7 Money Saving Cruise Secrets I Wish I Knew Sooner

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As an avid cruiser, I must admit that I’ve recently discovered some overlooked opportunities to save money while sailing the seas.

In this blog post, I’ll share seven insider tips that have revolutionized my approach to cruising, helping me keep more cash in my pocket without sacrificing the quality of my vacation experience.

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Smart Ways to Save Money on a Cruise and Still Have a Great Vacation

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1. Cruise Early in the Season

In the past, I tended to avoid cruising during off-peak seasons due to concerns about less than ideal weather and temperature.

However, a recent Mediterranean cruise aboard the Sun Princess in March challenged my assumptions. Not only did we enjoy delightful weather and fewer crowds, but we also snagged discounts of up to 50% on tourist attractions while in Athens, Greece.

Cruising early in the season turned out to be a win-win for both enjoyment and savings. In fact, you can also anticipate lower cruise prices at the beginning of the Mediteranean, Alaska and itinerary sailings.

Related: 10 Things I Wish I knew Before Going on my Mediterranean Cruise

2. Skip Specialty Dining and Extras

While specialty dining can add a touch of luxury to your cruise experience, it’s not essential for a memorable trip.

This advice actually came from a friend who recently went on her first cruise onboard Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas. Her reasoning to dine exclusively at included venues on their first cruise, was that since they have nothing to compare to, they might as well take advantage of the free food options.

If you’re trying to save money on a cruise, its good to remember that the main dining room, buffet, and casual eateries offer plenty of delicious options without the added expense. Skipping the extras can significantly lower your overall cruise costs.

Related: 20 Rookie Cruise Questions that You Were to Embarrassed to Ask

3. Avoid Cruise Line Excursions

As a cautious traveler, I used to be wary of booking shore excursions independently. However, I recently booked an excursion with a reputable third party tour provider and was very satisfied.

Not only were their prices of more competitive, but we also enjoyed smaller group sizes and reliable service. Plus, with thousands of real passenger reviews available, it’s easy to find excursions that suit your preferences and budget.

4. Do Your Own Laundry

While onboard laundry services can be convenient, they often come with hefty price tags. Opting to use self-service laundry facilities on the ship proved to be a cost-effective alternative.

By tackling a couple small loads of laundry myself, I saved money and ensured that I had fresh clothes throughout my cruise and beyond.

Related: 50 Cheap Cruise Travel Hacks for Every Cruiser

5. Leverage Cruise Line Status Match

For frequent cruisers, leveraging status match programs offered by select cruise lines can lead to additional perks and discounts. By matching my loyalty status with MSC Cruises, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean and Virgin Voyages, I’ve enjoyed benefits such as onboard credits and cabin upgrades, enhancing the overall value of my cruise experience.

Keep in mind that cruise line loyalty programs have different terms and conditions, and can change. Be sure to check before booking a cruise with a new cruise line.

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6. Book Approximately 90 Days Before the Cruise

While booking early is ideal, scoring last-minute discounts is also possible. Approximately 90 days before departure, cruise lines often adjust prices based on cancellations and ship occupancy.

Monitoring prices around this time can lead to significant money savings for savvy travelers.

7. Optimize Cabin Upgrades

The price of your cruise largely depends on the cabin category you choose. To maximize savings, book the lowest category you’re comfortable with and keep an eye out for stateroom upgrade opportunities.

From bidding for upgrades to inquiring about availability onboard, there are various strategies to secure a better cabin without breaking the bank.

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Final Thoughts

Cruising doesn’t have to be a budget-busting vacation! By implementing these money-saving secrets, you can enjoy unforgettable adventures at sea without overspending.

Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a seasoned sailor, optimizing your cruise experience to prioritize value can lead to incredible savings and priceless memories.

Happy Cruising!


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