SmartMoney had a wise and instructive piece recently entitled 6 Costly Mistakes Cruise Goers Make.
These mistakes include snagging a great cruise bargain and then getting stuck with a big bill for the plane tickets to get to the port. Buy the air fares first.
I would add that some of the best bargains on cruise ships are for inside cabins during the shoulder seasons. So think late September through the middle of December and look for the lowest-priced cabins.
The spring sales are pretty much over, but there are a few fall bargains showing up already on TravelZoo.
These include a seven-day cruise on the Norwegian Dream leaving Oct. 26 out of Boston for Bermuda at $727 per person (when you add in all the taxes and fees) for an inside cabin. If you’re in the Northeast, that means you don’t have to pay air fare at all.