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Taking a cruise can be a dreamlike experience, and you can enjoy cruising to places like Alaska, the Mediterranean, Hawaii, the Caribbean and more. On a cruise ship, getting to exotic ports of call is half the fun. Many cruise ships have onboard casinos, world-class entertainment and ample activities for all ages and interests. As amazing as cruising can be, however, it can be an expensive way to get away. By learning more about how to save money on a cruise, you can enjoy this wonderful vacation experience on a dime.
You Can Save Money on a Cruise If You…
Are you wondering how to save money on a cruise? You can easily learn more about how to save money on a cruise to make savvier decisions. Regardless of how long you plan to be away or where you plan to travel to on your upcoming trip.
1. Book Your Trip During the Winter Months
The time of year when you book your next cruise can play a major role in how expensive your trip is. The reality is that many cruise lines offer substantial discounts on fabulous vacations if you make your travel plans between the months of January and March. You may be able to set up a payment plan to pay the trip over the course of the following months. You may also be able to take the cruise at any time.
However, if you can hold off on making your reservations until this time, you can save a small fortune on cruise rates. There may also be other discounts and special offers available throughout the year. So join your favorite cruise line’s email list to stay updated about the offers.
2. Travel During the Off-Season
If you want to know how to save money on a cruise vacation, consider taking your trip during the off-season. The peak travel season for cruises is usually in the summer months, and holiday weeks are usually popular as well. Because of demand during these times, cruise lines usually increase rates substantially.
Traveling in the winter, spring or fall can shave hundreds of dollars or more off of your trip. Plus, you can often enjoy fabulous weather and fewer crowds when you book a trip during the off-season. Altogether, traveling during the off-season can be far more enjoyable.
3. Pre-pay for Special Items
Cruise lines typically operate on an all-inclusive basis. However, you should know that not everything is actually included in your fare. You may have to pay to dine at certain restaurants on board, enjoy a spa treatment, buy alcohol on the ship and more. Many cruise lines let you pre-pay for some of these items before you travel. Additionally, you may be able to enjoy a discount by doing so.
Pre-paying also makes it easier for you to budget and manage your finances. However, some items may be available on board for a discount as well. Read consumer reviews to learn more about which special items you should buy ahead of time.
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4. Avoid Bundling Your Airfare With Your Cruise Tickets
Many people will travel to their departure point by car, but others will fly into the departure city. Another great tip to follow if you want to know how to save money on a cruise is to avoid bundling your airline tickets with your cruise reservation.
While it may seem convenient to make all of your travel plans through one company, this usually will not result in the lowest airline fares. You can easily shop around online to find a great deal on your airfare if you want to keep your travel expenses as low as possible. In fact, you could potentially save hundreds of dollars or more by following this important tip.
5. Pack Light
Many cruise vacations may take you away from home for one to two weeks. You may need multiple changes of clothes for swimming at exotic beaches, enjoying a fine dinner at a restaurant on board and more. While you may want to pack a unique outfit for each plan, it can be expensive to bring multiple bags with you.
Both the cruise line and your airline may charge an additional fee if you bring many bags. Pack light, and try to conserve clothing. Remember that some ships offer laundry service, so you may be able to have your clothes cleaned while on board.
6. Choose Excursions Carefully
Part of the fun of traveling on a cruise is getting off the ship and seeing the sights in new and exciting locations. Excursions can be booked to help you maximize your time at ports of call, but pay attention to the cost. You typically can book excursions through the cruise line or through an independent third party provider.
The rates can vary substantially, and some excursions provide you with meals and drinks as well. Compare the options carefully to find the best overall value before you make a reservation. However, take note that booking excursions through your cruise ship may come with other benefits.
For example, some cruise lines will hold the ship if your excursion booked through the cruise line is running late. This is not usually an option if you book your cruise through a third party.
7. Plan Ahead for Beverages
Your water, milk, juice and standard coffee beverages may be included with the cost of your cruise. Most cruise vacations do not include the cost of sodas or alcohol. Read the fine print before you book your cruise to learn what is and is not included in your fare.
Then, research shopping options to find the most affordable beverage solution for your needs. For example, you may be able to add an all-you-can-drink package to your fare for a nominal price.
8. Book Your Next Cruise on Board
You may decide that you love cruising so much that you want to do it again. When you want to know how to save money on a cruise, a great idea is to pay attention to onboard discounts. On the last day or two of your cruise, you may hear announcements about savings and specials if you make your reservation for your next cruise while still onboard.
Remember that you typically will need to pay a deposit toward the cost of your next trip. However, you usually will not need to pay for the full cost of your next vacation upfront.
Learning how to save money on a cruise vacation can help you to make your trip even more enjoyable. The last thing you want to worry about while vacationing is how much your trip costs. You can keep financial concerns at bay when you save money in different ways throughout your trip. Now that you know more about how to save money on your upcoming vacation, you can more confidently make your travel plans.