25 secrets that cruise lines will not tell you: save money on your cruise!
January 5th, 2017 by Francesca Bandini
January 5th, 2017 by Francesca Bandini
1. Staying in a hotel the night before your cruise could save you a lot of time and money: spending the night before embarkation at a hotel guarantees a stress-free embarkation day, but may also save you a lot of money in terms of car parking. Hotels close to the ports often offer a stay with parking package.
2. Get ready for your excursions: have a good breakfast before your excursions, you can then have a light bite and save money ashore.
3. Have tea/coffee where it’s free: most cruise ships provide complimentary hot beverages all day in the main buffet area or dedicated areas of the ship.
4. Drink plenty of water during meals: if you didn’t purchase a drink package it is wise to choose water over soft/alcoholic drinks as it is free of charge. Limit your drinking during the pre or after dinner show.
5. The earlier the better: normally Early Saver Fares are the best option to get more value out of your booking. On the down side, sometimes you are limited on your dining choice and cabin number.
6. Time of the year matters: you should avoid to go on a cruise in peak season if you can. It’s advisable to avoid school holidays, mid-summer, and festivities.
7. When more is less (for you): gather your friends on the same cruise ship, not only do you double the fun but you will almost certainly get a space for free – when you book at least 15 people on board.
8. Check Excursions: think twice before booking an excursion as they can be very expensive. You can search if other excursions organised by other operators are cheaper.
9. You really can eat as much as you want, even at the main restaurant: did you know that you can order however many courses you want for your meals? You can have two mains or three desserts etc. You really are the master of your meals.
10. Embarkation day – special meal: some cruise lines provide discounted prices on speciality dining restaurants on embarkation day. Avoid the queue of people in the main buffet area and try something different at a reduced price.
11. Get the best service: travel agents guarantee a more personal and attentive service, for example at OWT we like treating our customers with chocolates and bubbly.
12. Wait for the right time to book: it can be tricky to know when it’s best to book, there is no a general rule! We would suggest the earlier the better, but keep an eye on last minute availability, you may end up grabbing a very good deal.
13. Cabins’ secrets: you can always use more space in your cabin, especially if you are on a long haul. You may actually be surprised at the vast amount of storage space (e.g. under the bed or the sofa). Ask your chamber maid for help.
14. Duty-free stores: as everyone knows duty free stores have great prices. This is a great way to buy presents for family and friends and also stock up on products such as alcohol and cigarettes. Be aware that on mini cruises those shops are usually shut.
15. Buy a bottle of wine (or more): if a bottle of wine feels more expensive than some glasses, you should do some maths. In fact, a bottle of wine is normally the cheapest option. Don’t worry if you are not a big drinker, waiters can keep your unfinished bottle and deliver it to your cabin or bring it to your table the next time you dine.
16. Bring your alcohol on board: most of the cruise lines allow you to bring a limited quantity of selected alcoholic beverages on board. This will allow you to save considerably, but make sure you check your cruise line alcohol policy.
17. Room service is free: want to have a lazy morning or lunch, ask for the room service. This is normally free of charge.
18. Book your next cruise whilst still on board: wash away the holiday blues by booking your next cruise whilst still on a cruise ship. In fact, on board bookings guarantee you extremely advantageous fares.
19. Park smartly: parking at the port can be expensive, however there are often alternative ways to park your car securely. For example, we offer a very convenient car park in Southampton located near the airport, guests can enjoy a free transfer to the port on a high-end minibus. The service is impeccable, save your money and time, as you don’t need to drive down the port.
20. Make your way to the port early: get to the port earlier, the day before your cruise commences is ideal, you can take this chance to explore a new city as well. In case of fly cruises, you may think of flying a couple of days earlier, especially if the departure point is interesting. Ask your travel agent for advice, they will find the best hotels at the lowest prices for you.
21. Know where to book your flights: adding your flights through a cruise line might not be the best option. Do your research to find out if buying your own tickets is cheaper.
22. Get a bargain on shore: be clever when visiting foreign countries, prices ashore might be even more competitive than those on board. Take full advantage of the lower currency value.
23. SPA special offers: during your stay the SPA will promote a different deal every day, e.g. “Today 20% off on facial massage”, keep an eye on the journal so you can check when your favourite treatment gets discounted
24. Free postcards on board: postcards are normally free in staterooms, they are placed together with other documentation in your cabin desk or sideboard. It might not seem very exciting to send a postcard with a ship picture but it’s a good souvenir if you have forgotten someone in back home!
25. Free bottle of water: most of the cruise lines provide at least one complimentary bottle of water in any cabin’s fridge. Be clever, it might be very useful during excursions.