Our family loves to take cruises. It is one of our favorite ways to vacation. Taking a cruise that stops at several different ports is an easy way to explore more than one destination during a single trip. Plus, there are so many ways to relax – which I love to do! Here are some of our ways to save money on a cruise vacation.
5 Ways to Save Money on a Cruise
Pack Everything You Need
As an avid traveler I try to pack light for most of my trips. In most cases my motto is “whatever you don’t bring you can always purchase at a store”. If you are taking a vacation to another city within the United States, that’s a fact. But when you take a cruise the prices of items on board are inflated. What you spend $2 on at home might cost $8 on a ship, no joke.
Common items forgotten:
- after-sun lotion
- motion sickness preventative
- water shoes – required on some excursions
- bug repellent – if visiting rain forest
- bathroom essentials
- lightweight sweater – for cool nights
Check the list of required items for your planned excursions. Some require you to wear specific shoes, such as water shoes. When we visited Belize we needed bug repellent. This was much cheaper to bring with us than to purchase there. Also a sun hat or ball cap is good to have, hair ties or clips if you have long hair, comfortable walking shoes and a water proof camera are among some of my must-have items.
Take Souvenirs & Fun Gear
Everyone loves to buy their souvenirs on vacation. We are no different. We collect Christmas ornaments and magnets from many of our destinations. However, kids often get a lot more excited about owning something new when on a trip. Packing our own little goodies for the kids came in handy when we traveled on a Disney Cruise. I headed to our local Disney Store Outlet and picked up cute stuffed animals and sticker books on clearance. Then I surprised them with the items on their bed at night.
The Dollar Tree sells Disney themed notebooks and pens for autographs for only $1!
Some other items we suggest you pack from home for your cruise are:
- snorkel items – This prevents you from having to rent them, plus you know if they are clean!
- sand toys – We buy a bundle of sand toys for $10 before each cruise, then toss them or donate before heading home. I’ve seen single sand buckets go for $12 on a cruise ship.
- autograph books for kids when taking a Disney Cruise
- treats, candy or snacks – To have during the evening shows and prevent buying expensive concession candy
Bring Your Own Soda
During dinner and around the ship you can get complimentary juice, tea, coffee and water. To avoid paying the higher price for soda, bring your own.
Each cruise line has specific rules for bringing your own soda, water and alcohol on board. Check the guidelines for your cruise during planning. Most cruise lines allow you to bring up to a six pack of canned soda per guest at no charge. Some cruise lines offer a bottled water package where you can pay ahead of time to have water sent to your state room.
Our family views soda as a treat and rarely purchase it, however I know there are some that can’t go a day without their caffeine. By bringing your own soda and using their free ice, you’ll save a ton!
Cruise During Off Season
If possible plan your cruise during the school season. It is a fact that cruise rates are much lower when public schools are in session. You can avoid the hurricane season and still vacation during the off season. Check prices for cruises between January thru April, avoiding the week of spring break. We have taken four night cruises when the kids had a four day weekend from school and still received great savings compared to the summer.
Signup for Notifications on Savings
Subscribe to the newsletters to receive alerts from each cruise line you are interested in. You will be notified about their sales and start to learn the patterns of when cruises are less expensive. Some cruise lines offer a much discounted rate by booking in advance, whereas some offer huge discounts on last minute bookings to fill their cabins. Also find a travel agent that you trust to watch the prices for you.
Have you taken a cruise vacation? Where was your favorite port?