Thursday, October 21, 2010

12 Tips for Savings Money on the Cruise

Every time you turn around on a cruise, they are trying to charge you for something. I’m the first to admit that I’m pretty careful with my money… But I look at it this way, All those extra little savings add up to another trip that I could take! So I’ve compiled a list of a few ways to save some extra money. Feel free to add any of your own:
  1. If you do drink soda, purchase a soda card at the beginning of the trip. It will pay for itself very quickly, and it is not worth charging each individual drink. Not to mention it will save you time because you don’t have to sign for the drink every time, you just show them your card. Now if you want to go that extra could probably get away with sharing a soda card with your friend. I'm just throwing the idea out there, not necessarily advocating it. I've never done it, but I know people who have.

  2. Even better, enjoy the free drinks that Carnival will offer. They provide free lemonade, water, iced tea, coffee, hot chocolate and tea all day long. They will also have juice and milk at breakfast. Not only will this save you money, but calories if you’re watching your weight.

  3. Alcohol can obviously be a major expense for those who drink. Take advantage of the fact that Carnival allows you to bring 1 bottle of wine on board. Just don’t forget to bring a corkscrew, or they will charge you a corkage fee in the dining room. I’d also recommend to take advantage of events on board that offer free alcohol. Ex- repeat cruisers party or the final farewell reception. Still not enough? You can always try sneaking some hard alcohol on as long as you put it in a plastic bottle. My dad recommends a Snapple bottle for just such an occasion. But do this at your own risk.

  4. Oh the spa…it can be so tempting when you smell the eucalyptus and see the soothing treatments they have to offer. If you do decide to indulge, I would advise to book your appointment on a day where we are in port. Since the ship will be empty, the spa generally has better deals/discounts in order to get you in the door.

  5. It can be tough going without internet and being disconnected from the world for several days. You can visit the internet café on board, but it will cost you an arm and a leg. Not to mention, the connection will likely be slower than what you're used to. I would recommend you either observe or ask a crew member what they do for internet. You have to remember that crew members are away from home and a good internet connection for 6 months on end and I can guarantee that they do not pay $.75 a minute to check facebook, nor should you. Crew members will have the best insight into where you can access free and/or cheap internet.

  6. Personally I’m not a big gambler. They have a casino on board and will also offer bingo at a price. If you’re in it for the big pay off, good luck to you! If you just like playing the games like myself, Carnival offers many other free games activities. If you’re lucky, you may even win your very own ship on a stick!

  7. There are specialty restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops on board that will charge you extra. I would recommend you skip the fancy stuff, and enjoy all the complimentary food and drinks they have to offer. I’ve found that they will try to charge you for specialty ice cream, but they usually have a free ice cream bar hidden somewhere on the lido deck in the late afternoon. Trust me, you won’t be going hungry, so you may as well save the extra few bucks in the process.

  8. Kind of an obvious one, but take your own digital camera. Carnival has lots of professional photographers on board to try and sell you pictures at an outrageously high cost. So while you may not get the same backdrop and fancy lighting, your wallet will thank you later.

  9. Set limits for yourself and be cognizant of what you’re spending. Since everything gets charged to your room key, it’s easy to lose track of what you’re spending and you can easily go over budget. Check your account balance either in your stateroom or with the concierge so that you are careful not to overspend.

  10. Excursions are another big moneymaker for the cruise line. For me personally, I skip on the excursions. Not only do I save the money, but I enjoy exploring the ports on my own and at my own pace. Plus I can get back to the ship early and enjoy the fact that it is a lot less crowded so you have everything to yourself.

  11. Take advantage of the free classes Carnival offers. They will offer certain select exercise classes at a premium, but they also offer plenty of free ones. No need to spend the extra money in my opinion. Or even better, you can run around the promenade or jogging decks, and get some fresh sea air. Nothing like a jog and watching the sunrise over the water.

  12. Be very careful with your cell phone. If you plan on using your phone at all, contact your carrier before you leave and understand the costs associated with traveling in the Caribbean. You always hear horror stories of unsuspecting travelers who receive these outrageous bills. To make it easy, I just turn my phone off for the whole trip. Truthfully, I find it quite a relief!
While you may not want to follow every one of these tips, I think it’s helpful before you leave to establish what you want to splurge on. I know on the BSB cruise, I’ll probably splurge on any Backstreet souvenirs if they have any. What can I say…its my one weakness.

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