|10 ways to save money when cruising
5. Pack smart.
Savvy travelers who pack well can save a lot of money on last-minute
purchases. This sounds like a given, but when you're packing, it's
easy to talk yourself out of bringing more stuff, thinking that
you probably don't need it. If there is just a remote chance you
might need it, put it in.
Things like that extra bottle of sunscreen, bug spray,
an umbrella, a rain jacket or a sweatshirt will be very expensive
if you have to buy it on the ship or in port. Also, consider bringing
coordinating layers of clothes, because, while many destinations
are quite warm during the day, it can get cooler in the evenings,
and air-conditioned areas on the ship may be quite cool.
6. Track your
drinking and gambling. Alcohol and casinos are two major
cruise line profit centers, and many passengers get carried away
with both. If that's how you plan to relax, fine, but be aware how
potentially expensive both activities can be.
"Some onboard casinos offer free gambling lessons
where you can play craps and the other games with play money,"
says Eggers. "It's a way to get the experience of gambling
without spending money."
As far as soda goes, many cruise lines are offering
a flat-rate soda package for adults and children for the entire
voyage. You pay one fee and get as many sodas as you like instead
of each one costing $1 or more, Entin says. Frequently, ships offer
an alcoholic drink special of the day that will be discounted and
a bit cheaper than other drinks, Eggers says.
7. Watch out
for photos. Shipboard photographers will snap your photo
when you board and frequently throughout the voyage. Usually you
have to buy a package of photos, rather than just one, so the cost
can add up, says Miller.
"When I started cruising years ago, the photos
were $2.95, then they went up to $9.95 and $12.95, and now the packages
go for close to $20," says Entin. She recommends that you take
a camera and shoot your own pictures. If you want photos of your
group, friendly co-passengers will usually oblige.
8. Don't prepay
tips. Tipping is an expense that can really add up. Passengers
are expected to tip both their cabin attendant and assistant cabin
attendant and regular waiter and assistant waiter daily. Recommended
rates vary according to the cruise line, but $3.50 a day is generally
expected for the cabin attendant and $2.50 a day for the waiter.
Some cruise lines allow you to prepay your tips on
your shipboard account, which removes the hassle but doesn't give
you the opportunity to reward outstanding service or penalize poor
9. Call home
in port. Using the Internet or phone while on board a ship
can be incredibly expensive, says Entin, so save your calls or e-mails
for when you're in port. "I find an Internet cafe when I get
off the ship and check in that way," she says. You can also
buy prepaid phone cards so that you can make calls in port as well.
your account balance. Charging all of your extra expenses
to your shipboard account is convenient, but when you don't stay
on top of your bill, you can get a major shock when it comes time
to pay. Some cruise lines offer you the chance to look at your bill
on your cabin television so you can keep closer tabs on it. If not,
you can go to the purser at any time and ask to see how much you're