By now, you all must know how much I enjoy cruising. With so many destinations to experience at an affordable price, who wouldn’t love it? While finding your next cruise deal will save you some cash, there are other small and subtle ways to save money during your next sailing. Because of this, I’ve partnered with my awesome friends at Get Away Today to give you a guide on the best ways to save money on a cruise. So, sit back, relax and get ready to save some dough!
1. Book Activities & Appointments on Port Days
Onboard activities and spa appointments are relaxing and fun, however, it’s no surprise that they can start to add up quickly. If you really want to do the spa, I always recommend making those appointments on port days. While other cruise goers are stepping off the ship, you can easily save up to 30% on onboard spa appointments and activities. The best part? You can make your appointment in the morning, so you’ll still have plenty of time to enjoy the destination before you depart.
2. Save on Shore Excursions
Speaking of port days, did you know that booking your shore excursions directly with your cruise line can be costly? By booking your shore excursion through a third-party, you can save almost double what you would’ve spent with your cruise line. If you’re scared that the ship might leave you if you’re running late with a third-party excursion company, be sure to call them beforehand to see if they offer a guarantee that you’ll be back in time.
3. Avoid ATM Fees
Even on land, ATM fees can be a pain. However, the ATM machines on a cruise will charge fees anywhere from $5 – $8 per transaction, which doesn’t include what your bank will charge you either. Because of this, do your best to remember to bring extra cash with you on your sailing.
If you do end up forgetting, here’s a clever trick – go to the casino and sit down at a slot machine. When you insert your cabin card, it will ask you how much cash you’d like to withdraw. Once the money has been loaded into the machine, hit the “cash out” button and take your ticket straight to the cashier. Um, can you say FEE-FREE MONEY for your next cruise?? It’s a win-win!
4. Movies on Demand
With so much to do both onboard and at the ports, watching a movie shouldn’t be at the top of your priority list on a cruise. But, if you’re looking for a relaxing night-in, try to avoid watching new movies on demand. The new releases can cost you about $10, which is a silly charge for something you can RedBox as soon as you get home. Instead, try opting for one of the movies or TV shows available to you for free through in-room programming.
5. Purchase Future Cruise Certificates
While onboard, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase a future cruise certificate at a discounted rate. If you’re fairly certain you’d like to cruise again, you’d be smart to take advantage of it. These future cruise certificates can save you up to $100 on your next cruise, which is the equivalent of FREE money if you want to plan another cruise soon.
6. Don’t Overbuy Soda & Water
Don’t overbuy when it comes to the pre-purchased bottled water and soda. A lot of it ends up being left in cabins at the end of the cruise, all because people over-estimate what they will actually use. Instead, start small and re-order if needed. Then you can stay hydrated at a low-low price!
7. Cell Phone Charges
I know how tempting it might be to upload your insta-worthy photos while onboard, but, I urge you to fight the temptation. Most cruisers don’t realize that at $15/mb, logging on to any social media site and uploading even one photo can get really EXPENSIVE. Instead, try to take it all in and enjoy being away from the outside world for just a moment.
However, if you absolutely need to use the Internet while on your cruise, I would recommend turning off your data roaming. Instead take advantage of the Internet package provided by the cruise line. Still a bit pricey, but LESS. Pro Tip: Ask the Crew if they have any recommendations for cheap and save Internet cafes in port.
8. Avoid Casinos
If you can, avoid casinos, art auctions and product demos at all costs. Each of these come at premium prices that will cost you a pretty penny in the long run. As an alternative, read the book you’ve been putting off for a while, make a new friend, play a board game or even take a nap. All of them are free, fun and relaxing!
9. Skip the Gym Package
Do you know how gyms ashore make their money? Selling memberships to people who never use them. Do you know how cruise ships make their money? Doing the exact same thing. If everyone who pays for a gym package uses it, the gym would have a line around the ship! We have good intentions, but unless you’re a dedicated gym rat, just walk (or run) around the decks for FREE and enjoy the lovely ocean view. If it’s chilly out, do a stair challenge up and down the ship. That’ll get you sweating!
If you forgot to get a mani/pedi before your cruise, don’t fret. However, just make sure that you don’t do one onboard. If you need a mani/pedi for formal night, do it ashore for a better price. Or better yet, skip ONE formal night and save 50% all the primping and expense. Spend the time making some new friends!
11. Take Advantage of Drink Cards – maybe
If you’re planning on drinking soda, fancy coffee drinks or alcoholic drinks while on your cruise, make sure to take advantage of the drink packages provided by your cruise line. Not only will it save you a lot of money in the long run, but you can typically use the card for future sailings if you have any unused credit.
One caveat – do the math first before you automatically sign up for them. If you only drink a couple of sodas per day, that drink package isn’t going to break even. Drink the free (and healthy) water instead and enjoy an extra dessert!
12. Don’t Buy into Pull Tabs or Bingo Cards
Last, but certainly not least, don’t purchase pull tabs or bingo cards. Before shows on certain cruise lines, the crew will walk around selling pull tabs or bingo cards. Where you can win supposedly a “large sum of money”. However, it’s important to note that ALL onboard gambling offers some of the worst odds, so don’t give in, even if you see other cruise goers eager to take a chance on them.
There you have it, my guide on the best ways to save money on a cruise! Of course, if you’re looking to save the most money on your next sailing, make sure to book with Get Away Today. To book, visit getawaytoday.com or call one of their cruise experts at 877-510-2929. Don’t forget to mention that Adrian’s Crazy Life sent you!
Here are some other cruise posts you might enjoy:
7 Must-Have Items for a Great Cruise Experience
Rookie Mistakes People Make on a Cruise
7 Worst Cabin Locations To Avoid