So, even though the cost of cruising has become much more affordable, opening up the world’s oceans to the masses, that doesn’t mean everyone is able to readily splash the cash. Most of us are still watching the pennies and as we all know, even though the holiday’s paid for, you’ll always need your spending money for when you go ashore and of course, there are plenty of ways to potentially wave goodbye to your cash while aboard. OK, so we want to sit back and enjoy our hard-earned break and not simply spend our time watching every penny, but there are still some simple ways to save.
Stick to the buffet
Sticking to the main restaurants is the obvious way to save money, because you’ll always pay extra in the speciality ones. Standard of food is always a big deal for the cruise lines, so you won’t have to worry about the quality because no matter which line you travel with, cruise ship buffets always offer cuisine of a high standard.
Eat on the ship
On itinerary days, remember that providing your ship’s not moored miles from your port of call, you’ll save money by returning to it for a lunchtime snack. After all, your food is always included and even the cost of a small snack each day in a tourist-heavy area will soon mount up.
Buy a soft drinks package
If you drink alcohol, then you’ll rarely avoid paying extra on a cruise ship as alcoholic beverages are never included for free on mainstream ships. However, if your soft drinks are, or there’s a cheap soft drinks package available take it, because you can use your package as mixers for your alcoholic drinks, which works out cheaper than paying for them over the bar.
Bring a bottle
Most cruise lines now allow passengers to bring a bottle of wine or champagne each on-board. It may not seem like much of a cost-saver to do this, but for a couple bringing a bottle each, that’s about four nights where you can each enjoy a glass of wine before the meal from the comfort of your cabin, and avoid paying bar prices.
Say no to the casino
It may seem obvious, but if you’re the type who’s easily addicted, it’s best to avoid the on-board casino altogether! There are plenty of free on-board activities to help you put your gambling habit on hold for the duration of your holiday.
Bring lots of clothes (or your own detergent!)
If your other half enjoys making reference to the fact that you pack too many clothes when you go on holiday, here’s a valid reason why you should! You’ll always have to pay to wash your clothes in the on-board laundrette and while self-service options are very reasonable, if you’ve packed light, this can soon mount up. If you’re on a Mediterranean or Caribbean cruise, you’ll typically be able to pack lighter clothes, which means more changes. Alternatively, take a small bottle of hand-wash detergent and clean clothes in your bathroom.
Use the internet on land
The internet age has made keeping in touch with our loved ones easy, so unless you enjoy their traditional appeal, there’s no more need to send post cards which will arrive back in Blighty later than you. That said, internet costs on cruise ships are one of the most potentially cash-sapping areas, so if you want to keep in contact, find a shoreside café or public place in your port of call with a free Wi-Fi zone and get your social networking fill.
Make your own way
Though you may get some shore excursions included in your price, there’s nothing stopping you making your own way in most ports of call if you are a confident traveller. Even the simplest of city tours can set you back around $25 per person, so providing you do a little of your own research beforehand as to where you want to go and how you want to get there, you can explore at your own pace much cheaper, or even for free.
Put away those souvenirs
Every cruise ship you travel on will have its own shop, which though useful for those travel essentials will also stock all manner of trinkets and in some cases expensive boutique goods. A lot of lines set out bargain tables towards the end of each cruise, so it’s a good idea to wait until then to pick up your cruise ship memento. Authentic crafts from markets, shops and stalls at the ports which you visit sell all manner of items which can also make excellent souvenirs.
By Simon Brotherton