How to Make the Most of Your Cruise Budget
If you’ve ever gone on a cruise, then you know that they’re not exactly cheap—and we’re not even talking about your spending money yet. Here are a few suggestions on how to maximise your cruise money and still make the most out of your vacation.
Tip #1: Do your research
Since a cruise is a rather significant outlay, see to it that you do your research before making any decisions. The internet is a vast resource so take advantage of it. Look for several deals and compare which one has the best price. But don’t forget to browse for cruise reviews to get an idea how a trip would be like. If you do your research, you’d know where to spend your money.
Tip #2: Get a beverage package
Want to rack up your bill while cruising? Drink a soda or buy liquor whenever you eat. If each can of soda costs $2 to $4 plus gratuity and you consume five in a day, you’d spend up to $140 on drinks for a week—and that’s just for soda. If you plan on drinking some alcohol (e.g. a martini), prepare to hand over $8 per drink plus 15 per cent gratuity.
If you want to ingest an acceptable and humane volume of liquids during your cruise and not break the bank, get a beverage package. For instance, you can get a soda card for $25 with a $50 value and enjoy up to 22 cans. You can also get discount packages for alcohol.
Tip #3: Bring your own drink
As long as it’s not alcohol, some cruise lines allow you to bring your own drink. That means you should drop by the grocery and buy a couple of cases on your way to the port. However, you should first make sure the cruise line allows it.
Tip #4: E-mail to keep in contact
Calling while on a cruise costs a lot of money. Depending on where you make the phone call, what you use and what corner of the world you’re calling, rates could range from $3 to $16 per minute. To save on costs, use e-mail to contact people on terra firma. You can use the ship’s internet cafés or Wi-Fi, but they can cost as much as 75 cents per minute. For the best rates, use local internet cafés during ports of call.
Tip #5: Try local excursions
You generally have two choices when it comes to excursions during your cruise: you can book the tours offered by your cruise line, or you can look for local "independent" tours during your ports of call. The difference: many indie tours are cheaper. Make sure you check before you commit to either.
Tip #6: Take advantage of spa discounts
It’s great to relax at the spa, especially during your cruise. However, the price tag is comparable to a high-end resort. If you’re determined to relax at the spa during your holiday, you can spend on a package or visit during days in ports to get a discount.
Tip #7: Approach a cruise travel agent
Don’t get a regular travel agent—look for one that specialises in cruises to get an even better deal and save money. A good cruise travel agent can get you a great promotion or package, perks, assistance and recommendations.
Tip #8: Travel close to home
If you want to experience cruising and still save on costs, then look for destinations that are closer to where you live. If you live in Australia, then cruise around New Zealand, Australian territories or Melanesia. If you live in the United States, then vacation around the Caribbean.