14 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Cruise

14 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Cruise

Cruise vacations are not cheap! The smart and experienced cruiser has learned all the nuances of saving money on their cruise but if you are new to cruising you may not have learned how to make the most out of your cruising dollar. We are going to save you some time and money by sharing our 14 best tips for saving money on your next cruise!

  1. Choose the right time to book

Timing is crucial when it comes to saving money on your next cruise. Prices tend to fluctuate, so it’s important to keep an eye on different cruise lines and their promotions. Booking during the off-peak season or just before the ship departs can often lead to significant savings. Additionally, consider booking in advance for the best deals, as last-minute bookings are typically more expensive.

  1. Opt for a shorter cruise

While longer cruises may seem more enticing, opting for a shorter cruise can help you save money. Not only will your initial fare be lower, but you’ll also save on additional expenses like onboard activities and excursions. Shorter cruises can be just as enjoyable and allow you to experience multiple destinations in a shorter amount of time.

  1. Research different cruise lines and itineraries

Don’t limit yourself to one cruise line or itinerary. Each cruise line offers different amenities, onboard activities, and price points. Do your research and compare prices to find the best deal for you. Additionally, consider alternative itineraries that may be less popular but equally as enjoyable, as they often come at a lower price.

  1. Be flexible with your travel dates and destinations

If you have flexibility in your travel dates, you can take advantage of last-minute deals and flash sales. Many cruise lines offer discounts for specific sailings or during certain times of the year. By being open to different travel dates, you can potentially save a significant amount of money on your cruise.

Similarly, being flexible with your destination can help you find better deals. Popular destinations and ports of call often come with higher prices. Consider exploring lesser-known destinations or embark on repositioning cruises, which are usually cheaper because they involve ships moving from one region to another.

  1. Look for package deals and promotions

When booking your cruise, keep an eye out for package deals and promotions that can help you save money. Some cruise lines offer all-inclusive packages that include meals, drinks, and activities at a discounted rate. Others may have special offers, such as onboard credit or free upgrades. Take advantage of these deals to maximize your savings.

  1. Skip the shore excursions

Shore excursions can be a significant additional expense during your cruise. While they can be a great way to explore the destinations, they are often marked up by the cruise lines. Consider researching and booking your excursions independently to save money. Local tour operators or exploring the area on your own can offer more affordable alternatives. Look for reputable tour companies online or ask locals for recommendations. You may find that booking directly with a local operator not only saves you money, but also allows for a more personalized and authentic experience.

  1. Take advantage of onboard activities and amenities

Instead of spending money on expensive shore excursions, make the most of the onboard activities and amenities offered by the cruise line. Most cruise ships have a wide range of free activities, including swimming pools, fitness centers, sports courts, and entertainment shows. Take the time to explore these options and enjoy the onboard experiences without any additional cost.

  1. Be mindful of onboard expenses

While onboard, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and spend money on additional services and amenities. To save money, be mindful of your onboard expenses. Set a budget for extras such as spa treatments, specialty dining, and drinks. Consider purchasing drink packages in advance, as they can often be cheaper than buying individual drinks throughout the cruise. Also, avoid unneeded expenses like expensive souvenirs or unnecessary purchases at the onboard shops.

  1. Pack wisely and bring your essentials

Packing wisely can help you save money during your cruise. Be sure to pack essentials such as sunscreen, toiletries, and medications to avoid having to purchase them at higher prices onboard. Additionally, pack items like reusable water bottles and snacks to save on additional costs. Instead of buying bottled water or snacks from the ship’s convenience store, consider bringing your own. The prices for these items on the ship can be quite high, so being prepared and bringing your own can help you save some extra cash.

  1. Take advantage of cruise line promotions and discounts

One of the best ways to save money on your next cruise is to keep an eye out for promotions and discounts offered by the cruise line. Cruise lines often run special promotions, especially during off-peak seasons, where you can find discounted fares or added perks like onboard credits, free Wi-Fi, or complimentary specialty dining. Sign up for email newsletters or follow the cruise line’s social media accounts to stay updated on these promotions and be the first to know about any deals.

  1. Book early or last minute

Booking your cruise well in advance or last minute can offer significant savings. If you have a specific cruise and itinerary in mind, booking early can help you secure the best rates and cabin options. Cruise lines often offer early bird discounts or limited-time promotions for those who plan ahead. On the other hand, if you have a flexible schedule and are open to different cruise options, booking last minute can lead to significant savings. Cruise lines often discount unsold cabins closer to the departure date to fill up the ship. Keep an eye on last-minute deals and be ready to grab a bargain if you’re flexible with your travel plans.

  1. Consider repositioning cruises

Repositioning cruises are often an overlooked option for travelers looking to save money. These cruises occur when a ship needs to move to a different region, usually at the end of a season. They offer unique itineraries and can be significantly cheaper than traditional cruises. While repositioning cruises may not include as many ports of call, they often provide extra days at sea, allowing you to fully enjoy the ship’s amenities and onboard activities. Keep an eye out for repositioning cruises on the cruise line’s website or consult with a travel agent to find the best deals.

  1. Utilize loyalty programs and discounts

If you’re a frequent cruiser, make sure to sign up for the cruise line’s loyalty program. Loyalty programs often provide perks such as onboard credits, priority embarkation, and discounted fares for loyal customers. Additionally, check if you are eligible for any other discounts such as military discounts, senior discounts, or resident discounts. These discounts can significantly reduce the cost of your cruise and are worth exploring before booking.

  1. Avoid unnecessary fees

While booking your cruise, be aware of any hidden fees and taxes that may be added to the total cost. Some cruise lines may charge extra for items such as gratuities, specialty dining, or Wi-Fi. Take the time to read the terms and conditions and understand what is included in the base fare and what will incur additional fees. By avoiding unnecessary fees, you can prevent any surprises when it comes to your final bill.

By following these tips and hacks, you can save money on your next cruise without compromising on the overall experience. With a little extra planning and research, you can enjoy a memorable vacation at a fraction of the cost. Bon voyage!

Ready to book your next cruise? Visit Cruise Trip Planner to save even more money!

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