Keeping Money in Your Pockets Rather Than the Cruise Lines

May 29, 2014

Practical Tips from our Cruise Community…

Everyone likes to save money right?

A question frequently asked about cruising is that as it’s a ‘captive environment’ are you stuck paying what the cruise lines charge?

Well it’s a fierce debate and the answer isn’t always crystal clear – nevertheless we endeavoured to discover and pin down the very best ways to save money when you’re on your cruise.

We asked our online cruise community and here are just a handful of the best tips from their knowledgeable minds…


1. Buy bottled water in port

This tip comes from deedee9, who believes the charges for water aboard some cruise lines are “horrendous”.

To add to the savings, yesrock recommends that you keep the bottle and refill it either from the bathroom taps in your cabin or take a glass of water or two from your meal and fill it upon returning to your cabin.


2. (Norway Only): Alcohol may be cheaper on the ship & follow the local lead

Whilst this won’t always be true, Cooke has found that buying alcohol aboard the ship, as opposed to in port, is a decent way to save some money.

Cooke says; “Never, ever buy alcohol ashore in Norway. Do your drinking on the ship.”

As a final piece of advice, he recommends following the lead of the locals! “When you are looking for a place for coffee or lunch, go away from the touristy bits and choose somewhere with customers reading Norwegian newspapers. The locals won’t be ripped off!”

Solid advice Cooke, we’ll have to keep that one in mind…


3. Book your own excursions

Malcolm is confident in his advice as he proclaims; “One word: Excursions. Much cheaper to DIY when practical.” Of course, this doesn’t mean you should go off by yourself in a foreign country!

Make sure you know what time to be back at your ship and you know your way around – no good doing your own excursions if you’re going to get lost miles from home!


4. Pick your line carefully & be aware of charges

Experienced cruisers are more than wise to this advice but Norfolkboy feels it should be said. “Choose your cruise line sensibly before you book and check the small print.”

Many can get caught out by service charges that they weren’t keeping on top of, including gratuities and shuttle bus costs. Be sure you know what you will be paying for and what is a freebie before agreeing to anything!


5. Forget the room service!

The life of luxury is one everyone wishes to live – but if you’re on a budget, it’s best to forget about it! Room service is just one of those little luxuries you will have to miss out on if you want to cruise while watching the nickels and dimes!

Hawkinsmg puts this advice ever so eloquently; “Get off your bum and go and get a soft drink rather than paying to have it delivered to you.”

6. Taxis may be cheaper than shuttle bus

One that few would consider but Taffy recommends grabbing a partner and taking a taxi.

Some cruise lines offer free shuttle buses to and from popular tourist attractions whilst on excursions but the lines that charge to use a shuttle bus may find themselves being undercut by local taxis, especially when the price is halved with a partner! “Look at the price of a taxi rather than the shuttle. In some places even for two of you it works out cheaper – check out your tourist map to see if it has discount vouchers on it!”

Solid advice!

This also ties in nicely for those who’ve decided to DIY their excursions.


7. Cruise off-season

Sometimes the obvious advice can be the best. Topdeck simply recommends; “Cruise unpopular routes off season” which is great advice.

Many cruise lines discount sailings to fill cabins on the off-seasons and planning ahead for this just might be the best way to get a nice discount on your cruise!


8. Cut out the unessentials

Now this all depends on what you consider to be essential.

Our forum member jc says “a safe, room service or even a cabin number are not essentials to me.” Now this all depends on the cruiser – if you’re the type to keep valuables on your person at all times a safe is probably unnecessary. Also it should be noted that many cruise lines offer use of the safe for free – the exceptions being lines such as Thomson.

Likewise, room service is hardly a necessity and a cabin number is immaterial if you spend little to no time actually in your cabin – but as smtcan points out, a cabin below the buffet, for example, may result in some unwarranted awakenings from the busy crew working away above.


There’s plenty of ways you can potentially save money on your cruise and the above is just a handful of tips from our forum community – have any of your own?

Post them in the comments below and with any luck we can find the very best way to cruise on a budget!