While the focus of the article was how to save money on onboard cruise expenditures… step 1 was to start off by booking a great deal.
While we believe there is a much bigger savings to be had when booking your cruise, we do have some suggestions to help you save money while cruising.
The reality is to fully enjoy your cruise experience you are going to have onboard expenditures. During the booking process if you can find a deal with onboard credits, this will offset any expense onboard, which is certainly a good start minimizing your onboard bill.
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Once you’ve gotten past the booking process, there are a few ways to economize without letting your experience suffer.
First among these is booking your shore excursions with an independent operator—some of which provide both savings compared the cruise line prices and with fewer participants for a more intimate experience. These can be found online, but it’s important to use a trusted company that offers a guarantee to make it back to the ship— we recommend using Shore Excursions Group… they have great deals and have miss the ship guarantee. We see more and more people booking their shore excursions outside of the cruise line, either work with your travel agent to find a trusted independent excursion provider or use Shore Excursions Group.
Bar prices, especially for top-shelf and specialty drinks are seen by many as having moved from “pricey” to “unreasonable.” This increase in bar prices has made Celebrity Cruise Lines Adult drink packages seen as a good value by many cruisers even though it’s still fairly pricey. At least the guest is not seeing the cost with every order and they know their maximum expenditure.
The worst value for your money on the cruise ship is Wi-Fi. Most people are used to high speed connections at little cost… paying money for very low speeds can add undue stress to your vacation. We recommend that you use the poor service as an excuse to totally disconnect while cruising. We are connected 24/7, so a vacation is the one chance to unplug—it’s good for your body, mind, and in this case your wallet to completely disconnect.
The Spa. While the spa services are expensive compared to local day spas, they are in line with resort spas. People who are into the spa experience get it and are willing to spend the money. To save the most money on spa treatments, get your spa treatment on the day you board the ship. You kick your vacation off by getting relaxed and save some money. Spa treatments are usually less expensive on port days.
Private Cabanas. This is a new item on the premium and luxury cruise ships as well as at some of the private islands. It is growing in popularity… once again, a great way to save money on Cabanas is to rent them during a port day.
Behind the Scenes tours seem to sell out, but for veteran cruisers this feel like something that used to be available without a cost that they are now charging for. Most experienced cruisers balk at paying for the these tours.
There are some onboard expenditures that our guests think are a good value, here are a few of those:
Specialty dining: While not spending a dime on food on a cruise vacation is always an option, we do find that most cruisers do like to treat themselves to a specialty dining restaurant at least once per cruise. This is a highly satisfying experience and often can be a key highlight that’s well worth the cover charge.
Royal Connect: On the Allure & Oasis of the Seas, they offer I-Phones to rent for a cost of $30 per week. They can be used to call each other phones and stateroom. In addition, they feature GPS which tells you where your other phones are, and they display the daily itinerary. They sell out within hours on the first day – you have to go to the conference center to rent them. The people who had the phones on my last cruise LOVED them and the people who did not have them were so jealous.
After hour Baby/kid Sitting Services. Many of the cruise lines are offering after hours programs and child watching programs at additional costs that many parents love. It gives them time to watch the show, hit the casino, or just enjoy some alone time after dinner.
We recommend being very familiar with the daily itinerary. Take full advantage of all the entertainment and activities included in the price of your cruise. Taking part in the activities and watching the shows will keep you from spending idle time at a bar for that time period. Plus, it is included in the price of your cruise so get your money’s worth!
Please comment if you have any suggestions on saving money while on cruising!
post written by:Rich Tucker, CruiseDeals.com’s social media manager & cruise price tracker.