The Top 5 Ways to Save on Cruises: Time-Tested Tips
Vacations, like it or not, are expensive. Tickets, attractions, food, and souvenirs all keep your wallet busy while you’re having fun. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t save a dollar (or more!) here or there. In this article, we’ve gathered some of the best ways for you to save while still having a great time on your cruise!
1. Book Smart
One of the biggest way to save money is by having the best practices for booking your cruise. Book ahead of time, and be flexible with your calendar. Booking in advance will allow you to be more choosy with what you’re getting. Don’t waste money on a cabin or date that you don’t want, just because others bought up the good options months ago! Plus, you’ll be able to plan out which packages you want and take advantage of deals before they run out. Or, go the other direction and focus on taking advantage of last-minute deals that cruise lines may push.
Prices fluctuate too, so don’t hesitate to schedule your cruise during the “off” season (when kids are in school!) This could save you buckets of money since prices get a big bump during the summer or other prime seasons. It’s also good to shop around for different cruise lines. Make sure your cruise has everything that you want, but don’t pay for more than you need. If you don’t want most of the luxuries, it might be a good idea to “down-grade” to a more casual cruise line.
2. Keep an Eye Out for Sales
Cruise lines love to entice vacationers with sales. Look for big, celebratory sales around holidays and you can save 50% or more with great offers from different cruise lines. Sales can also include drink packages, food offers, and other goodies that you’d otherwise be shelling out for.
Discounts are something to check out, too. Sometimes there are sales and discounts for cruise lines that specifically target veterans, families, or returning customers. You can save big if you qualify! Most of these sales and discounts are advertised on websites and social media, so pay attention to your calendar and subscribe to the cruise pages to keep up with great potential savings!
3. DIY and BYOB (BYOBeverages)
It’s super tempting to pay for all the fun, extra goodies that cruises offer, especially once you’re on board. But hold up! You could be wasting money by buying something you could do yourself.
One of the big ways to save (and have more fun) is booking shore excursions on your own. The cruise line will have excursions that you can book through them, but it will cost more and you won’t have as many options. Take the initiative and schedule your own to save money and get better options for what to do! Just make sure that you pay attention to the timing and get back to your ship when you need to!
Drink packages are crazy now. We have so many tiers and choices, but the surprising thing is that you may not need it at all. Yes, alcohol is pricey, and yes, the all-you-can-drink package may seem like a good idea. But it probably isn’t if you’re the average cruise-goer. Drink packages are usually a daily charge, even when you aren’t on the ship or drinking enough to make it a deal. If you really want a drink package, check out some of the cruise lines that are fancier and include drinks/food in the ticket.
Sodas are going to be pricey too, and it’s always a good idea to check out your cruise line and see if they will let you bring your own cans or bottles on board. Don’t pay for the overpriced drink opportunities if you can take advantage of supermarket prices at home! Just be careful. Most cruise lines will let you bring sodas on-board but won’t let you bring your own alcohol. Check your ship’s protocol ahead of time.
4. Don’t Pay for Port Parking
No matter where you’re finding port parking, the lots and garages are over-priced and crowded. All in the name of “convenience.” This, of course, is a matter close to Patriot Port Parking’s heart and we know exactly how much you can save by parking off-site for your cruise. For Port Canaveral parking, you can save up to $100 over the course of your trip. It depends on how many days you are sailing and which parking facility you choose. Make sure to take advantage of the free shuttle services usually offered! No matter what port you’re sailing from, the off-site parking is going to be just as safe and easy to use for a fraction of the cost. Put that money towards souvenirs instead!
5. Turn Off Your Internet and WiFi
It may be tempting to purchase access to the Internet or use overseas data for your phone, but you’ll find your trip much more enjoyable if you unplug. Not to mention, you’ll save a ton of money by doing so. You should use the packages offered for internet for work emergencies only. You’re probably going to be disappointed in the quality of the network anyway. Don’t waste your time on social media or email when you could be spending time with family! Rates can be as high as $0.75 per minute of usage, and your coverage is going to be spotty and snail-paced. It just isn’t worth it, so go ahead…log off!