Cruising has become a favorite vacation choice for millions of people around the world. Why shouldn't cruising be popular? Leisurely floating through the Caribbean or Mediterranean while being entertained, fed unbelievable food and sipping tasty adult beverages with little umbrellas doesn't sound too bad, does it? Yes, cruising can be very expensive --- but it doesn't have to be. Here are some money saving tips to consider when you are planning your next cruise vacation.
1. Choose the right time of year
Caribbean cruises are normally less expensive in the fall and spring than they are in the winter or summer. Although the Caribbean gets hot in the summer there are also fewer ships which make the prices go up. Winter is the peak season and therefore the most expensive.
During fall and spring, however, there are many ships in the Caribbean but the prices are lower. Why? Because the weather is a bigger factor. So if you don't mind gambling a bit on the weather, fall and spring are the cheapest times to cruise.
2. Select an older ship
As the cruise lines build bigger and better ships, the older ships in fleet often are available on popular itineraries at cheaper prices. Many of these older ships are reassigned to smaller ports. You may be able to book a cruise on a ship that leaves from a port within driving distance of your home --- which will save you the price of airfare.
3. Watch out for expensive excursions
When you get into port, the cruise line will offer many excursions. While it is great to have a ship sponsored excursion, these are often two to three times more expensive than booking your own excursions.
Of course you have to be careful to choose a reputable company when booking excursions, but these are not difficult to find online. Find a company that has lots of references and has a written policy on refunds. Generally it's better not to travel long distances with a local excursion company because if you are late getting back to the ship you will be left on the dock.
While caution is necessary, booking your own excursions can save a family of four as much as $200 or $300 in each port!
4. Stick to a budget on the ship.
When you are cruising you are not allowed to use cash on the ship. Everything you purchase is signed for --- then, at the end of the cruise, you are presented with a final bill. With this arrangement it is easy to overspend.
Watch your budget. Remember that alcoholic drinks are expensive. If you are a gambler you will probably find much better odds on the mainland. Premium restaurants on board are fine, but do you really want to pop $20 or $30 extra when the main dining room has wonderful fare that is also included in the price of your cruise?
If you are planning a cruise soon these money saving tips will help you have a great vacation while still coming in on budget!