The Frugal Sailor: How to Enjoy a Cruise Without Putting a Hole in Your Pocket

Cruise ship and tropical island

On a cruise, it’s easy to go through money like water, so here’s how to be more aware of your spending so that you have more fun and don’t go home dead-broke.

Hire A Travel Agent

Travel agents are professionals that can save you a lot of money on your trip. Make sure you hire an agent that specialises in the cruise lines you’re considering. For example, if you’re considering a cruise holiday, make sure your agent is familiar with those offerings.

Book A Small Cabin

A small cabin is going to be cheaper than a large one. That’s just a matter of economics. But, beyond the room size, consider what you’ll actually use your room for. If you’re a homebody, you might want a slightly larger room. Most people who go on a cruise don’t spend a lot of time in their cabin.

You basically sleep, get dressed, and that’s about it. So, can you deal with slightly cramped quarters for a while to save some dough?

Buy In The Off-Season

Buying during peak season is expensive. But, in the off-season, you might be able to save 20 percent or more. Book your own flights and transfers because most of the all-inclusive packages come with a premium price tag.

Bring Your Own Booze

On many ships, you can bring your own alcohol. This is a major advantage because alcohol is one of the more expensive things you’ll spend money on on that ship.

Don’t Bother With Paid Tours

Paid tours are a waste of money unless you have an exceptional interest in the ship. Here’s the thing: you can walk almost everywhere on the ship yourself and ask the staff about something if you’re really interested.

Ditto for land tours. If you book your own with locals, you’ll save money and probably learn more.

Go To Free Entertainment

There’s a lot of things to do on a cruise ship, and most of them are free. But, not everything. If you’re on a budget, don’t be shy. Ask about free entertainment and stick to those activities.

You’ll be surprised by how much you can save if you do this. And, you won’t be bored. If you’re going on a holiday to relax, much of your time can be spent laying poolside, taking in the sun, and going for relaxing strolls, reading a book while the sea breeze hits you from the side.

…and that salty air is free. Can you feel it?

Opt For Free Food

It helps to know what’s comped on your trip, and what’s not. Always eat the free food first, if you’re looking to save money. It’s not uncommon for ships to offer two different fares: one paid and one free.

So, if you’re going to see a movie up on deck under the stars, pay attention to whether that pizza is free or whether you should opt for the popcorn. Or, whether soft serve is free vs the high-end gelato.

You can still enjoy yourself while being frugal.

Michael Wilson is the Managing Director of Bolsover Cruise Club, a company his parents began in the late 1960’s, though it was originally called Bolsover Travel. Michael is passionate about the business, taking an interest in every aspect of it. When he’s not working, Michael enjoys holidays with his family, watching rugby and gardening.


Author: Kat

Kat is a married mom of three kids aged 19, 11, and 8 that lives close to Birmingham, AL. She loves cats, books, cooking, hockey, and watching movies. She is an admitted nerd, comic book lover, action figure & barbie doll collector, blackjack dealer, beginner croupier, and all around queen of the dorks. You can reach her at [email protected] to talk about product reviews, press trips, sponsorships, or brand messaging.

3 thoughts on “The Frugal Sailor: How to Enjoy a Cruise Without Putting a Hole in Your Pocket”

  1. I did lots of research on the land tours offered. I found one that was much cheaper than offered by the cruise line.

  2. I second the tip about eating the free food. There is so much variety that you can find things you love without paying extra for it. Also, take some food with you when you go ashore.

  3. This is good info I’d be interested in a cruise that I felt I could keep the associated costs under control – yippee

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