A cruise can give a traveler the opportunity to see different cities and ports of call, and often for a cheaper price than separate airfare and lodging would cost. But whether you’re in the booking stages or you’re about to embark on your cruise, you’ll want to be careful that you don’t turn a budget vacation into a lavish expenditure. You can still have a terrific time and do what you want to do, but without breaking the bank. If you’re getting ready to go on a cruise, the following tips can help you save:
Prior to booking
Basic staterooms will usually cost much less than larger suites and rooms with their own balconies, so carefully consider this before deciding to upgrade. If cost is a primary concern, always stick to the cheapest lodging option available. You’ll also want to question just how often you’ll be in your stateroom anyway. More often than not, you’ll be exploring ports of call and other parts of the ship, and you’ll probably only go back to your cabin when it’s time to sleep. As such, booking an upgraded room won’t only cost you a lot more, but it might end up just going to waste.
Many cruisers just opt for shore excursions as a way to simplify their travel plans, but do some research before deciding which excursions to book. Shore excursions can be very expensive, and you may have been able to do the same thing on your own for a fraction of the cost, or for no extra cost at all. Plan ahead and find out what you want to do—you may be able to walk there for free or take a short and inexpensive cab ride. When it’s easy to just go off on your own, you may want to consider just skipping shore excursions for those ports. If you’re traveling with a large family, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars.
Skip the drinks
Alcoholic drinks and sugary sodas will usually cost extra money on a cruise ship, and unless you opted for a special beverage package (which can be expensive), you’ll pay a lot for those drinks. Stick to water or find out ahead of time what the ship’s policy is. Some have lenient regulations and will allow passengers to bring small amounts of juices, alcohol, and sodas on board, and doing so can save you a lot of money. If your cruise ship doesn’t allow this, wait until you’re docked and visit a local bar, which will likely cost you a lot less than drinking onboard.
Take advantage of the free food
It may be tempting to try out local cuisine when you’re docked, but since most cruises are all-inclusive and offer free food round-the-clock, you may want to take advantage of this if you’re looking to save money. Always eat breakfast before you leave the ship in the morning, so that you can opt for a lighter lunch later on in the day while you’re in port, and wait until you board the ship in the evening to have dinner. Eating most of your meals on board can save you a significant amount of money overall, especially for those longer trips.