Saving Money on Cruises: Watch the small stuff!

I have done some research and founds way to make my cruise vacation cheap and not a budget buster. Thanks to Google and some cruise forums I picked up a few tricks a newbie like me wouldn't think of. I found that on cruises it's the little stuff that adds up fast. Here are some tricks/hacks to save money:

  • Skip Excursions: They are usually 2x or more the normal price for the same activity. Find an excursion you like the do some research online to find a local place to do it. It will be cheaper and probably less crowded!
  • Drinks: They like to charge a lot for drinks. Aside from moderation you have to remember that the price quoted has an automatic 15% tip added! Depending on the cruise line sodas might also cost money. Bring bottled water with you!
  • Skip the upscale dining options unless it is a special occasion. I read reviews of my ship and most people liked the free ones better! That saved me $25 per person!
  • Know the fee structure. Taxes and fees go on top of the advertised price (just like airline tickets). Know what the fees are for, if they can be avoided, and look at the all-in price. Shop around!
  • Buy the cheapest room on the ship. As it fills up you sometimes get upgraded to a nice room so they can get more people on the boat! This is not always true but being frugal I will roll the dice. I don't plan on spending a lot of time in my room anyway!
  • Buy souvenirs at local shops, take your own pictures to print later, and comparison shop. The boat is loaded with expensive trinkets and other ways to take your money. I prefer to support local businesses at my destination. It's also much cheaper that way.
I will put theses ideas to practice this coming weekend when I get on board and figure out the real situation. I plan to keep a log of my costs so I can tally up with the $79 cruise really cost in the end. I do have a budget of how much I can spend and want to see if that is feasible. I will report back here when I return!