Editor’s note: This content is brought to you by the Travel Leaders / Fly Away Travel agency.

As the weather grows cooler in much of the country, great deals on cruises start heating up. So if you’re a veteran cruise passenger thinking about that next trip, or a traveler who has always wanted to go on one, now is the time to start planning a voyage for 2019.

The period from January through March has traditionally been known as “wave season,” the time of year when cruise lines roll out their biggest deals and most enticing perks in hopes of filling up staterooms for the coming season. But some cruise lines have begun “making waves” as early as December in hopes of enticing travelers to sign on even earlier.

Of course, the first step is to decide where you want to go and what type of cruise you’d like to take. Large, oceangoing vessels that travel to the Caribbean and Alaska are like floating cities, with lots of choices for dining, activities and entertainment. They’re great for families with children.

River cruises, like the ones that ply Europe’s waterways, are smaller and provide a more intimate experience. They can travel close to the center of cities and towns. Onboard activities emphasize the cuisine, history and culture of the places you’ll be visiting.

But no matter where you’d like to go, whether it’s the sunny Caribbean or breathtaking Alaska — or even Europe or South America — you’re bound to find a cruise line with wave season offers.

Some of the industry’s most-respected brands will take part, including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, AmaWaterways, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Silversea, Seabourn and Cunard.

Wave season deals come in various forms, and you will likely need help to wade through all the options.

A Travel Leaders travel advisor who specializes in cruises has developed working relationships with cruise lines, has years of experience, knows the offers inside and out, and is dedicated to ensuring that you book a trip that fits your needs, while giving you the best value.

Those deals can include options like the kids sailing for free, a stateroom upgrade or discount, special offers for solo travelers, discounts for third and fourth guests – whether they are friends or family – credits to spend onboard, complimentary Wi-Fi, and deals on dining and beverage packages.

Some cruise lines even offer free or reduced airfare from select gateways for passengers who book certain stateroom categories.

Sometimes you can select more than one from among multiple perks, like the beverage package, prepaid gratuities, or unlimited Wi-Fi and onboard credit, giving you more flexibility to design a deal that meets your needs.

There are other factors that can help you maximize your savings while looking for a wave season deal.

Through the Distinctive Voyages program, available exclusively by booking with a travel agent at Travel Leaders Network, you will receive a private welcome reception, an intimate guide-led excursion ashore and a dedicated host onboard. The added amenities, available at no extra cost, are a nice way to upgrade your vacation experience.

For price savings, be flexible on travel dates. It may be cheaper to sail on one date versus another. Also, think about the cost of airfare. While it’s not always feasible depending on your destination, you may be able to save even more by leaving from a port close to home.

For help planning your next cruise, contact Travel Leaders/Fly Away Travel at 541-672-5701.

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