When you have finally decided that you will be taking a cruise vacation and may have been watching the cruise channels on Sky TV or taking more notice of advertisements and stories about cruises in your favourite magazine, you are probably thinking to yourself, “How do I go about getting the best cruise deal available?”

In an ideal world I would probably describe the idle bargain cruise as one which ticks these boxes.

1. Visit the destinations and places you want to see
2. Has all the luxury facilities on board that you expect
3. The cruise is good value for money and a reasonable price.
4. The voyage takes place at the time of year and season of choice.

You might think that this is surely unobtainable especially if you are working to a budget and are really looking for a discounted cruise package. Not so however, with the right kind or research and preparation it possible to arrange a fantastic European cruise that meets mostly all the above criteria. Of course you may need to compromise a bit, but this should be limited if you do things right.

Occasionally you may well get lucky and with exactly the right cruise for you, what you might describe as a perfect cruise, straight away from a travel or tour operator, this isn’t all that likely but it worth having an initial look just in case.

Waiting until the last minute before booking anything is a way to get a discounted cruise, since the cruise line will be trying to fill all the available passenger space. You will usually be able to get a discount here, but make sure you check what’s included in the price, some meals and entertainment may be extra, you need to watch out for hidden costs since we are looking for bargains not nasty surprises.

If you can compromise a bit on the season, then this can make a big difference to the costs, sometimes its difficult especially if you are looking for a family European cruise, taking the kids out of school outside of term-time is usually frowned upon but if you can make arrangement with their schools this can be a great way to get a cheap cruise holiday.

Other ways to get a better package deal are to perhaps forgo some ship board amenities that you think you might not use much or even at all, this can save some money, also perhaps avoid some shore excursions if possible, perhaps even arrange your own this can turn a discounted cruise into an even cheaper bargain.