How to get a good deal on a cruise

When it comes to going on a cruise, a lot of the pleasure is derived from knowing you got a good deal. Moneywise TV shows you how to hit the high seas on a budget.

There is a competitive culture among cruise passengers of comparing deals. And there's nothing worse than hearing somebody else got the same cruise as you for less.

Follow these tips to make sure you don't pay over the odds for your experience.

Firstly, it's crucial to know exactly what you're looking for. If you're a cruise novice talk to friends who have been before and ask for advice.

Think about where you want to go, the kind of atmosphere you'll prefer – are you happy sharing a ship with families for example – and the type of cabin you will feel comfortable in.

Cabins range from inside cabins, which have no windows, to a suite. The level and location of your cabin make a difference too.

It's essential to do as much research as you can in advance, the internet is great for information, but the best deals are negotiated over the phone.

Once you've worked out dates, places and the cabin type you want, ring around a number of cruise companies and ask them for their best price.

Don't always go for the lowest price. Often cruise companies will offer you added extras or onboard credit to make their package more attractive.

Onboard credit is usually given in dollars and can be used in the bars or restaurants on the ship, or to buy anything else not included in the cover price.

Cruise schedules are released well over a year in advance. So if you're particular about what you want it's best to book early.

If you're more flexible, amazing deals can be found at the last minute, but you might be disappointed by what's on offer.

Don't accept the cost of a package at face value. If you're looking for a cruise and flight combined, ask for the price of the cruise alone then see if you can find a flight yourself for less.

Once you've been on one cruise, chances are you'll want to go again. Be sure to sign up to as many cruise company alerts as you can so you're first to hear about any offers.