Cruises can be one of the most economical ways to travel but they also can be quite expensive. No matter what your budget is, you want to get the most for your money. Some of the best advice is to be aware of all the extras charged to your room and stay within your budget. Keep in mind all-inclusive does not usually include alcoholic beverages, or even soda. While you might be tempted to smuggle in costly items like bottles of wine, there are much easier ways to make your money go further.
1. Off-Season: As with all vacations traveling during off-seasons or shoulder periods can save sometimes thousands of dollars. Do some research to find out when those times are for the destinations you want to visit and then choose your dates wisely. If you really can’t travel off-season, be prepared to pay a premium price. Keep your eyes open for deals and purchase immediately on seeing something outside the typical price range.
2. Laundry: Large ships offer full-service laundry and dry cleaning to take care of passengers needs but it’s quite expensive. But, many ships also have a coin laundry on board. Grab your favorite book, some laundry detergent from home, and some coins. Spend an hour or two catching up on your reading out of the sun while you wash your clothes.
3. Excursions: The highlight of port stops is exploring the location. You’ll need to do some research to find out what activities you would enjoy. Instead of going with the cruise sponsored shore excursions, book something yourself. It’s really not that complicated and you are more than capable of handling it on your own. By cutting out the middle man (the cruise line) you’ll generally also save a good deal of money as well.
4. Coffee: Specialty coffee drinks at sea are, just like on land, an expensive habit. If you still want to treat yourself some cruises offer a “coffee card” for a reduced, set price to bring down the cost. You can also find this discount set-up available for soft drinks on-board.
5. Upgrades: As soon as you check in and get your keycard, ask to be upgraded. If there’s space onboard, staff are generally very happy to move you to a bigger and better room for no additional charge.
6. Booking Onboard: If you’ve had an amazing time on your cruise and know that you’d like to take another one in the future, visit the sales office. You can typically book another cruise at a big discount with the option to cancel in a set number of days without losing any money. Be sure to sign up for the lines cruise loyalty program so that you have access to special sales and member discounts in the future.
Are you a cruise expert? How have you saved while traveling on a cruise line?