8 Ways to Save Money on a Cruise

A cruise vacation is a true luxury, and knowing some great ways to save money on a cruise can make this something anyone can fit into their budget.

Have you ever been on a cruise? Want to go on a cruise? Afraid you can't afford it? Here are 8 secret ways to save money on a cruise. I never would have thought about doing #7…

I am looking forward to the day when my family and I can go on a cruise for our vacation. I’ve been a little hesitant with my boys being young, but it is definitely on our bucket list.

I have heard from our friends and family how expensive a cruise vacation can be, so I have been researching and compiling a list of all the different ways to save money for when the time comes for us to plan our vacation.

Below you will find 8 ways to save money on a cruise that a friend of mine wanted to share with you.

If you have been on a cruise, please leave a comment below and let me know any of your money saving tips for a cruise vacation.


Ways To Save Money On A Cruise

#1 Skip the luxury room.  There are different designations on a cruise ship that cost more money just like there are different levels of hotel rooms.  At the end of the day, one of the best ways to save money on a cruise is to go for the lower cost room.

While it might be nice to have a bit more space or a better view, you will most likely find yourself on deck, or around public areas enjoying shows, buffets, and of course pools and water.

Upgrading to a luxury room is just not necessary and often a waste of money.


#2 Book with a group of people.  You have a few options for a discounted rate by booking with a group.  One of the easiest ways to save money on a cruise is to talk to a travel agent who may already be booking a group package.

When this occurs, they can transfer the lower cost on to you, the customer.

Another option is to gather a group of friends and book together for lower price per room.  This usually requires at least a group of 10, but sometimes 20 or more individuals in a group.

To find out the best rates, contact the cruise line and ask about their current group options.


#2 Watch cruise line social media for deals.  If you are serious about saving money on a future cruise vacation, you can easily sign up for all of the cruise line emails and social media channels to help you be aware of any current promotions.

There are often special discounts, or even last minute deals on rooms that are still available for a specific date range.


#4 Book in off seasons.  Depending on the travel destinations of the cruise, there are less popular seasons for cruise ship travel.  Check calendars and ask your fellow travelers for tips to find out the best times to get better lower prices on a cruise vacation.

Avoid holidays and peak vacation times since these often have higher prices.

Some cruise lines do also offer special pricing for specific holiday events.  So while you typically would avoid these times of year, it is worth checking out ahead of time to make sure you aren’t missing out on a special package deal they are promoting.


#5 Take advantage of rewards program discounts.  There are tons of travel discounts and rewards programs that make it worthwhile to use a special card, brand, or even credit card for booking.

If you sign up for some rewards programs through major airlines or resort companies, you may find that they offer lower costs on cruise vacations, as well as rewards points on your purchases.  This can lead to not only immediate savings, but also long term benefits for future vacations.


#6 Buy the drink package.  There are cruise packages that are truly all-inclusive and include everything.  Most cruises, however, do not include drinks outside of water, tea, and coffee with meals.

This means that soft drinks or cocktails you have with dinner, or in the middle of the afternoon, can cost a significant amount of money.  They aren’t $1-$2 but often $8-$10 each if not more.

Over the course of just 3-5 days this can add up to hundreds of dollars if you are buying for a family of four.  Check with your cruise line in advance to make sure what is included, and if you feel like you will be partaking in several drinks outside of what is included, then ask about the drink packages.

Alternatively, some would recommend taking your own bottled water and soft drinks.  This used to be a great idea, but many cruise lines are cracking down on it by including higher baggage fees and only allowing you to manually carry on smaller bags.

If you are paying to check baggage to be taken to your room, you may find the cost to be more than what you would have been paying for a drink package.


#7 Skip shore excursions.  Many enjoy the excitement of going off the ship to enjoy shore excursions like tours of the local port, shopping trips, beach destinations, and similar.  While this can be a wonderful way to take in local culture, there are some high prices attached.

If you wish to enjoy a shore excursion, choose only one during your cruise instead of one at every port.  This can keep your costs lower, and still give you some great experiences and memories.

If you choose to stay on board ship during port times, check out some of the other activities on board.  Often times they reduce prices during shore excursion times to entice those staying on board to participate. This is a great time to get a great deal and have some fun with less of a crowd.


#8 Double check gratuity before tipping.  Tipping is expected for staff on board, but in many cases the gratuity is actually already figured into the price.

Before you blindly hand over money to the staff, make sure that you aren’t already paying for a gratuity on your purchase or experience.  Many have found later on that they were charged gratuity and spent money tipping out of pocket.

Don’t hesitate to tip extra if you feel like they deserve it, but remember to double check just in case they have already been given the tip.

A cruise vacation is something that many would love to enjoy.  It is much more affordable with these simple ways to save money on a cruise.

Think in advance and prepare for the unexpected, so you can save money and frustration, while on your fun-filled all-inclusive vacation.

What are some of your tips or ways to save money on a cruise ship?

Want to go on a cruise? Afraid you can't afford it? Here are 8 secret ways to save money on a cruise. I never would have thought about doing #7…

This Post Has One Comment

  1. These tips are great information! My girlfriend and her family always go on a cruise in December during the holiday, and it ends up being pretty expensive. Unfortunately that’s unavoidable like you said. However, they do have a rewards program that has significantly decreased the price of their trips over time. I think I am going to go with them next year and am really excited!

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