The Australian dollar is buying US70c for the first time in months, making your cruise cheaper, particularly with cruise lines that are charging guests in American dollars.

So we asked cruise experts for their advice on how to take advantage of the savings –  including booking a cruise holiday in US dollars and even onboard items like drinks packages and WiFi.

Can you book cruises in USD?

Sharon Summerhayes, owner of Deluxe Travel & Cruise says while most cruises are booked in AUD, there are some that can be booked in USD to capture savings. Furthermore, cruise prices are based off USD, so when the Australian dollar is strong you might notice cruise prices creeping down anyway.

“Most cruise lines we book and lock in AUD when sold in Australia.  They can be affected by the USD though, so it’s still a good time to book when the AUD is up against the USD.  There are a few cruise lines like Disney and American Queen we book in USD.”

Michelle Levins, director of My Cruise Concierge points out that some cruise line fares may not present themselves in USD, but have actually been repriced.

“Cruise lines such as Virgin Voyages get repriced from their USD amount into AUD so we think this is a great cruise line to focus on right now!”

Saving money onboard 

There are plenty of cruise lines that operate in USD, even when in Australia. This means onboard spending has a favourable conversion and you can earn savings beyond your cruise fare.

Ms Summerhayes says: “Most cruise lines operate in USD onboard. P&O, Carnival, and Princess sailing from Australia are all AUD but most cruise lines operate in USD on board.  You can usually purchase on-board credit prior to your cruise, which you can usually do by calling the cruise line with your credit card.”

As an extra saving bonus, Ms Summerhayes says it’s also possible to prepay for additional inclusions in USD. 

“Cruise lines with additional beverage & Wifi packages can be pre-purchased at the prevailing rate. Spa services, shore excursions, and gratuities will be based on USD as well, so you can take advantage when the Aussie dollar is up.”

Ms Levins affirms that onboard packages are also often repriced from USD.

“With all the extras, you may see an AUD price but this is often converted from the official USD price. It is a great time to lock in drinks packages with Virgin Voyages or WiFi and beverage packages with Royal Caribbean for example!”

How much can you save?

If you go onto the Disney Cruises website, they currently sell cruises in USD, with USD$1 being worth $1.43 Australian dollars. This means their six-night Disney Magic at sea cruise from Sydney to New Caledonia is listed at USD$3611 or AUD$5153. Had you booked this cruise last October, when USD$1 was worth AUD$1.61, you’d have been out of pocket $5812, meaning booking now would save you $661. 

If you were to jump on a Royal Caribbean cruise next week, based on the rates above, for every USD$100 you spend onboard, you’d save $18AUD. If you choose to pamper yourself with some spa treatments, a drinks package, extra activities, and so on, this can quickly add up into big savings.

Cheaper flights

While flights are a bit of a tricky situation at the moment, with prices still extremely high, depending on where you’re planning on flying, Ms Levins says there are savings to be had.

“Certainly flights within the USA and South America use USD currency, converted to AUD. So if you have any of these destinations coming up pay for those extras such as accommodation, flights, and car hire now!”

Book ahead

Combining booking ahead with the strong dollar right now will not only strike while the irons hot with the strong Australian dollar but also take advantage of any early bird deals for your cruise fare.

Ms Summerhayes says: “At the moment, the best way to save on travel is book early. This year and 2024 are shaping up to be the busiest travel years the world has ever seen, and prices will reflect the closer we get to your departure date. Load up travel cards in USD when the dollar is good, or purchase cash to take with you.”