Cruising has always fun to me, as my family and I started cruising almost 10 years ago, and when we started we had no idea what we were doing… but lucky for us, and our wallets, we were able to figure out some of the best ways to cruise for less. That is why I decided to make this list of some of the best ways to save money for a new cruiser!
Price Matching For Fairdrops
This is the best way to save money before ever even getting on the ship. Most cruise lines will offer a price match if rooms on your ship go any cheaper than what you paid. If you find a cheaper room, you can easily contact the cruise line and they will refund you with onboard credit. We book some of our cruises several months in advance, so by the time we are on the ship we already have a significant amount of extra money to spend.
Eat-In The Main Dining Room
Each ship will make sure to drive home the fact that they have many restaurants on the ship including steak houses, authentic sushi, and many other restaurants. However, these restaurants will charge an extra fee. Do not feel like this is the only way you can eat! Every night there is a dinner in the main dining room that is included in your trip. Here they will serve some of the best food that will make you realize paying more is necessary. There will also be some sort of food open at every hour on the ship. My personal favorite is the 24-hour pizza, it tastes best at 3 am after losing my money on roulette… Which is a great segway to my next tip.
Set a Casino Limit
The first place you will want to visit is the casino. They have a wide variety of games for every type of gambler. Tables, slots, and even claw machines with bundles of 100$ bills. Always remember to enjoy yourself on vacation, but also remember not to blow all your money the first night you are there. An easy solution that I would highly suggest is to set a gambling budget for each day. I play roulette, and I had about 40$ set aside for each day. On a five day cruise, I got to play my game every night, and even when I lost all my money, I knew I would be able to come back the next night, ready to lose it all again. Trust me, you do not want to be the person who lost all their money on the first night.
The cheapest times you can cruise are always in the offseason. When kids are in school, during hurricane season, and holidays are times I have found some of the best deals. Hurricane season might seem scary, but if the cruise felt they had even the slightest chance of hitting a hurricane, they would not cruise! Basically, it just boils down to people no knowing exactly how cruise ships work in the first place.
This is also a perfect way to get your kids to be excited about vacation because, at the very least, they get to miss school. It could even be an incentive for good grades.
Bring Your Own Soda
Cruise lines will allow each person to carry on some sodas and other drinks as long as they follow the guidelines. Each cruise is different, so I would suggest researching what is and is not allowed on board. These drinks are lifesavers when you are lazing in your cabin, or when you get off the ship at a port. Most cruise lines will not let you carry liquor on board, but with a little bit of searching online, you can find many simple ways people get liquor on board. I can not formally suggest doing these because it is rule-breaking, but I can give you this link to some awesome empty shampoo bottles for no reason at all.
Book Excursions Through The Cruise Line
When the ship docks, you will obviously want something to do. If excursions are more your speed, I highly suggest booking through the cruise line. The excursions are partnered through the cruise line, not only making it cheaper but also giving you a sense of mind that the cruise knows who you are with. This is also great because if your excursion is late getting back to the ship, but it is partnered with the cruise line, the ship will not leave you behind. That doesn’t go for excursions booked through independent partners, and trust me when I say you do not want to be the person running to the ship when it is pulling out of the pier. You might end up on YouTube.
A CRUISE SHIP WILL LEAVE YOU BEHIND IF YOU ARE NOT BACK IN TIME! MAKE SURE TO SET YOUR CLOCK TO MATCH THE SHIPS TIME, NOT THE LOCAL TIME!
Take Your Own Pictures
At the end of your trip, you will probably want some photographs to remember the time you had. There are plenty of photographers all around the ship every night with different sets for you to take pictures freely. You can even buy the once you like the next day at the photo area, but you will find that sometimes prices are a bit egregious. This is why I am saying to take your own camera and make your own memories! Or you can even do what we do and use our phones to take pictures, but remember to put it on airplane mode.
After You Save: Remember To Tip The Servers
While I know you want to save as much as possible, one place you should never skimp is the tips. For one, you will come to realize that the staff is not only extremely helpful, but they will become your friends during your stay. A lot of them work on tips and spend lots of time onboard, so honestly, you should be giving a little bit of your newfound savings to give back to the workers. In my opinion, if you can not afford to tip your server, you shouldn’t be going anywhere.
My family and I started cruising almost 10 years ago, and when we started we had no idea what we were doing… but lucky for us, and our wallets, we were able to figure out some of the best ways to cruise for less. Did I forget any good tips for new cruisers? If I did, leave it in a comment down below!
Senior at Central State University. Major in Broadcast Media!