April 18, 2014

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Seven Ways to Save Money While Sailing

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Photo: Royal Caribbean

Let’s face it, everyone that goes on a cruise vacation doesn’t want to get nickel and dimed to death. Through-out my last cruise on Carnival Glory, I was thinking of ways to save money, and it worked. My sign and sail account was next to nothing on disembarkation morning.

Here’s some money saving tips:

Look for reputable companies for cruise ship excursions. The cruise line can put a big mark-up on your shore excursion price but keep in mind they do go through the trouble of vetting the tour operators to make sure they are safe and that you won’t miss the ship – BUT. Did you know there are companies out there that back the promise of getting you to your next port of call if you by-chance miss the ship? One of the companies is Viator with their worry-free guarantee. www.shoreexcursions.viator.com

Spa on port days. The sea days is when the spa is the busiest because everyone just wants to relax and don’t have to adhere to a port schedule. If you’re going to a port that you’ve been to already, consider taking advantage of the spa on the port day. A lot of treatments are offered at a reduced rate. A recent rate on a sailing was three treatments for $99. Remember, you don’t have to buy the product they try to sell you, you can get it for less money back home.

Gift shop on last day. Typically the last day of the cruise is the day when the gift shops lower their prices. Everything from shirts, hats, watches and jewelry are highly reduced. Before you pick up those knick-knacks for friends and family – the buy-one get-one deals usually happen on the last night.

Bring aboard wine. Did you know that on most cruise lines you’re allowed to bring two bottles of wine per stateroom? Skip the inflated wine-by-the-glass and bottle prices on the ship and walk on with your own wine. Some cruise lines may charge you a $15 corkage fee.

Take your own photos. There are many great photo ops around cruise ships and ports. Don’t feel like just because the cruise line took your photo at dinner means you have to purchase it. Wander the ship and pick out some prime photo locations, then take them there. Worst case scenario you can always buy the ship pictures. There’s so many great photos to be taken outside when the sun rises and sets, it’s a shame to let it pass by.

Pack soda/water. Something about being around the salt air can really dehydrate a person, consider bringing aboard bottled water with you. Many lines have bottled water in the rooms that are available for $3.95 a bottle, save yourself the hassle and pick up a case and bring it to your stateroom. You’ll be glad you brought it aboard after a long excursion or when you wake up hung over the next morning.

Future cruise consultants. Many cruise lines let you purchase a cruise certificate for your next cruise vacation, while on board your current cruise. You don’t even have to know when you want to cruise (just pick one and change it later) and the cruise certificates are generally refundable. Another perk is if you book through a travel agent, you can still use your certificate with your travel agent and they still get the credit. This generally can be done for $100 per person.

There are many ways to save money on a cruise and these are just a few from a long list. I’ve been on many of cruises where the only cost I rang up were the gratuities, yes, it can be done.

If you have any ideas or ways to save money on a cruise vacation, we’d love to hear them.

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