Now that you’ve booked yourself a cruise, I’d like to share some ideas to help you save money during your cruise. Remember, you are on vacation so you should enjoy yourself, it’s just a matter of finding a good balance between a little indulgence and watching your pennies.
When you begin your cruise, each adult is given an electronic card to access their cabin but it also serves as their ID for reboarding the ship and as a “charge card” for onboard services (including the casino) and purchases. At the end of your cruise, you will receive a statement summarizing all your transactions. The electronic card is very convenient since you don’t have to worry about carrying your wallet/purse with you.
Check Your Cabin Statement During The Cruise – As you can imagine, the convenience of the “charge card” can become too convenient since it’s not difficult to lose track of all your small transactions. We suggest checking the statement at least once if not twice before the end of the cruise. This can be done through the Pursers Desk or possibly using the interactive television in your cabin (depending on the cruise ship).
Beverages – Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are traditionally not included in your cruise fare. Some Cruise Lines offer a sticker or a card that allows you unlimited soda pop and sometimes other non-alcoholic drinks. If you’re a coffee drinker, find out if your cruise offers a “coffee card” which entitles you to a set number of coffee beverages for one price. Before investing in one of these beverage options, realistically think about how much you will actually drink during your cruise.
If you order a bottle of wine with your meal, check with your server to find out if they can cork and store your bottle for the next night if you can’t finish it. Cruise Lines don’t allow passengers to bring their own alcohol onboard. All luggage is X-Rayed as part of their security procedures. I heard from a client that they discreetly packed wine in a tetra carton in their luggage/carry-on to enjoy in the privacy of their cabin.
Telephone and Internet – Ship-to-Shore phone calls are possible but expensive. If you don’t need to make a call but want to call someone, consider waiting until you reach the next port of call and use a pre-paid calling card.
Internet cafes and wi-fi hot spots are common on most cruise ships but their accessibility does come at a cost per minute (or a bit less if purchase a package). We all love our tech gadgets like Blackberries, iPhones, etc but don’t forget…you are away on vacation to relax and escape from your day to day hustle and bustle. Similar with the previous suggestion for phone calls, there is likely to be an internet cafe at your next port-of-call.
Bring Your Own Camera – Cruise ships have onboard photographers who can be seen taking photos everywhere. They offer to sell you photos they’ve taken or offer to take photos of you and your travel companions for a price. You can save money using your own camera to take pictures or offering your camera to a fellow passenger to take a picture of you and your friends. If the onboard photographer has captured a special moment, buy a photo or two but restrain yourself from too many.
Medical Expense – Purchase travel medical insurance before your cruise for peace of mind if your current medical insurance does not cover you. While medical emergencies are rare, they are very expensive, e.g. air transport from the cruise ship or being taken to the hospital in an emergency vehicle from the pier. I’ve heard that there’s even a cost to see the onboard medical staff.
Booking Your Next Cruise During Your Cruise – All Cruise Lines have a staff onboard who can help you book your next cruise. Find out what incentives they are offering you for a deposit on your future booking. Also their base prices for cruises are typically lower than what you’d find back on shore, some offers allow you to book at a discount with your travel consultant.
Minimize Your Alternative Dining – Eat in the regular dining rooms; they offer a wide variety of options to suit everyone’s tastes. The alternative (aka premium) restaurants will cost you extra so consider these a treat rather than a regular dining option.
Airfare To Your Departure Point – You are you not required to book your airfare with the Cruise Line. The benefit of booking with them is that if your plane is late or delayed, the Cruise Line will try their best to join you with the next Port-of-Call (check with your Cruise Line for specific details). If you find a better airfare deal with your travel consultant, we strongly recommend arriving at your port of embarkation AT LEAST one day in advance.
If you have any suggestions on how to save money during a cruise, please share them here.