These ten cheap cruise tips will help a first time cruiser as well as an expert one. Cruises are a great vacation idea that is both relaxing and rejuvenating. Cruise ships allow the traveler to design their own itinerary at each port, and also offer many amazing amenities during the days at sea. Each cruise ship is unique and so are the accommodations. The options that are available are great for every budget. From world round cruises to local ones, full service gourmet foods, drinks and shopping are available to everyone. These tips will help even the most savvy shopper save even more.
- Upgrade at arrival. If what you really wanted was a room with a balcony or a suite, wait until arrival before upgrading. If the cruise isn't full, guests can receive a discounted upgrade to a nicer room. That doesn't mean that you should book the cheapest room with the hopes of being able to upgrade, they will only do it if they aren't full. Make sure you at least get a room you will be comfortable in for the duration of your stay.
- Buy drinks cards. Cruise ships offer traveler beverage cards for soda while on the ship. Take advantage of the cards. Alcoholic beverages, sodas and bottled waters are not included in the price of the cruise.
- Buy closer to the departure date. Cruise ships will often discount their remaining rooms in order to try and fill them. The closer it is to the departure date, the more likely you are to get a good discount. Check websites to see who is offering the best rates.
- Don't Take a Tour. At ports of call, it will save you a lot of money if you don't take one of the tours that are offered by the cruise ship. While planning your cruise, research the area. There are often many things that tourists can do that do not involve being part of an organized tour. For safety purposes, do not go off of the beaten path. Try to find shops and restaurants that are near the ship.
- Avoid the Casino. One of the most expensive things to do on a cruise ship is to visit the casino. Whittling away the time spending your money at a game table can cost a lot of money. Instead, go to one of the organized events on the ship for entertainment, they are free, as are most games like miniature golf.
Research. There are a lot of companies that offer cruises. To save more money, don't use a travel agent. Compare prices, time of year, destinations and cruise length to optimize money savings for your cruise.
- Take Your Own Pictures. The cruise ships have employees that take guest pictures while on the ship and while exiting the ship at a port. Take your own camera and have somebody take the picture for you to avoid paying upwards of $25.00 per picture that the ship will charge you.
- Go In a Group. Cruise ships charge more for the first two people. On average four people can stay in a room together. Bring two more friends or family and split the cost down the middle, it will save everybody money.
- Travel Locally. Take a cruise from the most local port of call. Travelling from nearby ports saves the extra money from having to book air fare. Choose a cruise that departs and arrives at the same port so that extra air travel is not needed. Most ports have many different cruise lines that travel from local ports, so there are many different options to choose from.
- Buy in International Waters. Once cruise ships depart from land they are able to open their stores once they are in international waters. This saves guests from having to pay taxes and other extra costs when they want to buy something on board, such as jewelry, alcohol and cigarettes.
Make sure before every cruise to get all required documents for entrance into the country that will be part of the port of call.