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A cruise vacation and all its memories are priceless. Paying for the vacation shouldn’t be. With a little research and planning, you can find some great deals and ways to save money. Here are 7 of our favorite ways to cruise cheaper:
1. Set a price drop alert at cruiseline.com.
Prices change all the time when it comes to traveling: airfare, rental cars, and cruise rates. While a price alert can help you track this before you book, a price drop helps you after. Cruiseline.com has a price drop feature that tracks prices on cruises you’ve already booked. If the price of your cruise does go down, you can check your eligibility and see if you can get a refund for the difference.
2. Book a GTY cabin.
GTY? It means a “guarantee” stateroom or cabin. Instead of choosing your specific room, you choose a room category. Since you haven’t chosen a specific room, the cruise lines get more flexibility over their inventory and then, offer you lower rate for it.
3. Prepay Tips.
The majority of cruise lines automatically add tips or gratuities to your sailing bill. That means you walk onboard with a balance already on your account. To save some money ahead of time, you can prepay them pretty much up until right before sailing.
4. Carry on wine and water.
Hydrate and celebrate for less. Don’t learn this lesson the hard way. Bring an empty, refillable water bottle (or two) onboard with you. In many places you’ll visit, you’ll be grateful you have your own filtered water. When it comes to celebrating, it’s BYOB. Well, bring your own wine or champagne. For example, Carnival lets each guest over 21 bring on 1 unopened bottle of wine or champagne (no larger than 750 ml) in their carry-on luggage. Don’t forget your bottle opener and keep in mind, most cruise lines will charge you a corkage fee of around $15, which is still cheaper than buying a bottle onboard.
5. Plan excursions in advance.
This one can save you hundreds! We had a cruise that changed course a few days before sailing due to a hurricane. Because of this, we didn’t book any excursions ahead of time. I spent SO much money on excursions since I did no pre-planning and booked every single one through the cruise line. An expensive lesson. Sites like cruisingexcursions.com offer multiple options at a lower cost. Have all the fun at half the price.
6. Book outside the box.
Get creative and use all your resources. Think about booking repositioning cruises or during the off-season. Cruising in the summer is more expensive; could you take that same sailing in October and save several hundred dollars? Also, think about possible discounts you might be eligible for. Are you a past guest of this cruise line? Military? Senior? Teacher? AAA Member? It never hurts to ask for a discount.
7. Take advantage of complimentary venues onboard.
Create your own experience and make the most of onboard amenities. My parents love to order room service and have a relaxing breakfast on their balcony. Room service is often available 24 hours a day at little to no cost. Take chances and try new things. Always wanted to try sushi but don’t want to pay for it and hate it? Try it for free on your cruise. As for the scenery? You’ll see picture perfect beaches, historical sites, and the most amazing sunrises and sunsets at sea.
What are some of the ways you cruise cheaper? What advice would you share? We’d love to hear from you.