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How To Save Money On A Cruise By Just Being Prepared

Updated on October 10, 2014

All Inclusive loopholes

The way to save money on a cruise vacation, is just to be prepared.

So you are getting ready for your cruise, tickets and passports are ready. You are excited and can not wait! A lot of question are probably going through your head right now, what to pack, how much money should I bring, it says all inclusive right?

That is always the great selling point on cruise lines, is the all inclusive. You think that you are not going to be spending all this extra money on food, hotels, travel, etc. Perfect right? Well, it can be if you are aware of a few things.

First thing I would like to point out is drinks. Seems silly that this would be an issue, although I have traveled via cruises many times and the first time was horrible. They will give you drinks, milk, juice, tea with meals, but what do you do with the time in between. And honestly how many of us actually drink, juice, milk and tea anymore. What is not inclusive is soda. So if you are a soda junkie like most of us, no free drinks for you.

Now on the first day of you arrival on the cruise ship. After everyone goes to the deck and is shown the life boats, that look eerily like those of the titanic, they will have tables with cruise employees offering soda cups. Basically they give you a mug with their name on it, i.e. about 8 ounces at best. With this you pay around 6-8 dollars a day for unlimited drinks. Unlimited is a bit of a stretch since their bar tenders will see your mug and make you wait. There is not open fountain machines to get your own because heaven forbid a non-mug holder get some. You have to wait for the bartender to get all the paying customers and then miraculously he will see you sitting there.

Personally, after the first one and trying to find an open bar at 7 am, I opted for the bring your own approach. This may make me a cheap skate, however I always had my Diet Coke, whenever I wanted it. Between me and my ex-husband, we saved 112 dollars on an eight day cruise. Yes over a hundred, just on drinks alone.

Another thing to always remember on your trip is what you are actually going to use, i.e. tooth brush, cameras, hair spray, etc. They will charge you ungodly amounts for these simple things. In Cozumel, Mexico, I literally paid over 25 dollars for an underwater camera. So please keep that in mind as you are packing, go through your daily routine in your mind and pack accordingly.

Bottled water, seems harmless enough right? Over five dollars per bottle when it comes time to get off on one of your destinations! I do not recommend drinking or eating anything while you are in South America, unless it is a restaurant bar on the main strip. I know everyone wants to find that perfect place miles away that no one knows about, but remember they don't have health inspections and standards as we do. You do not want to spend the rest of the cruise in your cabin with the trots. I have heard it said, go where there is dogs hanging around back, they know where the good places are.

Also make sure to bring enough clothing so you will not have to do any laundry on board, the services are available, but at a high price, a very high price. You could also bring a small bar of laundry soap to wash out your bathing suit, just remember to pack an extra.

Bring a good nutrient rich shampoo and conditioner. If you go swimming on the boat, it will be in salt water that will dry your hair out horribly, so make sure you are prepared to combat that, no one wants their hairy dry and stringy in all your vacation photos.

So one suitcase of mine, every trip is full of drinks. May sound silly, but at the end of a trip you have an empty suitcase for all your treasures! You may need more than this, but it is a good start. Be prepared and keep these few things in mind. Also, I recommend booking "excursions" through your cruise line. Most are fairly priced and you can trust your safety on their need for future business. Thank you and happy sailings!


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    • ladyjane1 profile image

      ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

      Very sound advice that I will keep in mind. Cheers.