You’ve decided to take a cruise. Get ready for beautiful views, stewards to clean your room and those famous buffets. But first, read these money-saving tips. After all, even when you’ve paid ahead for your meals, accommodations and entertainment, there are lots of ways to spend more than you planned.
- Choose beverages carefully. Most cruise lines charge for soda and bottled water. Find out which beverages are included in your fare, such as iced tea and lemonade. Bring an empty water bottle with you to refill on board.
- If you are a big soda drinker or you like specialty coffee drinks, consider buying an unlimited pass so you don’t pay the by-the-drink price. If your trip is port-heavy, though, consider how much time you will actually spend on the ship first.
- Plan to attend the captain’s party, repeater parties, art auctions or other events for complimentary drinks and snacks. You will be marketed to at these events, but you’re not obligated to buy.
- Get your nails done before your cruise. Spa treatments are more expensive on a ship. Look for discounts on port days if you must have that herbal wrap or massage.
- Go for the unbranded ice cream. Soft serve machines and poolside shops typically offer complimentary treats, often made right on the ship. Save the Ben & Jerry’s® for your next TV marathon at home.
- Keep your fitness routine for free with complimentary classes held on deck, rather than fee-based options in the gym. You can also use the running track, or even bring your laptop with some exercise routines already downloaded to use in your room.
- Do your research on port excursions. Often you can purchase a tour directly from an operator or explore on your own. Pay attention to the sail time. Unlike a ship-sponsored excursion, they won’t hold the boat if you are late.
- Stay out of the casino. Along with premium beverages and excursions, casinos are big money generators for cruise operators. There are plenty of complimentary entertainment options on board.
- Shop with a budget. When you are in the fun, relaxed atmosphere of a cruise, it’s easy to overdo the souvenirs. It’s fine to bring something back to remember your trip, but stick to a preset limit and consider whether you will really wear or display the item once you’re home.
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