If you're looking to steal a deal on a cruise, this is the week for you!

The cruise industry never truly recovered after the Costa Concordia disaster off the Italian coast in January. That tragedy came right during what's called "Wave Week" -- the time of year when cruise lines typically sell out a huge percent of cabins for the coming season.

Of course, that never happened and now the industry has been fighting from behind ever since.

We are in the midst now of another made-up promotional period called National Cruise Vacation Week. Across the board, the cruise lines are offering special deals.

The way it works is you'll get a better deal based on passenger volume, not on the calendar. So that means cruises with low occupancy will go on discount, not cruises that sail from a particular location or at a particular time. 

VacationsToGo.com and CruiseCompete.com are just a few sites where you can shop for deals. And while you're at it, check today's national travel deals to find the day's best deals on flights, hotels and more from Travelzoo. (Check often--it's constantly being updated!)

But note this advice well: Even if you're an experienced cruise passenger, in addition to trying the online sites, I recommend you talk with a cruise specialist. You can find high-volume agents at Cruising.org.

For an inexperienced passenger, I say never book at a website. Go to a cruise-only agency or a cruise-only agent at a regular agency for your bookings.

The thing is, every ship and every itinerary has its own personality. If you've never cruised before, you've got to consult with a professional to get the most out of your vacation.

Because a ship that you're gonna hate being on isn't a bargain, even if it's free!

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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