4 Things To Know About Saving For A Cruise

08/04/2011
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Cruise can be great money-saving vacation. Not only do cruises provide you with transportation, food, and accommodations, but constant entertainment and fun. Whether you're looking for a singles cruise, a family-friendly adventure, or a couples retreat, there are cruise ships catering to everyone. As you're planning for your cruise, keep a couple things in mind while you're saving.

It's Not A Booze Cruise

While your cruise will include food and drink, cruise lines charge extra for alcohol. Whether you want a glass of wine with dinner or a daiquiri during a night out dancing, remember to save extra if you're planning to drink. Many cruise lines offer drink cards which may save you money on alcohol. Or if you prefer a specific type of wine, many cruise ships allow you to bring bottles of wine on board which they will open for you with meals for a corkage fee.

You've Got To Leave The Boat

Alright, you really don't. If you want to spend your entire vacation on the cruise ship, that's your prerogative, but most of us will want to get off the ship and explore the islands. Exploring will cost money though. Whether you want to swim with the dolphins or just check out the local markets, plan to save enough cash to do the activities you enjoy when you dock. Cruise lines offer many activities that you can pay for in advance so flip through the itinerary and start saving now.

Tips May Not Be Included

Many cruise lines add a $10 a night charge for tips but keep in mind that the tip generally only covers housekeeping and waiters at the buffets. If you dine at the specialty restaurants or get drinks at the bar, tipping the waitstaff may be expected. Check with your cruise ship for their tipping policies and remember to set money aside for the cruise staff.

Book With A Travel Agent

For many vacations, you might be adding costs by booking with a travel agent but many agents have special relationships with cruise lines that can help you cut costs. Cruise lines even go so far as to cover the costs of booking with a travel agent. Your agent, in turn, can get access to cruise line specials like free upgrades and excursion specials that you might not be able to book through the cruise line yourself.

Setting money aside for your cruise is a great motivation but be realistic about the final costs. Excursions, drinks, and other extras can quickly add up so planning for them ahead of time will help you enjoy your vacation rather than worrying about what you can afford.

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