion credits, etc. We’ve been monitoring cruise prices on select sailings for the past year, and this “deal” is marginally better than previous sales in only half of them. For the rest, the price is actually 11% higher than deals we saw earlier this year (30% off, etc). Also, keep in mind, to get the 7 offers, you have to choose a more expensive cabin than a “sail away rate,” which is their most inexpensive option. That additional cost may not be worth it if you don’t use all the offers (ie. you don’t drink, you don’t want the wifi, etc).
Virgin Voyages has not published any Black Friday deals on cruises at this time.
Black Friday Deals on Onboard Expenses and Excursions
In previous years, Carnival has offered a promo code for 10% off excursions and spa treatments on Black Friday. This morning, Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald posted that there will be no Black Friday promo codes for these this year. This is due to the fact that the company is still trying to rebound from the shutdown, and that many passengers have large amounts of onboard credit to use already.
Royal Caribbean is offering a deal on most onboard expenses for Black Friday. You can book these by logging into your cruise planner. You don’t need a promo code or link; you’ll automatically see the sale price. They’re advertising “up to 55% off,” but there really should be a strong emphasis on the “up to.”
Is this a good deal? It’s going to vary depending on your specific sailing. Royal Caribbean uses dynamic pricing, so the price for things like drink packages, excursions, and dining, can vary for each sailing. The only way to know for sure is to track your prices and book when you see a good deal. One nice thing with Royal Caribbean is that if you book something in your cruise planner and see it cheaper later, you just cancel and rebook right on the website; no hassle of calling in and waiting on hold.
Below, you’ll see how the prices have changed for onboard expenses for our next Royal Caribbean cruise, a 7-day Alaskan cruise in May 2022. For the things we’re monitoring for this sailing (drink package, dining, internet, and excursions), only the internet has better Black Friday pricing than we’ve seen before, and that’s only by $1 a day.
Want to know what’s a good deal? In an effort to help our readers, we’ve created a tool that lets people see the prices others are seeing for the Deluxe Beverage Package. You can see the best, worst, and average prices people are seeing. Have a cruise booked? Help out your fellow cruisers by submitting your Deluxe Beverage Package pricing.
Norwegian Cruise Line has not published any Black Friday deals onboard expenses or excursions at this time.
Virgin Voyages has not published any Black Friday deals onboard expenses or excursions at this time.
Black Friday Deals on Cruise Essentials
Amazon’s offering a lot of good deals on some items that may be useful for your next cruise. Here are some of the best deals we’re seeing.
If you like to read on your cruise, but don’t like to carry a bunch of books with you, a Kindle is your answer. Unlike a phone or tablet screen, the Kindle uses an e-ink display which means it looks great in sunshine and you can read while out on deck or the beach. The battery lasts for a long time (you’ll easily make it through a cruise without having to charge it), and it’s pretty durable. The basic Kindle will do the trick in most cases, but if you want a more durable version with waterproofing, check out the Kindle Paperwhite.
Sun Shirt (with UPF protection)
Did you know that a white t-shirt only provides the equivalent of an SPF protection of 7 and when it’s wet, only 3! That’s nothing. If you’re going to be spending at day at the beach or outside, and you have fair skin, an sun protection shirt can be a life saver. When clothing provides sun protection, it is UPF rater (rather then SPF which is for skin products). The technology has come a long way, and UPF shirts no longer feel like wet suits of vinyl. Some are just as soft as a regular t-shirt. Great for kids who forget to re-apply sunscreen or protecting your back’s hard to reach spots.
Waterproof Phone Pouch
These water proof phone pouches make it easy to bring your phone with you almost anywhere. I’ve personally used them in the ocean at Half Moon Cay, in the Atlantis Aquaventure Water Park, in the pool on the Carnival Pride and they’ve worked great. Even if you don’t plan on going in the water, they’ll protect your phone against sand from the beaches which can clog the ports. While there are tons of options for pouches, I prefer these bright ones, because if your phone gets away from you while you’re in water, it’s easier to find. They’re big enough to fit the large phones out there today (Pixel 6 Pro, Galaxy S21 Ultra, iPhone 13 Pro Max).
Tip: if you want to be sure it’s waterproof, but a paper towel in it, seal it and leave it in your sink submerged over night. That might give you some additional peace of mind.
Insulated Mug / Tumbler
While it’s easy to get drinks like lemonade, ice tea, coffee, and juices on board, the cups that you’ll find in the buffet are ridiculously small. Bring your own insulted tumbler and save yourself some trips. This is a knock-off version of the very popular Yeti cups. It works for hot things like tea and coffee, or cold things like juices and lemonade. I bring one with me every morning to the buffet and stock up on the juices that they stop serving around 10 am. That way I have some in my fridge in the room.
Note: for sanitary reasons, please do not fill this cup directly from the dispensers. Grab a clean cup in the buffet and use that to get the juice and pour it into your mug
USB Charger (instead of extension cord)
Most cruise cabins only have one or two power outlets available. With the number of devices we have now-a-days (your phone, Apple Watch, Kindle, fitbit), it can lead to a fight over the available outlets.
Most cruise lines do NOT allow surge protectors because of fire issues that may occur with cruise ship wiring. Some will allow extension cords that don’t have surge protectors, but there a lot of stories of confused gate agents not knowing the difference and confiscating them anyway.
A safer option is to bring a USB charger with multiple ports. This one specifically will let you charge 2 devices at once. What makes this different than some of the cheaper ones out there, is it has a high speed USB-C port on it. This port can be used to fast charge many devices like iPhones, Android Phones, Nintendo Switches, Tablets, Chromebooks, and Laptops.
In 2019, many cruise lines stopped using plastic straws on board in an effort to stop plastic waste from entering the ocean. Some lines have paper or candy alternatives and others have nothing. Since I’m addicted to soda and prefer a straw, I bought these for my last cruise.
What I love about these is that they’re just a few inches tall but can expand, so they can be used in anything from a highball glass to a large hurricane glass. They’re solidly made and the little carrying case makes it easy to slip it into your pocket between drinks.
CruiseSpotlight is an Amazon Associate. We may earn a commission when you click links to retailers and purchase goods.