Join cruise lines and travel agencies emailing lists

While the weekly, daily and last-minute emails will get annoying after a while, there are usually hidden gems that can save you a few good dollars. They might have short booking windows or require flexible schedules, but there are some great bargains waiting for you.

Get the early-bird fare

Many cruise lines and especially river cruise lines offer bonuses and amenities that are had to pass up on. These include pre-paid gratuities and on-board credits and even free flights when you book and pay several months in advance.

Look out for an early bird fair at least six to eight months ahead of time.

Say thanks but no thanks

Souvenir cocktails seem nice in the moment, but will you really use them at home? If you also don’t want professional photographers who ask to snap you getting on and off the ship, during dinner and on gala nights, then say no.

Beat the breakfast queues

The main dining rooms are usually open for breakfast and if you don’t feel like queuing at the buffet then, it might be a better option.

Try out a repositioning cruise

One-way cruises are not offered often as they typically only happen seasonally to different destinations. For example, overseas ships based in Australia during the summer season move to the Mediterranean or Caribbean in March and April. They can be a great value voyage for you to enjoy, especially if you are a veteran cruiser who likes sea days.

However, do not forget to factor in return airfares.

Be a groupie – it will work out in your favour

If you want to book a cruise for a bunch of friends or family – whether it be for a birthday, anniversary or anything in-between – then be ready for perks such as a free cabin or special discounts from a major cruise line.

Read the newsletter carefully

The newsletters left at your door every morning include special offers including cocktails of the day, discounts or free drinks at shops, spa raffles and even discounted treatments. Sea days and port days tend to offer completely different offers so keep a keen eye out.

Enjoy the free activities

Whether it’s a dance class, film showings, trivia games, gyms or entertainment shows – try it out. These freebies won’t be so heavily discounted when you get back on land.

Shore tours – be sure about them

Before you leave home, workout which cruise itinerary’s and ship excursions are best for you. Considering factors such as price, ease and accessibility are all essential.

Stay offline

Internet packages are tempting but putting down the phone and tablet won’t hurt you for a week or so. Despite the fact they are getting more reasonably priced, the cost is still quite expensive and fast wi-fi is not guaranteed. Wait until you’re in port and can perhaps find free wi-fi there.

What are some of your insider tips to get the best out of your cruise?


This article was written in partnership with Over60.