Cruising on a Budget – 8 Tips for Affordable Luxury at Sea

Cruises are synonymous with luxury, offering formal nights, lavish dinners, and attentive crews.

However, they can be budget-friendly too. Often, a cruise is more economical than an overseas vacation or a London city break. Explore our top-budget cruise tips if you’ve dreamed of cruising but are worried about costs.

Top Tips For Budget-Friendly Cruising

1. Understand cruise inclusions:

Cruises may seem pricey initially, but they often encompass a lot in their cost, making them more economical in the long run. However, it’s crucial to understand what’s included. Primary inclusions comprise accommodation, meals, entertainment, and activities.

Some may go further, providing beverages, room service and Wi-Fi. This variability can complicate price comparisons. Cruise lines frequently offer enticing promotions, from discounts to free perks like speciality dining or excursions, enhancing the overall value of your cruise.

Keep an eye out for these ongoing deals to maximize your cruise experience.

2. Consider smaller vessels:

New cruise ships are typically larger and more impressive, generating excitement among regular cruisers who are willing to pay a premium.

However, for many, the extra cost isn’t justified unless they plan to utilize onboard amenities fully. Smaller ships like the ones you can see here from Aqua Expeditions, equally well-maintained, offer unique charm and budget-friendly options.

3. Opt for lower-priced cabins:

Choosing a modest cabin, like an interior room, on a cruise can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Despite having no windows, they offer superb amenities, stewards, and 24-hour room service. Since you’ll be busy with onboard activities, you won’t spend much time in your cabin.

If you prefer a view, consider ocean view or porthole staterooms for savings.

4. Plan your cruising budget:

To cruise economically, first determine your budget, which can vary due to cruise inclusions.

All-inclusive cruises seem pricey but cover drinks, wifi, and tips, while budget options require extra spending on these items, even water.

All cruises include basics like accommodation and meals, but factor in flight, pre-cruise hotel, excursions, and onboard expenses. Savvy cruise planning can definitely save money.

5. Time your booking wisely:

The ideal time to secure a cruise is when itineraries first become available, often 18 to 24 months before sailing. This offers the best rates and a wide selection of ships and cabins.

Different cabin locations within categories come at varying prices, with central ones costing more. Booking early ensures access to cheaper cabins, as they sell out fast. If you can’t plan so far ahead, consider booking last minute through aggregators or directly with your preferred cruise line.

Keep in mind that last-minute deals are not always reliable, but around 12 weeks before departure, cancelled reservations may open up opportunities.

6. Dine and imbibe economically:

Cruise experiences revolve around dining and drinking, with numerous restaurants and bars on modern ships. Trying different venues is a cruise highlight. However, for budget-conscious travellers, there are complimentary options included in the cruise fare.

Expect a main dining room for sit-down breakfast and dinner (possibly lunch as well). Buffets and snack bars offer free meals most of the day. Non-alcoholic beverages like water, tea, milk, and juice are complimentary, while free alcohol can be found at events like art auctions, shopping galas, casino demos, and the captain’s dinner.

Consider pre-purchasing an unlimited drink package for savings on speciality drinks like fresh juice, coffee, etc.

7. Avoid unnecessary onboard expenses:

It’s entirely feasible to avoid additional expenses on your cruise after purchasing the ticket. However, overspending is a risk, leaving you with a hefty bill. Cruise companies count on onboard spending. Opportunities abound, like pricey spa services.

To save, pamper yourself before boarding. The ship offers numerous spending chances, particularly on sea days, from souvenir cup drinks to internet packages, speciality restaurants, and shore excursions. With all expenses linked to your cruise card, losing track is easy.

Before sailing, identify extra costs and budget solely for essentials. If professional photos aren’t affordable, skip them to resist temptation later.

8. Benefit from discounted child rates:

Planning your first family cruise? Kids pay full adult fares, but it’s justified with abundant entertainment and youth team care from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Keep an eye out for ‘kids cruise free offers’ to save.

These deals often align with school schedules, providing a perfect opportunity for a family cruise during the few weeks when your kids are out while cruise lines think they should be in school.

Final Words:

A cruise offers an economical means to visit multiple places in one journey. Despite its extravagance, it can be a budget-friendly choice considering all the inclusions. Seek deals and understand your cruise package to avoid unexpected expenses.

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