The traditional way to book and pay for a cruise involves paying a small deposit at the time of booking and then paying off the balance around 12 weeks before you sail.
However, many people struggle to budget for the final balance payment, which can lead to them having to cancel and lose their deposit if they’re unable to meet the payment deadline.
Thankfully, there are ways to pay off your cruise with manageable monthly payments. Read on to find out how to do it.
How To Pay For A Cruise Monthly
There are several ways to pay for a cruise in monthly instalments.
Some cruise lines offer monthly payments as an option when you book. Alternatively, you could book your cruise with a travel agent with no deposit and interest-free monthly payments. Another option would be to put the cruise balance on a credit card and pay it off monthly.
Option One: Use A Travel Agent
The best way to book a cruise and pay monthly is to use a travel agent. Many specialist cruise travel agents will allow you to pay for a cruise monthly instead of all in one go.
When you take the monthly payment option, you’ll often have no deposit to pay, and there should also be no interest charged on your balance.
Here’s how it works:
- Book your cruise (with or without a deposit, depending on the offer)
- Set up a direct debit to the travel agent for regular monthly instalments
- Your cruise is all paid off before you set sail
As an added bonus, you may also have nothing to pay for a set period of time. For example, if you book your cruise in December, your first monthly payment may not be due until February, which will help with budgeting over Christmas.
Travel agents can also help you get special deals if you want a cheap cruise.
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Option Two: Book With The Cruise Line
Pay monthly cruises are sometimes available when you book directly with your cruise line. Note that not every cruise line offers monthly payments as an option. If yours doesn’t, you could still pay monthly if you use a travel agent.
When booking a pay monthly cruise directly with a cruise line, you’ll still need to pay your deposit as normal, and then spread the remaining balance over regular monthly payments.
If you book extras such as flights, transfers and optional extras, these may not be included in the instalment scheme.
Here’s where you’ll find more information on the pay monthly options from each of the cruise lines that offer this service:
- Carnival Cruises – Carnival EasyPay
- Cunard – Call the cruise line to set up monthly payments
- NCL Cruises – Uplift (in the US)
- P&O Cruises – Pay Monthly scheme
- Princess Cruises – EZpay (in the US) and Princess Pay Monthly (in the UK)
- Royal Caribbean – Uplift (in the US)
- Virgin Voyages – Uplift (in the US)
Most of the time, the instalments are interest-free. However, if you choose to pay via Uplift, you will be charged interest on your payments. Cruise payment plans vary so check with your cruise line.
Some cruise lines will also let you set your own payment schedule. You pay the initial deposit, and then you have a deadline where you pay off the rest of your balance.
This leaves it up to you as the best way to pay for a cruise – you can pay it all off in one go, pay regular monthly instalments, or pay just when you can – varying the payments.
Option Three: Use A Credit Card
Whether you book with a travel agent or directly with the cruise line, you have the option to pay with a credit card. If you put the balance of your cruise on an interest-free credit card, you can pay it off monthly at no extra cost.
With a credit card, you could even continue to pay for your cruise after the departure date. Of course, it’s generally a good idea to pay for your cruise before you sail, but if you’re not able to, then a credit card would be the way to spread your payments over a longer period of time.
Credit cards with 0% interest on purchases each have their own terms, and there will be different lengths to the interest-free period. If you want to avoid paying any extra, it’s vital that you set up your payments to end before your interest-free period ends.
If you use a specialist credit card such as the Carnival Mastercard to pay for your cruise, you could accumulate points that you can exchange for all kinds of freebies on board, or even a free cruise!
I would always recommend using a good travel agent to book your cruise. As well as securing you the best price and taking care of everything for you, a travel agent can also offer you the option to pay for your cruise in interest-free monthly instalments, making it much easier to budget for and pay for your cruise.
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Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.