The team here at www.CRUISE.co.uk love to save you money and we all know that the cost of cruising can quickly add up if you aren’t savvy with your cash!
Unclear fares, pricey shore excursions, unexpected port transfers, Wi-Fi costs and even the odd souvenir can add up to you spending hundreds more than you intended to on your cruise and the overall cost of your holiday.
We decided to investigate the best ways to save money on an average weeks cruise in the Med. Based on two people sharing, we came up with a guide that can save you up to £1700 on your holiday! Can you afford not to read this? We think not…
Once upon a time a cruise holiday was about relaxing at sea, far away from your usual life… But nowadays everyone is keen to Instagram their holiday adventures, update their Facebook status with pictures of them on-board and blog about their travels.
The thing is though, the average cruise Wi-Fi package is fairly expensive. In fact we worked out that, on average, a cruiser will spend $56 dollars for a medium package of Wi-Fi during a one week cruise. Between a couple that works out as $104 American dollars for your week’s voyage (or £71.95 at the current exchange rate!)
So how can you get around this cost? Well you might be surprised to know that many cruise terminals offer free Wi-Fi. As soon as you have docked and step off the boat you will often be able to connect to a free server to download your emails, send some messages and upload a few selfies.
You’ll also be able to have access to internet in many cafes and restaurants near your port. So after you’ve enjoyed your excursion, why not have one last coffee in a café on land that cater to internet hungry tourists. You can then cut yourself off from the real world until you next dock – which is a healthier option in our opinion… After all – you’re on holiday!
Money saved: £71.95
Shore excursions are a huge part of everyone’s cruise because few people take a cruise if they have no intention of visiting the shores of the ports they’re docking in! (Although sometimes it can be tempting to stay on the ship whilst it’s quiet and make the most of that suddenly empty Jacuzzi…)
But the problem is that shore excursions can quickly add up and up in price, especially if both of you intend to take several. For a Med cruise we worked out that the average 3 hour tour a cruiser takes will cost an average of £57 per person. In fact, some shore excursions we’ve seen cost well over $100 each for less than 3 hours… When you think that a couple will end up paying around £114 per shore excursion that will bring the total up to £456 if they take just 4 shore excursions during their trip.
So what are the alternatives, we hear you ask? After all, you wouldn’t go all the way to the Med to ignore the beautiful ports of call.
Well, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of alternatives to cruise line shore excursions. Firstly, you could do something for free. Lots of cities have self-guided walking tours where you can use your phone or a map to guide yourself around. If you put in the research before you travel you’ll be able to see the main sights of where you’re visiting all on your own, and go at your own pace – for free! There are even guided walking tours available in main locations that work on a tips only basis where you pay what you think the tour is worth or as much as you can afford. This means you can end up paying absolutely nothing at all!
If you don’t fancy walking around the city, why not see the city from a taxi? Local taxis at the port will often offer a guided tour for as little as £20 for two people, giving you transport around the city and the chance to see the best bits without tiring yourself out. If you do this in each port you visit, you’ll actually only spend £80!
Money saved: £376
Another way that cruisers lose money without even really thinking about it is in the cost of transfers. These can quickly add up, whether you get a cruise line provided transfer (at the average standard rate of around £10 per person per cruise) or a private transfer (of up to £20 per person per cruise.)
The answer? Look out for special deals when booking! You’ll often find that travel agents (such as ourselves!) include the price of transfers in certain bookings and you can often get packages that include all transfers as standard. This means that you’re saving up to £20 pp!
Money saved: £40
Some people can’t afford to be as flexible with their dates, but if you are willing to sail in January instead of August you’ll save an unbelievable amount of money!
Those of you who like to take a holiday in peak holiday season should make sure that you set sail before July 15th, which is roughly when school holidays begin. The difference between the peak holiday prices is staggering. You can expect to save at least £300 per person on the price of your cruise, and at least £150 per person for the flight!
When you look at it like that, why on earth would you want to sail in July or August!
Top tip: Those of you with children may have recently heard on the news about the government relaxing its rules on taking children out of school during holidays. Make the most of this whilst you can!
Money saved: £900
What’s better than having a massage whilst you look out to the breaking waves… But spa treatments at sea can be pricey, especially when you consider the fact you will often pay hefty service charges on top of the price of the treatment you’re having.
Our advice? Make use of the spa when the ship is in port! Near the end of your cruise you are likely to find that the last day you are docking sees the spa hit by a discount sale on treatments. As long as you didn’t have your heart set on visiting that last port, you can save up to 20%. When you consider the average treatment price is £60, that’s a whole £12 pp saved.
Money saved: £24
Gifts and Shopping
Everyone likes to buy a trinket to remember their cruise and many will go one step further and buy a luxury memento from the on-board shops. We’ve often spoken to cruisers who have decided to splash out on their voyage on a special memento such as a watch or necklace from the on-board jewellery store.
To save money, buy your souvenirs on the last night of your voyage – and never before! 9 times out of 10 this will be when the shops put on a sale of 10-30% discount on selected lines. You should also keep an eye out for which mornings will have the sales on; it’s all advertised in your cruise planner! Even if you only spend £50 in the shop – you’ll save £5 each and after all, everything adds up!
Money saved: £10
Drinks Package Savings
Those of you who are really money savvy should also consider taking a drinks package that is good value for money. We all like a cocktail every now and then, but a couple a day could end up costing you a lot of money – as could a high end drinks package!
Our advice? Book a drinks package that is worth your money, such as the MSC Allegrissimo package that is only £22 pp and includes wine, beer, ice cream, lattes, branded drinks and bottled water. In contrast, a higher end drinks package from the likes of Celebrity could costs you $62.10 per person per day which works out as £295.47 each a week, as opposed to £154 each on MSC.
You can find out more about cruise line drinks packages here!
Money saved: £282.94
Total money saved: £1700.89
So the team here at www.CRUISE.co.uk have now saved you a whopping £1700.89 on your cruise!
Disclaimer: Prices were based on an average fare worked out from 29 different cruise lines where applicable. All prices were correct at time of press.
So what do you think of our money saving tips? Would you try them? Have any worked for you in the past? Let us know in the comments below!