1. Pick the right line for you
Making sure you understand which cruise line, is essential to making the most out of you holiday at sea. First, you need to understand your budget and how much you’re willing to spend. Then you have to ask, am I travelling alone, or in a couple? Will I have my family with me? Considering the destination as well is important – do I want to sail locally or do I want to fly-cruise? These are all very important questions that you must ask yourself before picking the right line for you. Talking to a CLIA travel agent, will help making this decision a lot easier.
2. Grab an early-bird fare
There are lots of deals to be had if you book your cruise early. Most lines offer discounts as well as pre-paying gratuities and onboard credit which you can put towards drinks packages, shore excursions and more. You’ll also have the benefit of picking your preferred cabin which is ideal in peak season times like the school holidays.
3. Sign up for newsletters from travel agents and cruise lines
These are super handy when it comes to grabbing a bargain. These newsletters, which go out several times a week, comes out with daily deals and even specials like onboard credit. Lines like P&O Cruises have weekly deals, and other lines like Norwegian Cruise Lines regularly sends out their five deal offer where guests can get free specialty dining, onboard credit and more.
4. Pick the right shore excursions
Visiting the sites at your cruise destination is one of the quintessential parts of a holiday. Cruise lines off many shore excursions so make sure you do your homework and pick the ones according to your budget and interests. Booking through the line also ensures that if your shore excursion is running late, your ship will wait for you.
5. Enjoy all of the free activities
While it might be fun to try out the latest gadget on your ship, there are loads of free activities. Try your hand at line dancing, Zumba or the free entertainment. Most lines also have movies on the top deck and during the day and night. The cruise director will also hold trivia afternoons, head to the library or the sports court.
6. Do the maths on your drinks package
Before you purchase your drinks package, make sure you drink your money’s worth of alcoholic, soft drinks or extra-charge coffees and teas before you purchase. With many cruise lines, there is also a service charge of about 15 per cent. Lots of cruise lines also offer discounts on drinks package if you purchase before sailing. Some lines, even allow you to bring aboard your own bottle of wine so check with your ship what you can
7. Look for meal specials
It’s not such a bad idea, if your cruise ship has specialty restaurants, to purchase a dining package. It’s also advisable to book early, especially if your cruise is short. Another idea to save money, is try the specialty restaurants at lunch rather than dinner – the menus are usually cheaper than dinner.
8. Head to the dining room for breakfast
People forget that the main dining room is open for breakfast. Beat the buffet queues, which can be busy in the morning by ordering from the al la carte menu in the dining rooms. You can usually get freshly cooked eggs to order as well as a variety of breakfast items. For the health conscious, it also means you can get healthier alternatives for breakfast.
9. Buy a spa pass
If you love a bit of pampering, buy a spa pass into the ships’ thermal suite which gives you access to the saunas, steam room, hot bed, thalassotherapy pools and much more. It’s a lovely way to relax and unwind if you don’t want to pay the expensive prices for spa treatments. Make sure you get the passes early as cruise lines limit the number of passes they give out.
10. Look for the adults only pool
The pool deck can often be overcrowded with children running and jumping into the pool. Most cruise lines have an adults only pool aboard their ships so take advantage of this. These areas also have a bar usually attached to it so you can sip a cocktail while you’re sunning yourself. Some ships even have private cabanas which you can hire by the hour.