By Ellen Horan Chorba

Free Cruise? Sounds like a telemarketing scams, right? Well, guess what? You really can have YOUR cruise fare covered and pay only taxes and government fees for a relaxing vacation!

So, “what’s the catch?” Fair question!! You earn the free cruise fare by assuming the role of “Group Leader.” The Group Leader is responsible for helping to promote the group sailing to friends, family, fellow organization members, etc. All the cumbersome tasks, such as communicating booking details to members of the group, processing payments and organizing documentation, are handled by your cruise specialist.

Most cruise lines require booking a minimum of eight double occupancy cabins to qualify as a group. Groups can be eligible for amenities, such as complimentary wine or champagne in each cabin, private cocktail parties, or on-board credits.

Although group cruises can be booked online or directly with the cruise line, I highly recommend working with a local cruise specialist, someone who is more than “just a phone call away.” A local cruise specialist can help promote your prospective sailing by providing marketing materials specific to your cruise.

More importantly, a local cruise specialist is available to meet with individual cruisers and/or the entire group to answer specific questions or provide general information. Cruise specialists receive commission directly from the cruise line, and most do not charge additional fees for their local expertise and guidance.

“Okay, but how do I get my free cruise fare?” Another good question!

The cruise line will provide the group leader with a credit equal to the cruise fare in the category with the most bookings within your group. Let’s assume your group books at total of four balcony staterooms, three oceanview staterooms and one interior stateroom.

As group leader, you will receive credit for one berth in balcony stateroom and be required to pay only the taxes and fees for your sailing. Additional charges, such as onboard gratuities and/or optional travel protection, remain the responsibility of the group leader.

And there you have it, you can “cruise free.”

For more information or to begin organizing a group for YOUR dream cruise, please contact a local cruise specialist. There are several right here in Rockland County.

The author is owner of Kokomo Cruises, Stony Point, NY  (Learn more at

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