A modest budget does not mean that you have to put off your need for a cruise, you just have to be smart about how you spend it.

With the right strategy, you might find yourself getting on board sooner than you think for your quick getaway.

We share with you 10 ways to cruise on a budget.

Take a local cruise

Cruising close to home often works out to be cheaper as we have many cruise lines sailing in the region and you’ll also be able to save on airfares. When you cruise local, domestic flights and short distance flights to the South Pacific and New Zealand are cheaper than international flights to further cruising destinations.

If you live within driving distance of a homeport with an itinerary you want to sail, even better, no flights involved!

Find discounted cruises

There are many ways to find cruise discounts throughout the year. The most common one is last minute deals when lines are trying to fill the empty cabins close to sail date. However, this one requires one to be on a flexible schedule and the ability to travel at short notice.

If you need to plan ahead, look out for early bird discounts. Sign up for cruise line’s email newsletters to stay informed whenever a sale comes around.

Repositioning cruises are also often offered at a discount. These cruises take place when a ship moves to a new region due to the changing seasons and can feature quite a few sea days. This is perfect for cruisers who are content with enjoying what the ship has to offer.

Travel during off peak season

The South Pacific’s peak cyclone season runs from November to April and cruises to the South Pacific in this period are one of the cheapest of the year. The catch is the when a storm pops up on the radar, the captain will alter the itinerary to avoid it so you might not get to visit the originally scheduled ports.

Cruising outside the school holiday season is also a good way to book a cheaper cruise and also sail with fewer kids onboard.

Look at popular mass market cruise lines

Lines like Carnival Cruise Line, P&O Cruises Australia, Royal Caribbean and Cruise & Maritime Voyages offer the biggest selection of affordable cruise options locally. Their ships also larger which means that they have more cabins to fill and the ship is decked out with free facilities to keep you entertained while you’re out at sea.

Keep it short and sweet

Short three to five-night cruises are one of the best options to get yourself onboard on the smallest budget. Lines like P&O Australia also offer themed short cruises such as comedy cruises, music, Dark Mofo and more.

Book an inside cabin

Inside cabins are the most affordable cabins on most cruises. The inside cabins do not have windows and often come with the basics. But it really is all you need when you don’t spend much time in your cabin during the day.

Eat at included dining venues

Most cruise lines have a couple of dining options that are included in your fare. In general, they would have the buffet, the main dining room and a few other casual eateries. Some even serve food all day like the 24/7 Pizzeria Del Capitano on Carnival. You should be able to enjoy all main meals, snacks, dessert without spending extra on a cruise.

Find the freebies

There are many free things do to on a ship. Find a sun lounger poolside or on the deck to relax, go bar and lounge hopping, get pampered in the thermal suite and saunas, go for the entertainment show at night or even enjoy a couple glasses of free drinks at on board events like the art auction or the captain’s cocktail party.

Disconnect at sea

Internet on cruise ships can get pricey and add to your total cruise bill. If possible, skip the internet and enjoy being disconnected at sea. I can’t think of a better excuse to stay off the grid while you recharge during your holiday. It could also be wise to inform family and colleagues beforehand that you’ll be unreachable while you’re sailing.

Explore independently

Do your research so you’re ready to explore the port on your own when the ship pulls into port. This can help to avoid the additional costs of booking shore tours and excursions. If you’re in the South Pacific or New Zealand, there is usually a nearby beach that you can access on foot or shuttle bus. All you have to do is keep an eye on the time so you don’t forget to board your ship when it is time to leave.