Vacationing on a Dime Series Part 3: 10 Tips on How To Cruise for Less

by Super Coupon Lady on March 22, 2013 · 6 comments

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How To Cruise for Less

While the recent scare on a local cruise line may have frightened some from ever sailing the high seas, many cruisers know that no vacation beats a cruise ship vacation! You too might be itching to escape to somewhere warm and tropical, but think that this sort of travel is only for the rich. Perhaps your budget is tight, and a cruise just seems out of reach. Well think again, and read on about how to cruise for less!

Vacation on a Dime Series (make sure to read part 1 & 2):

Cruises have a very rich, opulent,  and luxurious feel. And there are many ways to enjoy one on a budget! And by the way, none of these ways include hiding your spouse in a suitcase!  Here is how!

10 Tips on How To Cruise for Less . . . 

1.  Educate yourself:
What all does the price of your ticket include? Many cruises are all inclusive, meaning the price includes meals and a limited number of activities. If a deal seems way to good to be true, chances are it is not inclusive and you will need to shell out extra cash for meals and shows. This is no fun. Always read the fine print or talk to customer service so you know exactly what is included in the cost of your boarding ticket.

2.  Opt for insurance:
Bad weather at sea happens. A storm or hurricane can drastically affect the quality of your trip. Insurance of some sort is becoming more of a smart move than in the past and is recommended for a vacation such as this. Your personal life/home/auto insurance agent can help you with this and combined with the insurance you already have!

3.  Skip preplanned excursions:
Your cruise packages may or may not include off shore excursions. Chances are it won’t. But a simple trip to the beach, a visit to a shopping district, etc. are easy enough for any tourist to do on their own and you should not pay the cruise line extra to take you on these excursions.

4.  Be mindful of on board spending:
There will be a lot of chances to spend your cash while on board. Simply making a budget and sticking to it works wonders. Bring along an envelope for each day of the cruise, each with the amount of cash you have allowed yourself to spend each day. Once that is gone, that is that. There will be many chances to shop, hit up the casino, etc. By budgeting you can control spending on these items.

5.  Book your airfare separate:
Book your own flights as opposed to booking them through the cruise line. You will be able to find a better deal using Expedia and the other money saving booking sites that you have used in the past. By booking separate you may also be able to take advantage of reward programs you belong to.

6.  Timing is key:
Cruise during the off months for excellent rates. May, September, January, and February are the least busiest times for cruise ships and will assure you get the best values. Cruise lines run specials at these times to fill their ships, so these months should be looked at when searching for value.

7.  Say no to the soda packages:
Many cruise lines will offer you a wrist band that gets you unlimited soda on your trip. These can run as high as $60 for the week. Multiply this by the number of family members and your are spending hundreds of dollars in soda! Opt out of a wrist band and just pay cash for your drinks instead, or, enjoy free water.

8.  Pack your own incidentals:
Unlike a hotel, a forgotten toothbrush will cost you big. Be sure to pack your own toiletries, motion sickness medication, etc. Buying these items from the ship’s store will cost you significantly more. Being prepared will prevent a pricey trip to the ship store, where you might be tempted to snag extra items you don’t really need.

9.  Be prepared to get off the grid:
Using a cell phone or internet on the ship will cost you extra fees and usage charges by the hour. If there is an emergency, you will have a room phone. Otherwise, be prepared to unplug!

10.  Review your final bill:
Cruise ships will keep a running account for you to charge to during the week. Anytime you are asked to attend a function, a wine tasting, a show, etc. ask the cost. Don’t brush it aside as you may be surprised what shows up on your bill at the end of your journey.

As you can see, you can still travel the high seas and enjoy all of the beauty and splendor on a budget. The key is to do your homework, plan in advance, and sacrifice the small items that add up. By doing so you can still enjoy a great time, on a dime!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Terry February 23, 2014 at 2:57 pm

It is no problem to bring a 12 pack of soda on board.

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Super Coupon Lady February 24, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Great tip Terry!

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Angela March 3, 2014 at 3:52 pm

All this is good info. BUT instead of searching all the “travel” sites, contact your trusted travel agent. They do the “leg work” in one swipe internet. Most have links to cruise ships, and can beat the sites online. Yes it may cost you couple extra bucks, but you are dealing with a LIVE person to answer important questions – vs email and guessing games. Give it a try. You will be surprise.
A trusted travel agent for 20 plus years.

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Frederique June 27, 2014 at 8:07 pm

I agree Angela! I used Flying Dutchmen Travel (800-248-7471) and they not only did a fantastic job of helping me book an amazing cruise (which I went on last January with a friend) but they took care of all the details AND saved me money. Highly recommend.

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Plus Style December 2, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Pack individual packets of crystal light, ice tea, kool-aid to add to water to avoid extra soda fees.

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Super Coupon Lady December 4, 2014 at 8:01 pm

Great TIP!!

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