The cruising industry is one of the largest in the world, and we’re not just talking about the size of the ships that have been rolling off the assembly lines in recent years. We’re talking about an industry that does nearly $40 billion USD worth of business each and every year… And that’s a number that’s only going up, up, up!
Unsurprisingly, cruise lines have figured out how to extract the maximum amount of money from their passengers and through their fares… But, there’s some things they don’t want you to know. Namely, there are a few clever ways you can game the system, saving hundreds if not thousands of dollars on your cruising vacations!
In the 25 items that follow, you’re going to learn all of the sneaky things you can do to gain the upper hand on this $40-billion industry. And, just to make sure you’re paying attention, we’re going to share a few fun facts that you might not know about cruise lines and cruise ships. In the end, if you read each of these 25 things, you’ll know more than any other passenger aboard the next ship you’re cruising on…
1. Agents Are Your Friends
In this day and age, everyone wants to cut out the middleman. But, if you’re looking to score the best deals on the cruises that are right for you, an agent is still your best option.
2. Port Time = Spa Time
When people are gallivanting while the ship is in port, the bookings at the spa dry up significantly. You know what that means, right? Deals, deals, deals!
3. That’s Just Gross
Here are two fun facts you might not know: Once a ship is three miles away from land, it can dump human waste into the ocean. When it’s 10 miles away? The cruise ship can dump all of the untreated sewage it wants… GROSS!
4. Airfare Included? Maybe Not…
Packaged cruise deals that include airfare to and from the port of departure aren’t always deals. Look into airfare yourself, as you might stand to save significantly.
5. Beware of Pirates!
We’re not saying that your cruise ship is going to be boarded by pirates, but it has happened in the past. Thankfully, the crew of almost every cruise ship are prepared for such eventualities.
6. Think About that All-Inclusive
All-inclusive sounds great, but do your research. Are the things you really want to do included? Will you really make enough use of what is included to justify the expense?
7. Don’t Get Arrested
Sure, you might be in international waters, but you can still be arrested. In fact, all cruise ships have cells for unruly passengers…
8. Justice Is Another Matter
Of course, a cruise ship doesn’t have governmental authority to prosecute cases. That means individual crimes or incidents could be handled by any number of different authorities, with jurisdiction often difficult to determine.
9. The Earlier the Better
Just as you’ll find when booking travel by plane, the sooner you book a cruise the more likely you are to score a song of a deal.
10. Book on the Ship
Enjoying your cruise so much that you can’t wait to go on another one? Pull the trigger while you’re on the ship, then. This is often the best way to get the very best deals that a cruise line will offer.
11. Go With the Guarantee
Rather than booking a specific cabin, just book the kind of cabin that you want. You’ll save money, and you’ll get exactly what you want almost 100% of the time.
12. What’s Up Doc?
Be careful if you have any serious medical issues while you’re on a cruise ship. Oftentimes the doctors will have medical licenses from countries where regulations are less strict than in other places.
13. Metal Walls
Really want to keep things organized while you’re in your cabin? The vast majority of cruise ship cabins are made from metal, which means your walls are magnetic! Cool!
14. The Best Deals Aren’t Online
Booking online is a convenience that few can resist; that’s why cruise lines typically hide (or don’t even offer) some of their best discounts through their websites. If you want a good deal, then call!
15. Wave Season is Sale Season
When the waves get rough, the prices come down. If you’re really looking to save, this means booking your cruise between January and March.
16. Don’t Get Left Behind
Surely the cruise ship won’t leave you in port if you’re late, right? Wrong. You can and will be left behind, so don’t be late, kid!
17. Selling Out Isn’t Exactly True
Want to catch that show? Did you just find out that it’s sold out online? Don’t sweat it! More than likely there’ll be more seats available once your on board. (Just be sure to check ASAP.)
18. Take Advantage of Room Service
Believe it or not, room service aboard a cruise ship is most often free. Check and see, and if it is, then make ample use of that!
19. Appreciate the Design of Your Cabin
Most cruise ship cabins are designed so that everything can serve multiple purposes. For example, check out the space under your bed. That’s perfect for storage!
20. Social Media Deals
Another great place to go hunting for the best cruise ship deals? Social media of course! Follow a few lines on Facebook and Twitter, and see what you can find.
21. Cast a Wide Net
Don’t but the carriage in front of the horse! Research different dates for your cruises rather than searching for cruises for specific dates.
22. Last Minute Deals Do Happen, Though…
Although not incredibly common, it is possible that you can book one heck of a last-minute deal on a cruise. If you have the flexibility, then keep your options open.
23. I See Dead People
Here’s another fun (or not) fact about cruise ships that you might not know. They all have morgues. It makes sense, but it’s still unsettling to think about…
24. Opt for the Travel Insurance
Cruises are expensive, and strange events can and do happen. Don’t leave yourself holding the bill if you have to cancel your cruise. Get the insurance!
25. Bump Up to Luxury
You might get sticker shock when you look at the fares for luxury cruise lines. But consider what’s included in their fares, and then compare to what you’d be paying between your fare and on board with a non-luxury line. Sometimes the luxury line is cheapest!