Sailing and Saving: Priceless Pointers for Cutting Your Cruise Costs


Cruise holidays are immensely popular and when you look at the list of destinations and the amazing food that you get served while on board, it is easy to see why more people than ever before are choosing to set sail.

Despite the fact that cruise deals generally offer great value for money when you consider what is included such as fine dining and seemingly endless buffets, that does not mean you should not shop around and use a few tricks to get the best possible price for your cruising holiday.

There is always a good choice of cruise lines and itineraries to tempt you and here are some tips and pointers to help you search out a great deal.

Book ahead

There are always some last-minute cruise deals available as the cruise operator tries to fill the last few spaces on their ship before their departure date, but if you want a specific destination and know when you want to travel, it is better to book your cruise as far ahead as possible.

The best value deals and the accommodation options you want are often available somewhere between 10-18 months ahead of the advertised sailing date. Many cruise lines tend to offer incentives and discounts for early bookings, and you might even be offered an upgrade at some point before you go.

Fares generally rise for people looking to book nearing the sailing date and if they can sell your cabin at a higher rate, they can probably afford to upgrade some early-bookers, which will make your decision to book well ahead seem like an even better idea.

Buy a beverage package

One of the easiest ways to go over your budget for the holiday is buying your alcoholic drinks, bottled water and soft drinks as you go.

Cruise ships have no real incentive to offer discounted drink prices on board as they have a captive audience, but you can get great value if you find an all-inclusive deal when booking your cruise or alternatively, buy a drinks package ahead of your holiday, as it should work out cheaper and you can enjoy a drink with worrying about a big bill at the end of the holiday.

Special discounts and rates

It is not always widely advertised but a good number of cruise lines offer discounts for people who fall into a special category.

If you are aged over 55, you might be able to get senior citizen rates even if you don’t consider yourself to be one, so don’t be embarrassed to ask. You will also find that on occasions, cruise lines offer special thank-you discounts for people who serve in the community or the forces, so if you are a policeman or teacher for example, you way qualify for a discount or special rate, but you will have to ask.

Book your next cruise whilst on board

The cruise lines are well aware that a good time to sell you another cruise package is when you are having a great time on your current sailing adventure.

If you have plans to cruise again in the future, there are some excellent savings to be made booking this way, and you may well be offered generous on board credits, upgrades and a reduced deposit in return for committing to another cruise.

It doesn’t need to be too involved or take up your holiday time too much, as you can tell the cruise line booking agent that you want your usual travel agent to handle the reservation. The Future Cruise Consultant on the ship will then normally look up the details from your current reservation and give the credit to the agency, so you get a healthy discount and credits but still use your usual travel agent.

Surf the waves but not the internet

Cruising is an excellent way of relaxing and unwinding from the daily stresses of your normal life and despite the fact that we live in a digital age where many of us like to keep in touch via social media and email, this could add a big amount to your bill at the end of your cruise.

Most cruise ships offer Wi-Fi and have an internet café, but the cost of providing this service is often way more than you would normally pay when at home. Answering emails and updating your Facebook status could become very expensive, so try to save it for when you get home or at least buy an internet package, which should be a bit cheaper.

Sailing the seas as a paying guest of a luxury cruise liner is a great way of seeing different parts of the world and if you are savvy, you can do this for less money than you think.

Michael Wilson is the Managing Director at Bolsover Cruise Club. The company, started in the 1960’s by his parents, was originally Bolsover Travel. Michael continues to take interest in all aspects of the business, but enjoys spending his time off with his family, watching rugby and gardening.