Sensible Tips For Managing Your Cruise Budget

Sensible tips for managing your cruise budget

These tips will help you get your cruise budget off to a great start

When our  subscriber Amy P wrote in to tell us that her friends and family want to cruise, but are afraid of the extra costs that can add up, we decided it was time to put together some tips for cruising on a budget! So,  Amy, (and anyone who wants to cruise in a financially responsible way and still have an amazing time), these tips are for YOU!

The good news is, cruising is one of the most affordable ways to travel, IF you learn how to plan your cruise budget, and know how to avoid pitfalls. So yeah, it’s all about planning. The FIRST and most important strategy you can use to save money on a cruise is to be flexible about your dates of travel! When searching for a cruise, have you noticed that there’s variation in the prices?

That’s because the cruise lines are pricing each week and each sailing based on supply and demand. During the summer months, and holiday periods when many people choose to travel, prices will be HIGHER. If you’re willing to cruise during off peak times, like early December in the Caribbean and Mexican Riviera, and early May in Alaska, you will save you tons of money on your booking. 

With that said it makes sense that our number one tip is to set a budget: You’ve heard the saying, “fail to plan, or plan to fail”…that holds true with travel planning. Charging things to your cruise card is ALL too easy when you’re on a cruise. We suggest setting a daily spending limit on your cruise. This can be for each person, or the whole group. Here’s an example- you might set a $100 limit for your whole party PER DAY. ON a 7 day cruise, that’s a total of $700 in spending money.

That may sound hard to do, but if you plan your own shore day activities in advance and watch out for beverage, casino, gift shop and spa spending, you’re off to a good start. And if you’re worried about spending too much on excursions? Skip them entirely and take a taxi to a local beach or other hotspot for some good, local flavor and fun on port days. 

Our second cruise budget tip is to bring the allowable amount of beverages on your cruise if your cruise line permits this – most major lines do. But be sure these items are in your carry on luggage NOT your checked bags and remember to read each cruise lines beverage policy before you embark. Every cruise line handles carry on beverages a little differently. Just head to your cruise line’s website, and search the FAQ page for “beverage policy”, and you’ll find up to the minute info!

Our next tip is to take advantage of all that’s included in your cruise fare. There are two ways to do this – 1) research what’s included before you cruise by reading reviews and checking out the “tips” section for each ship at 2) once you’re on the ship, use your daily newsletter as your guide to all things “low cost” or “no cost”. You’ll soon see, there’s no shortage of things to do on a ship, and you can do as much or as little as you’d like. 

Instead of shopping before your cruise, which can be a very costly habit before a cruise, start packing early and use household items to help you pack. For example, if you don’t have packing cubes, or TSA approved bags, use ziplock style bags to pack toiletries and to separate clothes. Resisting the urge to pre-cruise shop can really help keep your cruise budget on track.

If you think you’ll have to buy a bunch of fancy clothes for your cruise, you can stop worrying.  Cruises are becoming more and more casual and if you don’t want to invest in an evening gown or full suit for your cruise, you don’t have to! We’re not saying you shouldn’t follow the recommended dress code on your ship, if there is one, but know you have OPTIONS on all the mass market cruise lines to dine in casual venues, or even skip formal night altogether if you prefer.

The side benefit to this is that packing light, or even carry on only can be a very liberating way to travel. We like to Re-wear our dinner clothes on port or sea days when possible. This can save money, suitcase space, and your cruise budget. 

We hope this inspires you to cruise, regardless of your travel budget. We LOVE to challenge ourselves to save money when we travel  and have found that on most of the mass market cruise line’s you can “live like royalty” for the cost of the cruise fare and gratuities. Breakfast and coffee delivered to your room? Check! Two entrees in the dining room? Yes!

If you’re a new cruiser and you’d like more tips like these, check out our intro to cruising master class by clicking HERE

 And because we love a bargain,we have a special discount code for you. Use code ALLABOARD for $5.00 off tuition.  You’re welcome!

Thanks for being an awesome part of our community! Until next time, we’ll see you on the high seas.

See more cruise budget money saving tips.