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Finding the best cruise match means being realistic about your travel budget. For most people planning a cruise vacation, price matters. The basic cost of a cruise is determined by destination, timing, length of a cruise, statement category and which cruise line you choose. Factor in other cruise travel costs including: port charges and government fees, travel to and from the cruise port, pre-night and post-night cruise hotel accommodations and additional (a la carte) onboard charges. (See the Hidden Costs of Cruising.)
Bottom-line: Save travel dollars by basing your cruise search primarily on best cruise pricing by traveling off peak season. Look for cruises with extra perks like free air travel or pre-paid cruise gratuities. Or if the travel budget is really tight, choose a short cruise in an inside cabin departing from a port you can drive to. (See Finding the Best Cruise Prices.)