Vacations give you a splendid opportunity to step back from lifeÂ's unrelenting pace and smell the roses.
If your choice of vacation is a luxury cruise, you have probably found out the hard way that while the package may be affordable, hidden expenses can drive up the cost of your vacation significantly.
DonÂ't fret though. You can still take a luxury cruise for your next vacation. You just need to keep in mind a few money saving tips.
What do you want to do next time?
If you plan to spend most of the day soaking up the sun on the deck, or going on excursions, or partying until the sun comes up why not book yourself a basic cabin? If you donÂ't intend to spend much time in your cabin, go for the less costly option instead of spending more on the luxurious cabin youÂ're thinking of.
Check the itinerary
Find out if there are any interesting spots in the ports that you dock in. Go exploring with a group. Or you can use the break and organize an onboard picnic.
An independent excursion provider may be able to give you a better value for your money compared to the trip the cruise operator is offering. Compare both offers. Note that excursions offered by cruise operators have a very decided advantage. If you go on an excursion sponsored by the cruise operator and you get delayed, the ship wonÂ't leave until you get back. Other excursion providers cannot make that guarantee for you.
Transfers are charged on a per person basis. You may find that taking a cab can be more cost effective than paying for the transfers. If youÂ're traveling with companions, you can also share the cost of the cab, driving the price per person lower.
Bring a digital camera and extra memory cards. There will be lots of photo opportunities you will want to take advantage of. You donÂ't have to have your picture taken by the ship photographer and you donÂ't have to buy the photos that are taken of you. If youÂ're traveling with friends, take pictures of each other. Or ask another guest to take a picture.
Bottled water, sodas and alcoholic drinks can total quite a bit. Drinks are rarely included in standard cruise fare so youÂ'll need to plan for that. If youÂ're traveling with kids or if you like drink a lot of soda, find out if the ship has a soda package. You can save quite a bit if you take advantage of this offer.
Although the practice is not encouraged, you can bring your own wine aboard. YouÂ'll be charged a corkage fee but this will still be less than if you bought the wine on board.
Phone and Internet Bills
Find out what the charges are for the use of the satellite phone on board. You can activate roaming on your cell phone if this proves to be the cheaper option.
Be aware that some ships charge by the kb while others charge by the time you spend online when surfing or emailing.
A cheaper alternative may be to wait until you get to port and send your emails from a cafĂ©. You can upload your pictures to free memory, send videos or just surf for a while.
Since meals are included in your cruise fee, eat at the designated dining room. There are alternative restaurants you may choose to try but this would just be an added expense. These restaurants will be a bit pricier than the usual so be prepared.
With a little planning and self restraint, your next cruise doesnÂ't have to burn a hole in your bank account. Plan your cruise ahead and youÂ'll be sure to enjoy your vacation.
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