Many people think it’s impossible to have all the perks of a luxury vacation on a humble budget. Working at a cruise travel agency, I know for a fact that isn’t the case. If you plan ahead and know what to expect, your vacation can be all you’ve dreamed of. Follow along with these simple hints, tips and tricks, and you’ll get to experience a luxury cruise vacation, and you’ll have change to spare.
Cruisers come in all shapes and sizes, from huge multi-family groups to singles looking to see the world. However, the one thing they all have in common is they want a comfortable stateroom at a reasonable price.
- In the past single cruisers have had to contend with the dreaded single supplement fee. No longer. Some cruise lines are now featuring Studio staterooms on their ships. These are rooms designed specifically for one person. You can now cruise all by yourself without paying extra for space you’ll never use.
- On the opposite end of the spectrum are family cruisers. If you are trying to take a vacation with your kids, you really will want the help of a qualified cruise consultant, why, because they can help find the “kids sail free” sailings. Every now and then a few cruise lines offer this promotion, which makes a family vacation a whole lot sweeter. However, the cruise lines don’t schedule these sales regularly, so a travel professional is your best bet for finding these offers.
Do It First
There are many a la carte services on a cruise ship that allow you to choose what you participate in to suit your personal taste. These include spa services, specialty restaurants and onboard classes. These experiences are announced periodically during the cruise, so you just have to know when to look.
- For the best deals on specialty restaurants make plans to go the first night of the cruise. Usually cruisers spend the first night of their cruise in the main dining room, meeting their table mates and waiter, and the specialty restaurants are empty, so some ships will lower the price.
- While in port many people take advantage of the excursions and spending time in an exciting new place. If you choose to stay on the ship, or want to spend some time onboard before disembarking there are usually specials and discounts onboard at the shops, on spa services and on onboard classes or other services, such as onboard wifi.
- Be sure to check your daily cruise schedule for all the best deals and discounts, and don’t be afraid to ask the staff at the restaurants or spa if there will be discounts on port days or at special times.
While your cruise fare includes your room, entertainment and all the food you can eat, most cruises don’t include alcoholic beverages as part of the fare. Never fear though, because cruise lines have arranged a number of options to keep your bill to a minimum.
- Everyday there is usually a special drink or drinks that come with a special low price. Many times these drinks come in specialty glasses that you can take home. The many lounges onboard might also offer happy hour specials throughout the cruise.
- If you do enjoy soda or special alcoholic drinks while on vacation, it might be worthwhile to look into a cruise that offers drink packages. Again, this is when a travel agent can help immensely because they can help you find a cruise with this option, and calculate if a package would make sense based on your consumption plans. The drink packages vary between each cruise line, but they do allow you to have unlimited beverages for a flat fee per day.
- You can also bring a bottle of wine onto some ships, and don’t forget to attend the art auctions where champagne is complimentary. The Captain’s cocktail parties also usually offer attendees a drink to toast the voyage with.
Overall, cruises are one of the most cost effective vacation options available, because they include accommodations, gourmet meals and a wide variety of entertainment at no additional costs. On top of that, the cruise also serves as your transportation, so you can travel through a region of the world without booking a train ticket or renting a car. So when you are traveling on a budget, consider a cruise as one of your best ways to get out there without breaking the bank.
Do you have any cost saving tips and tricks for cruisers?
Erica Kritt works at The Cruise Web. The Cruise Web is a travel agency that specializes in cruising. The expert cruise consultants focus on providing travelers with the best value for their time and money in finding and booking a cruise vacation!
Cash Back Resources
Additional Travel Resources