How to Cruise Economically

Taking a cruise vacation is a great opportunity to relax, have fun, visit landmarks, enjoy great dining and maybe learn something new. If you've ever considered this type of getaway but were discouraged by the price, read on to learn how to make cruising both an affordable and unforgettable experience!


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    Do your homework. Keep an eye on the travel section of the Sunday paper for deals and promotions, and browse the web for bargains. Checking cruise line websites frequently is also a good idea, as they may offer discount cruises to attract hesitant vacationers (especially around the holidays or slow travel seasons, which vary by destination).
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    Hire a travel agent. While the industry of these folks may seem like a dying breed nowadays, you can still secure some great deals on cruising with their help. As professionals, they will know how to find you the best rates, based on the size of your party and the type of cruise you are interested in booking. Finding a travel agent or agency that specializes in booking cruises is both helpful and your best bet.
    • Alternatively, you could consider booking the cruise yourself. This method is quicker and easier than using a travel agent and is fairly common practice with today's advances in online travel reservations. However, you may find it helpful to book the cruise with an experienced professional to ensure you find the best deal available, especially if your cruise is transatlantic or makes stops in international ports.
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    Book early. When cruising season reaches its peak, you'll be hard-pressed to find bargain deals. Reserving early allows you to choose from hundreds of available rooms at budget-friendly prices, as well as making reservations for meals at popular restaurants and amenities like spa treatments, shore excursions, and specialty classes.
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    Ask. Often is the case that you won't be told of special offers or discounts by a cruise line unless you specifically ask for them, so feel free to inquire about any ongoing promotions when booking.
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    Choose the right cabin. Doing so could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Just think to yourself - how much time will I be spending in my cabin anyway? Odds are you'll be out and about most of the day enjoying all the ship has to offer, or taking in a shore excursion. The cheapest cabins are typically small, windowless, and located on the lowest decks, but the benefits of cost outweigh the disadvantages. Unless money is no option or you'd like to splurge for a special occasion, don't even consider booking a suite. Large families or groups can save money by booking several rooms instead of one apartment-size suite.
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    Decide on where you want to go. This should be the final step and your personal travel tastes will likely influence this decision. American cruise lines make voyages to hundreds of destinations around the world, everywhere from the sunny Bahamas to the famed canals of Venice, Italy. A mid-winter cruise to the Caribbean may seem like a good idea to escape the cold, but if an Alaskan cruise with a tour of the glaciers is cheaper, consider saving the former trip for a later date.


  • Bring your own beer. Purchases of alcohol can add up quickly when enjoying your cruise, so why not bring it yourself. Pack it in a cooler, or stow a few bottles in your cabin's mini-fridge.
  • Consider purchasing a pre-paid "beverage card" for the duration of the trip. You may be shocked at just how quickly a soda here and a bottle of beer there can add to your bill, so it will set your mind at ease knowing all beverages are paid for in advance. This option is a good investment for soda-junkies, or a fun gift for frequent cruisers.
  • Beware of the minibar. Yes, that can of peanuts and bottle of Coke may be tempting to take, but they inquire additional and unnecessary snack costs to your cruise bill that can sometimes be in upwards of an astronomical $20 or more. Instead, stock up on snacks and drinks before you leave and bring them along to enjoy without breaking the bank.
  • Book your own private ground transportation to and from the cruise, as well as at ports of call. Doing so if much more cost effective then reserving transportation through the cruise line. However, make sure the company you are booking with is reputable, or authorized by the cruise line - you don't want to be left behind without your belongings if you get back to port late.
  • Pack a first-aid kit from home and keep it in your cabin, or a travel size kit that will fit in your suitcase. If you are prone to seasickness, purchase medications like Dramamine or items such as motion sickness wristbands along with the general supplies. You'll be glad you did if you experience minor symptoms and can avoid making a trip to the ship's medical office, unless you begin to feel worse.

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Categories: Travel Cruises | Reduce Travel Cost