5 Ways to Save Money & Enjoy Your Cruise

In this article, we are going to share with you 5 unique ways to save money on your cruise this year that many may not think about. The goal is to help you not only save money but make your cruise a more enjoyable experience.


This is an inside tip that many long-term cruisers know, but if you are a first-time cruiser, this tip will ensure your cruise experience is much more enjoyable and will save you money. If you are flying in, fly in a daily early and stay at a hotel that offers a free cruise shuttle. If you are driving in, get out your calculator. It will probably make sense to fly in a day early and stay at a local hotel that offers free cruise parking.

When disembarking on your cruise, some hotels near the port will offer free rather cheap cruise parking and/or shuttles. If you are planning on driving to the port for your cruise and need a place to stay, look for hotels that offer reduced cruise parking. Hotels in port cities will offer cheap prices to attract cruise passengers.

A great money-saving tip is to park at their hotel during your cruise for free or at a great discount. Some hotels even offer a shuttle ride to the cruise port as well. There is no better way to save money on your cruise parking and transport to the port than with this tip. If you park on sight in the cruise garage, you can end up paying more for a week’s parking than you would have just flying in the day before your cruise, and taking the hotel shuttle to and from the port.


Smartphones, tablets, laptops, hairdryers are many of the things you pack that need plugging in. Unfortunately, most cruise ship cabins have few outlets. However, newer ships are being built with more plug sockets. A great tip is to bring an adapter or two to boost the number of sockets to use. Multi socket extenders are available online and don’t take up much room. Check that the plug doesn’t have a surge protector, as these aren’t allowed onboard.

Free motion sickness pills

Many cruise ship passengers experience motion sickness and are worried about getting sick on the cruise. A top tip would be to pack your own seasickness remedy, but it’s not the end of the world if you forget. Passengers that felt queasy should visit the Guest Services and ask about seasickness pills. They typically have them to give away to passengers to help keep them well during the trip. Cruise ship seasickness is more common than cruise ships want cruisers to know.

Thankfully, I have never been sick on a cruise ship. My wife has been several times. Years ago, I was on a cruise with terribly choppy waters and around every corner someone was throwing up. Yes, it was as disgusting as it sounds. It was on this trip that we met an experienced cruiser that felt sorry for my wife and made me promise to never take her on a cruise without seasick wrist bands. She has worn them ever since cruise, and she has never had another problem with being seasick on a cruise. She puts them on her wrist and keeps them on her wrist the entire cruise. So, if you are a person with a weak stomach, I cannot recommend these bands strongly enough. 

If you want to change it, remember that free motion sickness pills should be available through guest services. If you don’t want to change it, the best place to buy these bands is at your drug store even though they can sometimes be hard to find. The best variety is of course on Amazon. Here are their current listings.




Despite first thoughts, passengers aren’t limited to one of each appetizer, entrée and dessert in the main dining room. Passengers can order two entrees or three desserts if they please. They may also order taster-sized portions of entrees as starters or order three or four appetizers for their main meal. It’s a great tip if passengers want to try new foods they’re not sure they’ll like.

I regularly order two or three shrimp cocktail appetizers, because I enjoy shrimp cocktails.

For a morning meal, there may be more options than simply the buffet and main dining room. On Norwegian cruise, it’s well known that O’Sheehan’s offers delicious made-to-order omelets and corned beef hash, but many cruisers miss out. Carnival’s, BlueIguana Cantina and Royal Caribbean’s Johnny Rockets and El Loco Fresh (on Oasis-class ships) are other alternative breakfast venues. Check your daily newsletter to see which restaurants are open in the morning.

Specialty dining on the first night: Most people dine in the main dining room or buffet on the first night of a cruise, and many haven’t discovered the specialty restaurants yet. If you book an alternative dining venue for the first night of the cruise, you might get a discount on select lines (like Celebrity Cruises) or have an easier time getting a reservation for a popular venue. Carnival Cruise Line passengers who dine in the steakhouse on the first night get a free bottle of wine.

Complimentary bites: Specialty coffee at the designated coffee shops onboard comes with an extra fee, but the pastries, sandwiches and other food at these venues are often free. While some specialty items (like chocolate-covered strawberries) will have a charge, don’t assume all the small bites do. Some bars — such as Celebrity’s Martini Bar — also offer complimentary snacks; all you have to do is ask.

Free ice cream: Like ice cream? Cruise lines will charge for branded licks like Ben & Jerry’s and Gelato. However, there’s often a free version — whether soft-serve machines on the lido deck or hard-serve stations at the buffet. And do your reconnaissance — Cruise Critic members report that soft-serve machines on either side of the deck can have different flavors.

The cruise ships have a ‘Drink of the Day’, which is more expensive as it’s the souvenir glass they’re served in. Passengers can ask for it to be served in a regular glass and could save a little. It is always worth asking, so they shouldn’t feel awkward inquiring. Some ships do allow you to bring your drinks on board, including a small amount of alcohol, usually wine or Champagne.

The time of the day can also offer certain rewards too. Ask about any first-night deals, as sometimes lines offer a complimentary bottle of wine. 

Another way to save money when the ship is docked. Stock up on items from the buffet to take with you. But oh, you were hoping to get some local grub, were you? Well, you can still do that. But it’s always nice to have a back-up plan.

Even if you’re hunting for the most authentic street food you can find, the reality is, any eatery located next to a cruise ship dock is going to be pricey, so be prepared with a stash of free food from the ship

If retail therapy is what passengers are after, then they should wait until the day before disembarkation, as this is when onboard shops knock down the prices.

When you land, don’t always opt straight away to join the cruise excursions. Consider going off and doing your own thing.


Royal Caribbean cruise ships have plenty of activities for adults. They are equipped with a whole host of recreational activities, ranging from a rock climbing wall and FlowRider surf simulator to a Zipline. They’re all free, the only downside is this means every passenger wants to try them, normally at the same time. If you wish to try one or all of these activities, aim to try at least one on embarkation day or while the ship is in port. The queues are quite a lot shorter.

Ship cabins can be small and clutter easily and rarely offer a lot of hanging options for towels and jackets. However, most cabin walls are metal, which means they’re also magnetic. Before you embark, head to your local hardware store and invest in a few magnet clips and hooks. This will allow you to hang extra wet bathing suits, and help you stay organized as you clip daily itineraries and other important documents to the wall.

A lot of staple items that come in a standard first-aid kit will be much more expensive in sundries shops onboard. Avoid the added expense by tossing a small first-aid kit in your suitcase when packing.

On any vacation, the spa is often the most expensive feature. But on slow spa days, the spa is keen to offer specials to get passengers in the door. While the ship is docked, most people leave and the spa is empty. This is the time when they’re more likely to offer great discounts. If you’re needing a spa day and content on missing an hour or two of exploration, head to the spa to save money on their usual prices.

Wi-Fi is costly on cruise ships. But it’s hard to go a whole week without ever checking your email or Facebook. Rather than paying expensive Wi-Fi fees, wait until the cruise ship docks. These days, most cafes have free Wi-Fi. Order a coffee and check those emails while you enjoy the surroundings.

We hope you will implement a couple of these tips and enjoy your cruise in 2021.

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