Getting the best splash for your spend

People can be a bit 'iffy' about cruises, but when looking for a cost-effective holiday they are hard to go past.

Before baulking at the up-front cost - granted, they aren't cheap - it's helpful to remember that 90 per cent of your holiday is covered before you leave.

Flight Centre cruiseabout brand leader Jessica Allen said people were quickly coming round to the idea of a cruise holiday, but there were a few things holidaymakers should be aware of.

She said the key was knowing where crucial savings could be made.

“There is so much variety available in the cruising market these days with cruise lines travelling to an

increasing number of destinations and a huge variety of ships available to choose from.

“Remember that when you book an all-inclusive cruise, 90 per cent of your holiday has been paid for before you take off. This is a huge benefit to those travelling on a budget.”

Here are some top tips to get the most out of a cruise:

1. Get in quick

Just the same as booking flights or accommodation, the best deals come to those who are organised. Book ahead as early as possible and reap the rewards.

Cruise lines quite often put together early bird sales and these are by far the best deals to take advantage of.

2. Wrap it in a package

Cruising is not always just a matter of hopping on a boat when it's time to leave. More often than not, at least one flight is involved to get yourself to the port on time. Booking the whole lot in one package can incur big savings as wholesale flights are generally made available for cruise packages.

3. Do you need the most palatial suite? Really?

A private balcony with a direct view onto the sea is always nice, but come on, you're on holiday. How much time are you really planning on spending in your room?

Internal cabins are much cheaper, particularly for families, but if you really had your heart set on a room with a red chaise and chandelier, there are ways to be crafty. Keep an

eye out for special offers that include a room upgrades at a fraction of the price that it would have been otherwise. But a word to the wise: If there is a specific cruise you want to travel on, don't wait for a last minute sale that does not guarantee your preferred ship.

4. Being easy on dates

Not that kind of easy, (although it depends on the cruise you're booking).

But, if you are flexible with the dates on which you can travel, some last minute sales are in fact worth it. If you can travel at short notice then it can pay off to hold out for a cabin that the cruise company just wants filled.

5. Go all-inclusive

All-inclusive cruises can include everything from airfares and transfers to meals, beverages, entertainment and gratuities. This means 90 per cent of your holiday is paid in the up-front cost, at the time of booking, allowing for fantastic budget control.

Extra bonuses are also a great way to increase the value of your trip without your pocket becoming lighter.

Whether these are in the form of onboard credits, room upgrades or airport and hotel transfers, these are often available and worth taking advantage of.