A cruise is a wonderful, relaxing way to vacation. It can be affordable, too, if you know the right places to cut costs.
Step 1: Research and hire travel agent Research cruise lines to find those that go to your destination. Hire a travel agent who specializes in those lines. Be sure to ask about discounts offered by that line.
Step 2: Buy early and buy cruise-only Buy early, in the off-season, and buy a cruise-only package without airfare. Book your own flights and transfers because air-inclusive packages cost more.
Step 3: Book small cabin Book a small cabin without a view to save money. There are so many activities on the ship that you will hardly use your room.
Step 4: Be a VIP Ask your travel agent to tell the cruise line that you are a VIP and that you intend to be a frequent customer. You might be rewarded with a free upgrade.
TIP: You can purchase an on-board soda sticker for a set price and then enjoy unlimited quantities of soda while on your cruise.
Step 5: BYOB Bring your own alcohol on the cruise and you will save lots of money. Fill plastic bottles with liquor and then use your unlimited soda sticker for mixers. Bring wine and pay only a corkage fee at dinner.
Step 6: Secure your own ground transport and tours Secure your own ground transportation when in port, as well as your own private land tours. These measures will cost much less than cruise buses and tours.
Step 7: Watch out for cash-guzzling extras Limit your purchase of cash-guzzling extras, such as shipboard photos, bar purchases, and onboard art auctions.
Step 8: Purchase next cruise Purchase your next cruise while on your cruise. You will get a better deal on the package as well as more credits to use on the ship.
FACT: The Queen Mary, now harbored in Long Beach, California, had a 31-year career as a luxury cruise liner and World War II troop carrier.