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How to Get Free Stuff on Your Next Cruise Ship Vacation

Updated on October 5, 2018
Paddygsound profile image

As an experienced cruiser, I've got tons of tips to make your next cruise vacation a breeze.

How to get free stuff on your next cruise

I think we are all aware that cruising can be a little expensive if you are not careful but damned if it is not one of the most enjoyable types of vacation out there.

When it comes to getting free stuff or keeping costs down on your cruise holiday, the thing to remember is that the crew are there to help you enjoy your experience and leave you with only positive memories. They will always be willing to offer at the very least an extra glass of champagne to their little helper. You might even find a little treat back in your room like for us it was a plate of delicious chocolate dipped strawberries. I have heard some will even arrange for some bubbly to be sent to your room as a thank you. You might even get a few free tickets in the art raffle or a free meal at one of the ships speciality restaurants.

You’ll likely find yourself thoroughly surprised by the generosity of some of the entertainment crew.

It is Time for Some Culture

My first tip, be ready to have fun, with a willingness to stand up and participate in events throughout the ship, comes the opportunity to not only have fun but win prizes and gain opportunities for discounts. Be willing to volunteer for a few events during your cruise, even if it is just something small. If you are at one of the art exhibit events held on the ship and they are looking for a volunteer put your hand up.

You’ll likely find something for free that will tickle your fancy at the art auctions. It is pretty standard for the auctions to supply you with some free champagne and usually some free art prints, a free piece of art or a ticket in a raffle.

Participate to Win

Another way to get free stuff is to take part in activities throughout the ship. Keep an eye out for competitions that can take place anywhere on board.

For instance, one cruise-line runs a competition game show that is called Love and Marriage, this game show can be a real laugh as well.

There is also the World Biggest Belly Flop competition, which is exactly as named, hahaha. You will likely see some unique examples taking part but if belly flops are your hidden skill, you can come out of it with not only a red belly but a little prize, usually a little plaque trophy and maybe a free drink.

If all else fails there is the always trusty game of Bingo. It's not free but the prizes are really good and it is heaps of fun.

Wine and Dine

The next option, if your ship offers the chance, is to check out the Captain’s Cocktail Party, where those that attend get a great chance to meet the person that commands the ship that you are travelling upon. You will also get the opportunity to meet some of the other officers that work on the ship.

Once in attendance of this event you will able to get yourself some free drinks and anything else that is on offer.

Shop Till You Drop

Another cool option to get yourself something for free is to shop at the what are called preferred stores in the ports that your ship pulls up at. These stores will usually throw in a free necklace, charm or some sort of keepsake. These puppies will make for a decent reminder of your trip, I’m sure.

Liquor tasting is another option on the ship that you can take the opportunity to get something for free. Yeah, I know what your thinking… that I should probably rename this article how to get free booze, but that is pretty typical of this kind of travel opportunity. Typically on the 1st night of the cruise (depending on when you reach international waters, usually) and it is usually around the store section, where the booze shop usually is.

Really this article should be renamed how to get drunk for free on a cruise, now I think about it… hahaha, what do you guys think?

The next option for getting free stuff is the sitting in on the sales pitches and forums that they offer on board. This will give you the opportunity to get some free samples, but be mindful that they are there to sell you something so they may try a few sales techniques on you and if your not careful they might sign you up for something that you didn’t really want to be signed up to.

You might even spot the occasional taster session for massages which is a great opportunity to get a bit of a free massage. Though you might be left wanting more after they stop with the free sample. It is a great way of having some time to get to know the different massage techniques available.

The main thing to remember when on a cruise is to make sure you read your daily cruise planner so that you have that as a guide in your mind when trying to find out where the bargains and freebies are on your cruise vacation.

Bonus Tip for Travelers

I personally find that the really free stuff comes around after you have cruised with the same cruise line a couple of times.

Once you have been on at least one cruise with the same cruise line, you will usually be enrolled in a loyalty program. Make sure that you take up the opportunity.

Once enrolled you will have the chance to get not only free drinks but you’ll also get free bottles of water or even little treats in your stateroom. These free things are there to ensure that you stay loyal to that cruise line. They might even give you the opportunity to dine at one of their specialty restaurants at a discounted fee.

The other benefit of loyalty programs is that once you have cruised with them once or twice you get access to things like priority boarding, which is great if you want to take some of the fuss out of embarkation day.

If you want to take some more of the fuss out of embarkation day, see my article How to Take the Stress out of Embarkation Day on Your Cruise Holiday.

Take the opportunity to complete comment cards etc. when they hand them out as they can give you the chance to win a free cruise and who can say no to that.


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    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      4 weeks ago from Norfolk, England

      It sounds like you can pick up some good freebies from cruises. I'd love to go on a cruise.

    • nilzamarie profile image


      4 weeks ago from Los Angeles, California

      I went on my first cruise last December and loved every second of it. If you go to a sales pitch session being firm you aren't buying anything it can be really fun to try the product out. I got a facial attending one of those sessions!

      Another tip, make sure you share you are celebrating something when you buy your cruise experience. Many give a small gift and coupons.


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