With rapidly rising airline taxes, more and more travelers are starting to discover the wonders of cruising. There’s no cramped leg room, there’s no restless kid behind you kicking your seat, and there’s no questionable airplane food. Best of all, Alaska cruises are actually great value for money – if you do it right, of course.
Firstly, let’s debunk the myth that cruising is hugely expensive. Back in the early 1900s, tickets could cost tens of thousands and cruises were dominated by the rich and famous, but that’s not the case anymore. Today, everyone from your old high school teacher to the elderly lady you politely nod to at the bus stop has been on a cruise vacation. While prices can be as low as $80 per night including meals, many will argue that it’s the additional on-board costs that are the real stinger. Not true. There are plenty of tips for keeping your Alaska cruise vacation costs down, and here’s just a few:
Be Flexible On Room Choices
Yes, the penthouse suite on your Alaska cruise would be perfect, standing on the balcony sipping champagne as you pass through the Inside Passage, but is it really a necessity? The beauty of cruising is that anyone and everyone can get the ‘best seat in the house’ by relaxing up on deck. Having your cabin allocated on arrival is a great way to bring the upfront costs down. Yes, this may mean you get an inside cabin, and it may mean it’s a bit further to walk to the dining room, but surely it’s worth those few extra steps for a massive price reduction? And you’ll still get to see those glaciers, honest!
Do Your Own Thing
Land excursions organized through the cruise operator are great. The excursion team know the best places to go, they arrange transportation and, best of all, if your tour is late getting back, your ship won’t leave without you. Unfortunately, these excursions can be rather pricey, but there are much more affordable alternatives. For example, rather than taking a $300+ bear excursion on your Alaska cruise to Juneau, why not choose a less pricey trip to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Centre. Admission costs just $3 and bears can be viewed during the summer months.
If you’re traveling with children, be sure to purchase a beverage package before your trip. These packages cost a set price and kids can drink as many soft drinks as they wish for the duration of the cruise. It’s a real money saver! For the adults, you’re really going to want something full bodied and warming on a cool Alaska cruise. Opt for a bottle of wine rather than a glass with dinner to get better value for money. You don’t have to drink it all, what’s left can be kept for you for the next night.
Pack Your Camera
You’re dressed to the nines for your big formal night dinner, and you’re stopped by the on-board photographers for a picture outside the dining room. Seems harmless, but that photograph will cost more than you can to imagine. The good side is that you’ll get to view the photo before handing over any cash, so if it’s an excellent shot of you and your family looking dapper then by all means go for it, but there are better, and cheaper, ways. Don’t forget that you’re at sea – you have the best possible backdrop for any photograph right there at your fingertips. Head up on deck in your Sunday best and ask a friendly passenger if they wouldn’t mind snapping you striking a pose against the icebergs, or in front of your Alaska cruise ship’s name in lights.
There is no need for an Alaska cruise to cost double the advertised price. Just use your intuition. If something seems a bit costly, step back and have a think before handing over your credit card. Is there a lower cost alternative? Do you really need it? And cutting back on a few purchases means you’ll have made a good start on your savings for your next cruise! The hard part is, will it be another Alaska cruise, or will you head further afield to new shores?
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