When I used to hear the word ‘cruise’, I automatically thought expensive. I couldn’t help it, I had images of posh people quaffing cocktails in evening gowns and spending a year’s salary on a two-week cruise. However, I have recently come to realise that cruising actually isn’t as expensive as I thought. There are plenty of ways you can take a cheap cruise without breaking the bank, so you can enjoy cruising on a budget. Read on for some top tips to save money on your next cruise!
Booking a Cheap Cruise
If you don’t mind when (or even where) you go, you have a much wider choice of cheaper cruises. In a similar way to booking flights or any other holiday accommodation, booking popular destinations during peak season will be much more expensive than shoulder or off-season dates.
Look Out for Special Offers
Black Friday, January sales and other flash sales throughout the year can save you cash too. For example, you can find some great value cruise deals with Celebrity, like a 2-5 night Caribbean cruise from $259. Sign up to cruise mailing lists for special offers straight to your inbox so you can grab the best deals hot off the press. Re-positioning cruises can be fab money savers too, these are a one-way cruise or ‘relocation’ cruise when a cruise ship sails to a new destination before beginning a different cruise itinerary. They are particularly useful if you want to continue your holiday in a different destination.
Book Early or Book Late
Sometimes being organised pays off and booking way in advance gives you access to early booking discounts and guarantees your top choice of cabin. Alternatively, if you wait till the last minute, cruise ships which aren’t full on a specific date sometimes reduce in price in order to fill the space and get people on board, although there is no guarantee of getting your preferred cabin or a place at all if the cruise sells out.
Check the Cruise Lines’ Lowest Price Guarantee
Some cruise lines offer a best price guarantee, so that if you have booked your cruise and the price drops, they either give you some money back or offer onboard credit so you don’t lose out. This depends on the cruise line, and the various terms and conditions, but if you notice a big difference in price, it certainly won’t hurt to contact the cruise line and ask for some money back.
Check for Special Package Deals
Even if the price of your chosen cruise isn’t on offer, you may find there are offers on the added extras, for example, the price may include a cabin upgrade, onboard credit, free wi-fi or transfers. The value of these depends on what you think you will actually make use of during the cruise – is wi-fi really valuable to you, or would you relish a few days offline?
Take A Friend
Single supplements can add a lot to a solo traveller’s cruise cost. Booking a twin cabin with a friend means you both get a great deal. If you prefer to travel alone, check the prices for the single supplement, and look for special offers or singles offers which reduce or waive the single supplement fee altogether.
Choose a Cheaper Cabin
We all love an ocean view, but if you forgo that and book an interior cabin you can save some serious cash. I’m sure you’re not planning to spend the whole trip inside your cabin anyway, so do you really need a window when you’re sleeping?
Look at a Range of Ships
Not all cruise ships are created equal, and booking on a newer, bigger ship which has more amenities than you can shake a stick out is often more expensive than an older or smaller ship which may have fewer or different amenities. It really depends on what you are looking for on a cruise ship, and what you are likely to spend your time doing.
Enjoying a Cruise Without Blowing Your Budget
Lay Off the Booze
Although the food is included on cruises, alcohol usually isn’t, and drinks prices on-board for alcohol and even soft drinks or soda can quickly add up. Stick to drinks which are included like water and juices, or if you know you like to have an alcoholic drink or three, consider purchasing an extra drinks package which may work out better value than buying your drinks individually. Also check what allocation you can take on board, as most cruises include a modest allowance like a bottle or two of wine which you are permitted to bring on board on your first day.
Stick to the Buffet Food
Some cruise ships have speciality restaurants which charge a dining supplement in addition to your cruise package. However, the ‘standard’ buffet food on cruise ships is generally really good, with enough variety and choice that opting for an extra fancy meal is an unnecessary expense.
Think About When to Splurge and Save
I am all about saving money on things that aren’t important to me, but sometimes certain things are worth paying extra for. If you’re on a cruise, maybe you do want to treat yourself to a massage, a night of cocktails or a well organised day tour. If you really want to do something then, by all means, have an occasional splurge, but don’t go mad! Enjoy your trip and spend money on the important things so you can save on the things that don’t matter to you.
Have you been on a cheap cruise? Did you get good value for money? I’d love to hear your tips on getting a budget cruise deal, please share your comments below.
Like this post? Pin it to read later:
Just to let you know, this post may contain paid or affiliate links, which help to maintain Tales of a Backpacker and give me the chance to keep travelling, and to keep creating awesome content for you!
Tales of a Backpacker is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I only recommend goods and services I believe are useful and reliable.Last updated: December 14, 2018