Five Cheapskate Cruise Clues
We all love a bargain but even the most reasonably priced cruises can end up costing you the proverbial arm and leg in extra charges. For all the great cruise deals that come with onboard credits, the cruise ship industry still manages to turn a hefty profit anyways. We can give you some tips, as well as resources to help you save money on cruises.
Sites that’ll help you save money on your cruise booking:
Here are some traps to avoid and a few ways to skirt spendy extras.
Satisfy Your Thirst
Bring airline-sized bottles of booze. They are only a couple of bucks each and since you are going to pay double for a soft drink you might save some money by mixing your own cocktails in your cabin. You can get your cabin attendant to bring you ice at least once a day upon request but you are going to be expected to tip him or her at the end of the cruise. Another alternative is to buy a cocktail or wine package when you book your trip. For teetotalers: If you’re sneaky, you can fill up your water bottle in the buffet. It’s supposed to be a no-no, but nobody really cares. It’s also a lot cheaper to get a bottle of bubbly water, wine or soda in port than on the ship.
Make Lunch to Go
Every time you stop at a port you are faced with the prospect of laying out cash for lunch, drinks or snacks. Pack a few extra plastic baggies and you can save big bucks. The onboard breakfast buffets always include meats and cheeses and you can use those to stuff baguettes or croissants or fill slabs of good old white bread with ham and Swiss or salami and cheddar. By the time you’ve braved the exiting crowds to get to port you’ll probably already be hungry enough to scarf them down. This leaves you far more time to explore the sights in real time rather than just from the viewpoint of a tourist guide.
Extra Free Stuff
If you like, for instance, lots of pillows and an extra comforter, ask for them. It’s free and makes one feel quite decadent. Be sure to check the daily ship’s roster or newspaper to find out where to take tango lessons, learn to fold napkins or taste new kinds of ice cream. Depending upon your ship, you might find your perfect opportunity to learn rock wall climbing, stationary surfing or even zip-lining. Even if you scream like a little girl, you’ll never see those people again, so who cares? And remember, you can eat all ten offered desserts if you like and there’s really nothing like eating an ice cream sundae by the pool.
Make Your Own Excursion
The cruise line will charge a pretty hefty price for a tour but you can use your own resources to find a guided tour in any port for about half the tariff. Buddy up with some people waiting for the bus and ask them if they’d like to share a taxi or, better yet, even the tour. It’s a lot less hassle and you get the added information from your friendly (usually) cab driver. Just make sure to keep track of the time so you get back to the ship before she leaves you at the dock.
Internet and SatNav
Internet on board is mind-numbingly expensive but there are ways to get around it. You’ll be in a new port almost every day and it’s crazily easy to find internet service in cafés around the world. If you have an unlocked phone you can get a data card for almost anywhere in the world and use it as a WiFi hotspot or to activate your chosen cell phone translator service. It’s a lot cheaper than relying on your standard carrier’s roaming services and scary rates. Bring a GPS navigation device and you won’t have to rely on WiFi service to get around the new port city.
Tips on Tipping
Carefully inspect the tipping policies of your specific ship. Depending on the cruise line and the country, you may find that tips for drinks are already included and that a daily per-person charge is added to your tab for general tipping. However, if you get extraordinary service in a free restaurant or extra help from your cabin attendant, it is appropriate to slip them a little something at the end of the cruise. Ask the hospitality desk if you can’t determine tipping protocol.
Cruising, if you’re not one of the one percent with greenbacks to burn, can be costly beyond your initial budget. With a little planning and a smattering of deviousness, you can cut some corners. Make it a challenge and come back from your adventure with great memories and still enough bucks to go out to dinner in your home town. You are, remember, in charge of your own vacation and with a little homework you can be the captain of your own cruise.