Cruises are a lot of fun. However, they can be quite expensive. We are here to help you save money on your next cruise vacation! Just follow these tips to save money on your next cruise below.
Cruise Booking Tips
Book your cruise through a Travel Agency.
More often than not, travel agencies or third parties (like Expedia or Priceline) will have perks, bonuses, or even lower prices than directly with the cruise line. Although, some cruise lines will have a place on their site where you can find a local agent.
Many travel agents make their money off commissions paid for by the cruise lines, but some agents charge a nominal service fee (around $15) for their time and effort.
The difference between cruise line sales representatives and travel agents is that cruise line sales representatives only know about their own brands due to being trained. Additionally, they have not sailed on the cruise ships that they are booking.
On the other hand, travel agents go on all kinds of cruise ships and experience the ships first-hand, giving better advice.
Cruise during off-peak times.
It may be a good idea to book your cruise during off-peak cruise times to get the best price. For example, you may want to travel in early fall during the time school is back in session, or between Thanksgiving and mid-December. It would be best to avoid Spring Break, and summer cruises.
Don’t book travel insurance with the Cruise Line.
Travel insurance is an important thing to get so that you won’t have to face a very expensive medical bill if you get sick or injured. However, the cruise lines travel insurance hardly covers anything and the costs are inflated.
When you book, be sure to ask that they do not include the insurance automatically. Book through a third-party travel insurance company instead.
Consider booking early or last minute.
It is best to book early to get the best prices, but you can also change your booking to take advantage of better deals. You can also use an incognito tab when booking online to erase your cookies, that way they do not know to raise prices.
Moreover, if you do not have a preference regarding the time, place, and location of your trip, you may find a great deal for a cruise last minute.
Buy Discounted Carnival gift cards from Allstate or AARP Rewards.
If you have decided that you would like to travel with Carnival, you can buy discounted gift cards from Allstate or AARP Rewards. You can use the discounted gift cards to pay for exciting shore excursions, onboard account, gratuities, in-cabin gifts, internet, and more!
You can add the funds to your account at Guest Services, but make sure to do this at the start of your trip. Otherwise, the funds will be delayed. You can also add the cards to your account at the cruise terminal or ship kiosk.
Consider booking excursions with local agencies.
Booking excursions through the cruise can be pricey, so if you would like to save money having fun off the ship, research reputable local excursions, compare prices, and decide what you’ll have time for.
If you take an off-shore venture, you run the risk of not making it back in time to board the ship when time comes. Be sure to note the time the venture comes back, or else you may be left behind and the savings you made will not be as worth it.
Another tip is that Costco Travel often offers excursions you can go on that prepay your gratuities when you buy your boarding pass.
Cruise Room Tips
Take advantage of room service.
There are many cruise lines that offer complimentary room service to their guests. Check your cruise line’s policy to ensure they in fact do this, before ordering food to be delivered to your room. Soda is not included in the room service and is an additional charge.
Bring your own wine or champagne from home.
Most cruise ships do not allow passengers to bring beer and liquor on board, but they do allow one wine or champagne bottle per person. Don’t forget that they may charge a corkage fee of $10-$25 for drinking the wine in the dining room or restaurants, so bring your own corkscrew.
If you think that you may drink more than possible for you to bring, consider the drink packages the cruise offers.
Use the spa for free.
In the spa, there are showers, saunas, and steam rooms that you can use for free, which involves clean towels and bigger shower stalls. If you go to the spa, you won’t have to fight with those in your cabin for who gets to use the bathroom first.
Plan out where your room is.
Before you book your cabin, view the deck plans to make sure you are in a good location. It is a good idea to avoid being too near the elevators as it can get pretty noisy. Additionally, if you are under the galley, club, or restaurant, it will be hard to sleep at night.
Cabin Organization Tips
Bring heavy duty magnets.
The cabin walls in most cabins are made of metal, meaning they are magnetic. Bring some heavy duty magnets to help hang up any items you have to organize the room. A great idea is to also bring a shower curtain along and hang it up with magnets to create an extra changing area.
Use the TV to keep your devices charged.
Many rooms have a limited amount of electrical outlets, but there are TV’s that have outlets in the back, that can help you charge a device.
Or bring a universal power adapter and power strip.
Another option to help you if you have many devices, is to bring a universal travel adapter since most cruise ships have a single European power outlet, and a single North American outlet.
You can also bring a power strip if your cruise ship allows it to keep all your devices charged. This will maximize the amount of outlets you have! Some cruise ships do not allow power strips due to fire hazards (like Disney), so be sure to check with your cruise line.
Cruise Food & Dining Tips
Visit a specialty restaurant on the first night.
Most passengers will want to visit the main dining room on the first night, but if you want to experience a less crowded area and save money, head to the ship’s specialty restaurants. They may be giving out special discounts, so check the “Day 1 itinerary” after embarking.
Skip the buffet on the first day.
As soon as passengers get on board, they head to the buffet line while they’re waiting for their cabin to open up. It is no wonder that it can get chaotic. The cruise offers alternative places to head to, such as the main dining room or a mini-buffet in the solarium or atrium area.
Order one (or more) entrees.
When at dinner in the main dining room, you are not limited to just one appetizer, entree, and dessert. You can order as many as you would like in each category. There is also the option of ordering an appetizer-sized entree as a starter or get a few appetizers as your main meal. This way you can try a variety of foods.
Score free dessert and snacks.
Some specialty coffee shops on board cost additional, but some desserts, pastries, sandwiches, and other foods are free – just ask!
Get free candy, too!
Sometimes you may get a craving for some sweets. Don’t pay for that overpriced bag of candy. Just head to the ice cream stand and ask for a cup of candy toppings for free!
Get bottles water delivered to your room.
Making sure you are hydrated, especially during hot summer days is important. Some cruise lines will deliver water to your cabin at a small cost. Some may even allow you to bring your own cases of water.
If you would like to bring something other than water, you can place your favorite drinks in plastic bags and put them in your suitcase.
Bring your own reusable water bottle.
Another good idea is to bring a reusable water bottle and just fill up at the drink stations for free. However, they may not have your favorite drinks, as they may change from time to time.
Cruise Wi-Fi Tips
Buy Wi-Fi packages before you embark.
If you buy a Wi-Fi package before you embark, you can typically get a 10% discount. You can find this on your online account to view the different packages.
Score free Wi-Fi (but you’ll have to be fast).
There is a rumor that some ships will only deduct usage from your account if they detect usage of more than 30 seconds. This may not be enough time to do much, but it is still an option.
Access Wi-Fi during off-peak hours.
Wi-Fi can be extremely slow on cruise ships, so be sure to use it during a popular show time, peak meal times, late at night, or early in the morning to get the fastest speed. Check with the desk manager for the best times to log-on, as peak times vary by ship.
Ditch the walkie-talkies.
Walkie-Talkies have been previously popular on cruise ships to communicate with your cruise mates, but more recently cruises have an app that allows you to communicate with others. It does cost extra, but its less than $10 for a week, compared to walkie-talkies you will never use again.
Stay updated with the Shipboard App.
The cruise lines app will help keep you updated on everything going on, and its free when you use their Wi-Fi network. It is helpful to check your on board account balance, the day-to-day activities, accessing the ship’s map and more.
Motion Sickness Tips
Find the best ship location to avoid motion sickness.
If you know you are prone to motion sickness, book a room towards the center of the ship in a lower stateroom. This is where the motion is not as harsh. Also, ice-cold air will help counteract motion sickness.
Make note of these motion sickness remedies.
A good remedy for motion sickness is to eat green apples (or any apple, really) and saltine crackers to help with nausea. You may also be able to get free seasickness medicine from the purser’s desk.
Take a dip in the pool.
The pool water will feel refreshing and help you cool off. It will also allow you to move with the pool water rather than with the ship.
Miscellaneous Cruise Tips
Go to Port Lectures for helpful info.
The Port Lecture is helpful in seeing the many tours they have to offer, as well as picking up money-saving coupons. There may also be helpful maps and mini-guides for every port. These maps aren’t often given out to every passenger so be sure to attend the port lecture for it. It offers information like sample taxi fares, ATM locations, and Wi-Fi hot spots.
Turn leftover on board credit into cash.
If you don’t want to lose your on board credit be sure to use it before the cruise is over.
Or you could go to a slot machine and insert your sign & sail card, and load whatever is left in on board credit to the slot machine. The funds will then be loaded as gambling credits that you can simply cash out with the casino purser. Now your on board credit is cash!
Be sure to do this while in international waters, because the casino will close as the ship nears the port, losing the ability to cash out your credit.
Cruise ships are costly, yet so fun. Here are ways to maximize your savings and enjoy a great cruise.
If you would like to find more posts like this, check out our ways to save money.