Do you want to book a cruise but are being put off by the cost? Cruises are a great way to see the world and experience new things in an easy, structured way. But with so much to do onshore and off, you can easily see the dollar signs grow. Don’t worry! Read on to lean how to save money on a cruise.
1. Understand What’s Included in your Package
When you book a cruise package, you must make sure you know exactly what it includes. Many first-timer cruisers think they are getting meals and drinks included when they aren’t.
When you’re shopping around for quotes, knowing what’s included in a package is useful. You can compare identical packages to make sure the deal you’re getting is actually a good deal.
2. Be Open About Your Options
As with other travel methods, you’re more likely to make savings if you’re more open-minded. If you keep an open mind about where you travel, you could find some hidden destinations. These often give the full cruise experience at a fraction of the cost.
It’s worth looking at other cruisers’ blogs and cruise line websites. This will let you see which destinations are lower in price. You can still decide what type of cruise you want but try not to get hooked on one set location though to find better deals.
3. Consider the Drinks Package
If you plan to drink cocktails by the pool or wine over dinner each night, then consider the drinks package. If you aren’t a huge drinker though, it’s more cost-effective to skip this package.
Cruise line restaurants will have discounts and specials like restaurants on dry land. It’s possible that you could get a great deal on drinks while dining out anyway. Or you could reserve drinking for onshore trips to local bars.
4. Look at Restaurant Packages
Again, depending on your preferences a package could save you money or it might not. But you shouldn’t rule it out without consideration.
With some cruise lines, booking your restaurant package in advance can save you a lot of money. And if all else fails, it’ll keep you from overspending while onboard if you want to treat yourself.
5. Book Onboard Entertainment in Advance
By booking your onboard experiences and entertainment in advance you’ll get access to more options. And it is usually will save you money.
You should also try booking these things in hours that are out of demand. If you book during times when demand is lower, the cost can work out a lot lower.
6. Explore Ports On Your Own
Cruise lines will offer excursion packages that allow you to explore the ports you call at. These are usually pretty pricey, especially as you can explore the ports yourself.
You can save a lot of money by exploring on your own. You are also more likely to get a more authentic, ‘local’ experience. You can ask the locals where they recommend, or what they do for fun. Make sure you’re aware of what time you need to be back on the ship so you don’t miss it.
7. Keep an Eye on Fares
Make sure you’re keeping an eye on fares for a while to ensure you get the best deal. Even if you’re a new or experienced cruiser, it’s always best to watch the prices.
Spend a month or more checking different cruise liners and dates. Get a feel for the going fare rates, and how they are either rising or falling. By the time you come to book, you’ll have an idea of what a good deal looks like.
8. Book Early or Last Minute
After you get a feel for the fares, you can then start working out when is best to book. The best deals are more likely to be well in advance or last minute.
By booking months in advance, you get access to lower prices. You’ll also be more likely to get places on activities and more choice of cabins.
If you are able to wait, booking a week or two before you’re set to leave can work in your favor too. If you don’t mind what sort of cabin you get, you can cash in on some huge discounts. Cruise lines will drop prices to fill those spaces.
9. Reduce Your Flight Time
It’s easy to get distracted by a great bargain on your cruise. You could be forgetting that you need to factor in the cost of getting to the port too.
If you’re living on the east coast but find a bargain cruise that leaves from California, those savings are gone in an instant. The good news is that more and more cruise companies are picking cities around US coastlines.
This means that you’re more likely than ever to get a good deal on a cruise leaving from a port close to where you live. By checking these things, you could save a lot on airfare.
Cruise lines charge a fortune for WiFi access. This can mount up if you’re on your phone or laptop a lot when in the middle of the sea.
Use this time to disconnect from the online world. If you need to get online, you can always use an internet cafe in the next port. You’ll be amazed at how much more you’ll enjoy it when you stop looking at it through your camera lens.
11. Look For All the Discounts
Cruises are weird in that they work as a small economy. You’ll have loads of options for where to eat and things to keep you busy. Most of these things will have demand peaks.
Like on land, this means that they will run reduced prices during off-peak hours. Make sure you track down these discounts on board each time you’re looking to plan your day.
Be Savvy and Learn How to Save Money on a Cruise Today
So there you have it! 11 tips on how to save money on a cruise today. Always check for discounts onboard and onshore. It doesn’t hurt to shop around. But know the best deals are often had by booking way in advance or last minute.
Exploring ports yourself will save you a lot of money. If you do want to book experiences though, try to book this in advance before you go for better prices.
At Cruisehive, we are here to provide you with everything you need to book your dream cruise. Be sure to check out our top ten cruise price drops to find your perfect cruise, at the perfect price.