You’ve worked hard saving for this magnificent cruise, so it’s understandable you also want to make sure your budget does the job on the voyage itself. Cruise lines are working harder than ever to help us all know what we are paying for and when we are expected to pay it, but with so many temptations onboard and onshore, control is key.

With that in mind, here are some handy hints to help you stretch your money to its fullest, and ensure you get the full value from the cruise you’ve booked.

Food and drinks packages

Even though cruising All Inclusive is all the rage these days, you’ll find that speciality restaurants or those with a celebrity chef’s name charge for meals separately. While prices tend to be reasonable, it’s understandable that you might want to settle this kind of thing in advance – the same goes for drinks, both alcoholic and otherwise.

Dining and drinks packages are often good value. A lot of the time you can have drinks delivered to your suite too, although you’re just as likely to enjoy a selection of teas, coffees, cocktails and beers at any number of bars onboard your cruise ship. Dining packages are a popular variation of onboard cruise credit for the same reason, giving you advanced bookings at a range of restaurants. Better still, packages such as these can be booked at the same time as your cruise, bolted onto your deal later or bought on the day of departure.

Unplug at sea

While cruise ships and their operators are working tirelessly to improve things like WiFi at sea, the charges to use connectivity often put some fans of low cost cruises on the back foot. Of course, for many of us that’s simply an invitation to unplug and get off the grid. There’s so much to do on your cruise ship that you likely won’t miss being connected to gadgets all day.

All about timing

Naturally, one of the biggest draws to cruising is the opportunity to get involved in shore excursions. Your cruise ship will bring you to many of the world’s most incredible and desirable locales in style and comfort.

Shore excursions as organised by your cruise operator offer the chance to see and experience these destinations with often exclusive tours and learning experiences. A great way to save long-term is to book your place on these before departure.

However, when your cruise ship slinks into port, you’re just as able to disembark and explore the destination in your own time, in your own way. That’s a very good strategy for those looking to control what you spend, where, and how.

Alternatively you can stay onboard the cruise ship at a given port. While the crowds are away you’re free to play and you’ll find that lots of prices onboard the cruise ship are cut to attract those staying behind.

While that means plenty of opportunities to shop the flash sales, you’ll often find that spa treatments also drastically drop in price during shore excursion days. Time it just right and you can bag a serious bargain that also gives you some of the best rejuvenating experiences to be had at sea.

A tip on tipping

A quick word on gratuities should steer you right, so here’s some advice. Cruise ship staff work hard to make our voyages enjoyable and the opportunity to tip is often presented. However, what is good to keep in mind is that when you pay for meals and services, gratuities are often added as standard in that price. As such, don’t feel obliged to tip unless you genuinely intend to. If you’re confused as to whether your cruise line is definitely following this practice, always feel free to ask.

Overall, there are plenty of ways to save money on your cruise. By keeping these tips in mind your budget will go further and you can enjoy your cruise in full, free from worry.

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We are acting as an agent on behalf of travel suppliers and your booking will be subject to the supplier’s terms and conditions. Prices may be subject to very limited availability and are correct as at the date and time of writing. Prices may go up or down from time to time. Prices quoted are for the dates, accommodation, board basis, departure points and number of persons sharing specified only and cannot be combined with any other offer. We reserve the right to amend any quotes given if there is a genuine error as soon as we become aware of it. We reserve the right to withdraw any offers without notice.