If you’re frugal all year long (like me) so you can indulge in a cruise or two, you want to be sure your hard-earned cash goes as far as possible!
Here are some suggestions to save money on cruises:
- Save money on airport parking by having an Uber driver take you to the airport to catch the plane. A taxi from my house to the airport costs about $45 plus tip each way, and Uber is $23.50 each way. Big difference! Uber is also a lot cheaper than parking in the outdoor airport lot (at $8 a day or more) for a trip of any length — and the driver drops you off at the airport door, so you don’t have to haul all luggage a long way from the parking lot into the airport.
- Buy drink packages (soda, liquor, etc.) including water packages if you’ll be buying several bottles of water to take along on every shore excursion (water runs about $3.50 a bottle for the smallest size).
- Most cruise lines let you bring one bottle of wine onboard per person. Take advantage of that!
- Bring enough cash so you don’t have to use the ship’s ATM and incur service charges.
- Make a list and pack everything you’ll need; prices for toiletries and over-the-counter medicine are twice as high (or more) in the ship’s onboard store, and they may not even have what you need in stock.
- Book transportation through the cruise line so you’re covered if you “miss the boat.” If you book flights through the cruise line’s travel service, they’ll pay to get you to the first port if you miss the ship, but if you book flights on your own and the same thing happens, you have to pay to get to the ship’s first stop!
- Be aware you need different cell phone coverage when traveling to foreign countries. Investigate getting a foreign cell phone plan before you go; this can be cheaper than using Internet aboard (which costs about $.99 a minute). Then put your phone in airplane mode when it’s not being used to avoid accidentally incurring charges.
- Use wifi in restaurants and public places during shore excursions instead of using the ship’s Internet service.
- If you’re going to use a lot of Internet aboard ship and/or want unlimited wifi service, consider buying a package ($199 for one device on Celebrity cruises in 2016).
- If the ship is docked near the downtown area, come back to the ship to eat meals when you’re nearby on shore excursions rather than buying meals in town (ship’s food is already paid for!)
- If traveling with a companion, consider packing one outfit in each other’s suitcase, in case of lost luggage (buying clothing on cruise ships is extremely expensive!). Also, pack your carry on bag with several changes of clothes — including underwear and socks. (You can’t buy underwear and socks on cruise ships!)
- Professional photos aboard ship are expensive ($24.20 in 2016 on Celebrity Cruises for an 8 x 10), so wait until the end of the week and pick the best photo(s), so you don’t buy one and then see a better one.
- Or…take your own photos in the same locations and poses as the ship’s photographers use. 🙂
- If you don’t buy alcohol drink packages, watch for 50% off or two-for-one specials in the ship’s bars.
- If you’re invited to the captain’s party (because you’re a prior cruiser), get there early and have a few free drinks.
- Participate in free fitness classes (some are free, while others cost about $15 each). You can always use the fitness center or power walk around the ship at no charge.Enjoy your cruise knowing you’re maximizing your money!
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