13 Ways to Save Money on a Cruise?

On Wednesday, January 23, Carnival is having a sale on 3-7 day cruises from the West Coast. Get a good fare and possible onboard credits as well. Book early for best selection of cabins.

A recent article article on CNN lists 13 suggestions for saving money on a cruise. These tips were offered by experienced cruisers and travel agents. Some of the tips make good sense and seem reasonable, but the validity of others needs to be questioned.

My suggestion is that some of these need to be qualified or totally ignored. You need to refer to the article to understand my comments.

#2 – In most cases this is correct and the agent rightfully states that just because you are buying air travel through the cruise line, doesn’t necessarily mean that the ship will wait for you if your plane is late. This is a common misconception that you should be aware of if you book your flights through the cruise line thinking that they will wait for you if you have a delay. If a flight is several minutes late and there are many passengers on the same flight, the ship might wait. But, what if you are delayed for 10 hours? The ship has a schedule and can’t delay departure for late arrivals. They will take care of getting you to the next port if you booked through them. On some itineraries, the next port could mean missing a few days of the cruise.

There are times when having the air travel included is a deal, such as when you book late and airfares are high anyway. The cruise line might have a better fare. Cruise fares that include free air might also work out cheaper. So don’t totally rule out buying the air travel with the cruise.

#7 – Private tours usually do save you money and we usually choose this option. Keep in mind that if you arrive back to the dock late, you may see the shipping sailing away into the sunset.

#9- Huh? Why does a VIP need an upgrade to start with? Wouldn’t they already be booked in the highest category cabin? I am certain that agents and cruise lines will love all the requests for upgrades from every VIP and his brother who took this tip to heart. Then again, the veteran cruiser says it works for him. Maybe it’s a coincidence. We have been upgraded a few categories when booking both guaranteed cabins and the cabin of our choice. I suspect that there could be another reason for these upgrades. All cruise lines know for a fact that if a passenger likes the cruise, they will cruise again. They don’t need an agent to tell them this.

#11 – The price of soda packages varies from one cruise line to another. Figure out how much soda you drink and what that would cost buying individual cans.(The soda package usually gets you soda from a fountain, not cans.) You might find that you actually spend more with a soda package.

#12 – We found low-end wines on our Monarch cruise priced in the low $20’s. If you like better wines, you may be better off bringing some from home and paying the corkage fee. (If you are flying, remember that you aren’t permitted to pack this in your carry-on.)

On that same Monarch cruise, we had the tequila and beer that we had purchased in Mexico on the cruise immediately preceding this one, quickly confiscated as we went through security. It was held and returned to us on the last night. If you read the fine print on Royal Caribbean, you will notice that violating their “no booze” policy could be reason for denied boarding.

I agree with the other suggestions offered and will add a few of my own:

-If you are tight on money and get along well with your friends and/or family, book a room that can hold four people. There are often specials for 3rd and 4th passengers and sometimes kids sail free.

-Check fares on a regular basis. Amazing fares come and go. Last fall, I found a fare of $99 for two weeks on NCL in South America. Too bad that I had already made final payment for another cruise.

-Gather a bunch of friends and family to qualify for a group fare and free berth. Spread the savings amongst the group or take the free berth yourself.

Do you have any money saving tips?

Sail Away

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Can you bring on your own sodas on NCL?