Ensuring Your Cruise Vacation Doesn’t Become a Money Pit

When you really know what you’re doing, taking a cruise can be one of the most economical vacations available. Your price typically includes cabin, all meals, entertainment, kids’ programs, gym/sauna, jogging track, and other amenities. However, there are some very important pointers you must follow to prevent your cruise vacation from becoming a yawning money pit you will greatly regret.

1) Do your homework or get your travel agent to do his/her homework in comparing cruise lines and cruise packages. There is a vast array of them. Make darn sure the quote includes port fees and taxes. Many a traveler has had their bubble burst when they realized the price they were quoted was the basic cost before fees.

2) Don’t forget to figure in airfare. You’re way ahead of the game if you don’t live too far from cruising ports. But, if not, try to schedule far enough in advance to get the most discounted airfare possible.

3) If you book months ahead, sometimes you can get in on good cruise discounts. However, if your schedule is flexible, then try to book during the last few weeks before a cruise. They’re trying to fill their ship then and you can get hefty discounts. Also, if you don’t mind a windowless cabin, book an inside cabin at a cheaper rate.

4) Look for cruises where kids go free. As I wrote this article, I noticed several kids-go-free offers. Majestic American, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Costa offered a cruise free for kids under 12 and Disney offered a free cruise for kids under age 17. You can’t beat offers like this.

5) There are other possible discounts. If you’re over age 50 you may get 10% off. If you book eight cabins with friends or relatives, you may get your cabin free. Or you can ask to be included in an unknown group. Of course, on-board you won’t have to be run around everywhere with the group, but the group may have booked a 9:00 p.m. dinner table and you would be registered at that table. So make sure you know details like this.

6) A few little-known tips: If you go on an older ship the cruise may cost less. Also, if a cruise ship is being repositioned to another location, you can get large discounts on that voyage. Ask about this when you book. If you decide to purchase cruise insurance, try to purchase it from an insurance company, not the cruise line. It can be less expensive.

7) You can save money if you’re okay with exploring a port of call without paying for on-shore excursions. The excursions can put a big dent in your wallet fast. If you want better on-shore excursion rates, visit www.johnnyjet.com for various official tourism port websites. Set up your on-shore excursions directly through them. Also Google for coupon books such as the Great Alaskan Toursaver. This can save you lots of dough.

8) To save, you can avoid on board pay-to-play activities like the betting, wine-tasting, art auctions, etc. Bring a decent camera for memorable photos. The professional photos on board cost a fair amount. Buy internet use at a port if possible; on the ship, they charge per minute. If you’re on a budget, don’t get carried away with the booze. A bar tab can get out of hand real quick. Even water and soda are costly, so, if you want, bring your own water bottle or coffee mug and fill-er- up at the self-serve buffet.

9) In brief, almost everything costs more on the ship. So bring plenty of toiletries, sundries, camera film, etc.

10) What’s my final tip? What did you expect? Cruise lines want to grab customers for life so they usually offer nice reward programs if you book your next cruise with them. So keep a record of your prior cruise(s) and see what discounts or rewards you are offered.

Source by Debra Fortosis



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