What's the best way to save on a cruise?

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Poll: How do you save on a cruise (multiple choice)?
Poll Results
How do you save on a cruise (multiple choice)?

Use the spa's gym equipment instead of paying for classes

At the breakfast buffet, make sandwiches for lunches off the ship

Buy the drink of the day and wine specials

Plan your own shore adventures

Read books from the ship's library

Join up with other cruisers to arrange independent excursions

If you don't finish your wine, save it for the next day

Attend the free seminars/classes

Check the spa specials, or go for a manicure or pedicure option

Play board games (if available) on sea days

Multiple Choice Poll.

Voters: 316.  You may not vote on this poll.

London, UK
209 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Cruise Critic has just launched this new feature -- http://www.cruisecritic.co.uk/featur...les.cfm?ID=714
Our writer sailed on Island Star and made a conscious effort to keep costs down.
So how do you scrimp on a cruise? Vote in the poll and please post any other handy tips!
Oak Park, CA
5,904 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
You didn't give any choices except one for me. I don't go to the alternative restaurants, don't spend much in the casino, don't pay for ice cream and buy the soda card to keep the drink cost down. We also don't do much shopping on board.
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82,855 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
We don't throw money around but we do not skimp on our vacations. If we want a cocktail, we go to a lounge and order it. I never go to the spa or salon. I won't deal with Steiner's ever.....not on any cruise line, any ship.

Within reason, we do what we want to enjoy our time on the ships.

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4,250 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
You should have added another choice....My vacation is important to me...I save at home...I do what I want on vacation...that's what it is all about for us. We don't go over board, but we really don't worry about $ on vacation. I wouldn't go if I had to.
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Empress of the Seas
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San Diego
8,858 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
stay away from the casino...one of the popular choices will be plan your own excursions, but I have always thought that the extra cost if worth the insurance of not getting left behind if your run left
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British Columbia
6,348 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Item 2.
Food MAY be provided to take ashore, but, this is seldom done.

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Knoxville, TN (too far away from the ocean!)
168 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Like the previous poster, we do our saving BEFORE the trip, then we do whatever we want to do while on board...its our vacation, and we've scrimped and saved for months to have the luxury of not worrying about it while on board.

If I were going to try and save $$ on board, i'd definitely forgo the pictures, casino and soft drink cards.
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Carnival Splendor 12/08
Mariner of the Seas 10/05
1,855 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
Many of our choices are left off:

Do not spend money at the casino.

Do not buy drinks aboard the ship.

Do not buy soft drinks on the ship.

Do not buy ice cream on the ship.

Do not go to the spa on the ship.

Do not play bingo on the ship.

Do not buy photo pictures on the ship.

Do not go to speciality restaurants to eat.

And avoid anything else that they charge extra for.

We fully utilize anything that is free.
Portland, OR
48 Posts
Joined May 2008
I also have to go with the two previous posters regarding how I save (will save) on a cruise... I don't... I won't.

On one of the sea days my wife was "torn" deciding whether to go to a ceramics workshop or not. "Well, it's $30 and you just get a little glazed ceramic box out of it." was her major problem. I explained, "... in the grand scheme of things, her worrying about 0.5% of the cost of cruise was refreshing... now go and have a good time!"

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Star Princess - Alaska 6/22-6/29/08
Star Princess - Alaska 8/23-8/30/09
284 Posts
Joined May 2008
Originally posted by Steamboatin
Many of our choices are left off:

Do not spend money at the casino.

Do not buy drinks aboard the ship.

Do not buy soft drinks on the ship.

Do not buy ice cream on the ship.

Do not go to the spa on the ship.

Do not play bingo on the ship.

Do not buy photo pictures on the ship.

Do not go to speciality restaurants to eat.

And avoid anything else that they charge extra for.

We fully utilize anything that is free.

Wow, I'm afraid if we did all that we would have to add:

Do not have any fun on the ship.
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With any luck I will die dragging the luggage in from the last trip we can afford...

1,855 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
Originally posted by NetwrkEng
Wow, I'm afraid if we did all that we would have to add:

Do not have any fun on the ship.
Can perfectly understand your view.

However we just enjoy sitting out on our balconey enjoying free ice tea and nibbles from the Lido deck.

We enjoy cruises with a lot of sea days so that we can maximize the use of our balcony. We enjoy the quiet relaxing time out there as well as the sight of the open ocean and the sound of the ship waves.
Grapevine, Texas
181 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Well we aren't huge drinkers so we save plenty of money not buying booze...we turn around and blow in the casino! HAHA..We don't buy art or all the photos (just 1 or 2 of our favorite formal pictures!), we eat the delicious food in the main dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner...but we don't take food into port ...you can always eat before you leave or come back for lunch...+ we get cookies from the buffet to snack on in the stateroom... Planning your own excursions can be great fun and allows you to see and do more than you would with an all day excursion in many cases! Do whatever makes you feel good, vacations are for splurging!
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Love Cruising!

Justin and Kristine

4,411 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
I agree with several previous posters, I save at home, not on vacation. If I have to worry about buying a soda, a drink, or photo................ I should stay home!
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New York State
2,652 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
Not much on the list for us except we do plan our own shore excursions most of the time but thats not done just to save money but the cruiselines excursions often don't fit what we want to do and planning our own allows us to do exactly what we want and avoid what we don't want to do. Its not really a matter of "saving" money for us but rather simply not being interested in many of the added cost items. No interest in the specialty restaurants, don't do spas, haven't seen a "pay" class I was interested in doing yet, no desire for specialty coffees or ice cream. Enjoy the casino so spend money there but we have a daily budget and if we loose it all we're done for the day and if we end the day with winnings it goes in the safe to bring home with us so we usually end up with about the same amount of money to take home that we left with for gambling, DH drinks lots of soda so he gets the soda card which does save us money there and I may have two foo foo drinks each days. Do usually bring one six pack of soda on board and several mini bottles of alcohol to enjoy a drink on the balcony in the evening. Usually enjoy a couple games of bingo during the cruise but not everyday and might purchase a photo or two but not always. I've gotten a great price on purfume on board so I bought it and bought a few other items in the stores on board that I really liked or needed but the money for those simply came out of our "port spending money budget".

We're on vacation to have a good time so if we really want something we spend the money on it but just because we're on vacation doesn't mean we HAVE to spend lots of money!
West Texas
667 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
I know already that being a non-drinker saves us a lot of money. A WHOLE lot of money.

We limit ourselves in the casino, don't buy anything but a deck of cards and souvenir postcards on the ship, and book our own excursions (except for all-day ones like the one coming up in PV--that we booked through the ship).

Also, we don't visit ports to shop. Last cruise we went on, my husband bought some cigars and I bought some coffee and a little wooden figurine. Oh, and a few more decks of souvenir cards! That was it. I know lots of people go on vacation JUST to shop, my parents being two of those kinds of people. Then when they get back--well, let's just say the trip relaxation ends when the credit bills are waiting in the mailbox. Not pretty.

What else...oh, I do my own hair on the formal nights and if we want massages, that's why we paid more for the balcony! And we will NEVER buy the "art"!
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13,986 Posts
Joined May 2007
I thought I was saving money by buying the drink of the day, even though the drink itself would eventually go down the loo. I would none the less...ha ha...have six matching glasses to use on the deck at home. They looked quite nice all lined up on a shelf in the cabin and continued to look nice as I picked up my bag and walked out. None of them even had the sense to yell out,,,please don't leave us up here...we're tired of this ship and dont want to get snashed or thrownaway anymore, we want to live
on your deck.

6,244 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Those poll options are all nickel dime stuff. I would want to see some real savings ideas like:

a) book an inside instead of a balconey
b) do your own excursions
c) stay out of the spa and casino all together
d) book your own air and hotels
e) smuggle booze and wine because you're too cheap to pay the ship's prices.
f) buy one soda card for you four kids.
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Harriman, New York
7,852 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
I just can't imagine scrimping on vacation. What's the point? If one plans & prepares properly then one shouldn't have to nickel and dime it for heaven's sake. If I wanted a cheap vacation I'd just stay home, rent netflix & go out for dinner at Applebee's. How incredibly sad & boring.
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14,192 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Originally posted by mr green
Item 2.
Food MAY be provided to take ashore, but, this is seldom done.

And might be illegal in some countries.
Wirral UK
445 Posts
Joined May 2007
The last thing I want to worry about on holiday is money. If I want a cocktail or a bottle of wine then I'll have it. I've saved all year for this so I am going to make sure I enjoy myself