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How To Take A Cruise On A Small Budget

How to Take a Cruise on a Small Budget

Guest Post By: TacklingOurDebt

Have you ever been on a cruise? Or are you of the belief that cruises are super expensive and not within your budget? I think most people believe that cruising is quite expensive. So today I am going to talk about how easy it is to take a cruise on a small budget.

  •  Choose an Older Ship with a Luxury Cruise Line

There are a number of luxury cruise lines to choose from and the thing to note is that as they launch their new ships with higher prices, they begin decreasing the price on their older ships.

They do this for a couple of reasons

  1. One, because the new ship may have more glitz and shine, and it may have more facilities and restaurants.
  2. Second, because the demand to cruise on the new ship is higher because seasoned cruises are curious to see the new look, while back on the old ships the novelty has worn off for them.

Even though the novelty may have worn off on the older ships it doesn’t mean that the quality of the ship or the cruise itself has deteriorated.

In fact the cruise lines work hard at ensuring that each one of their ships is scheduled for a multi-million dollar refurbishment every 6 years or so. This keeps them looking new and up-to-date.

As well the older ships have worked out any kinks or issues that a new ship may experience when it is first launched.

  • Choose a Budget Itinerary

Cruise lines offer many 3 or 4 night cruises in the Bahamas, as well as on the west coast of Mexico, at a very low price. Some are as low as between $55 and $65 a night per person. Keep in mind that this includes your accommodations as well as all of your meals and snacks.

For 2 people that works out to approximately $130 a night. Most hotels charge much more than that per night, and your meals are not included.

Another budget conscious way to cruise is by taking a repositioning cruise. A repositioning cruise is when a ship has to change from one itinerary to another, but they do not want to sail to their new homeport with an empty ship. Instead they offer huge discounts to fill the ship with passengers.

My very first cruise was a 3 night repositioning cruise that sailed from Vancouver, British Columbia to Los Angeles, California, with one stop in Seattle, Washington. It was on an older Princess Ship that isn’t even sailing anymore. It was cheap like borscht, and we made new friends and had a wonderful time.

  • Choose to Travel During Low Season

My best advice, if you are able to, is to travel during low season. Cruise lines offer amazing low-cost fares at these times.

For example, the best time to cruise to Alaska is in May or September. The weather is still pretty cool up there at that time, so the prices are much lower than they would be say mid-summer.

The thing is, if you are cruising to Alaska you are going there because of the amazing scenery, including snow-covered glaciers, not because you are looking for a warm vacation. So going in May or September is the perfect time.

The best time of the year to cruise through the Caribbean is in the Fall. You will find so many cheap cruises in the Fall, specifically in November and December.

One of the cruises I took back in 1997 through the Caribbean was during the first week of December. The price was very low, and because it was low season, there were fewer people on the ship. Everyone had more room to spread out, and the service was amazing because the ship was less crowded.

Cruises are cheap at that time of the year because fewer people travel then. Their kids are in school, people are busy getting organized for Christmas, and the last thing they want to do is take a vacation.

But, if finding a way to cruise on a small budget is what you need to do, then why not consider re-arranging your Fall schedule this year so that it allows you to take advantage of these incredible cruise deals.

As you can see, in December you can take a 7 night cruise on a Carnival Cruise Ship out of Florida for as low as $379 per person for all 7 nights, including all of your meals. That works out to $55 per person, per night. Again, much less than a hotel.

  • Choose an Inside Cabin

Cruise lines offer a variety of cabins. You can stay in a cabin with a balcony, one with just a picture window, or one that has no windows at all, which is referred to as an inside cabin. Of course each ship also has several penthouse cabins to choose from that come with a baby grand piano and your own private Butler.

If you are cruising on a budget your best bet is to book an inside cabin. They are the exact same size as the ones with the windows, and include all the same amenities, but cost less.

Cruising doesn’t have to be expensive to be fun. Once onboard you will find that 99 percent of the activities are free. And when you stop at any of the small town ports, instead of paying for an excursion, simply walk into town and go sightseeing for free, or go to one of their popular beaches for a free day in the sun.

Sicorra is a freelance writer that enjoys writing on such topics as Personal Finance, Travel, HealthVitamins and Food & Drink. Please understand that anything she writes about is based on personal experience and is not meant to be taken as professional advice. If you require medical or financial advice, please contact a professional in that field. You can also find her at her personal blog Tackling Our Debt

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All photos Courtesy of :Tackling our

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  1. if you are going to book a cruise try and you get alot of agencies bidding for you to book with them and some offer onboard credits

  2. great tips.. one year, we are going to take a cruise, and i know we will be looking to save some cash. i love the tip about an inside cabin.. your room is going to be crap, no matter where you are on the boat– but you will barely be in there.. so who cares?!

  3. In my experience the cruise isn’t the expensive part. It’s getting to the port that’s expensive! Two great ways to save money on a cruise is to 1) sneak your own alcohol on the boat (empty/clean shampoo bottles) and 2) go explore you destination without booking a excursion. Often times you will get a better deal if you do research ahead of time and find your own tours. These activities are usually more entertaining and less of a tourist trap. If you book these trips through the cruise line you’ll be hung out to dry!

    1. I’ve travelled all over the world and 99% of the time I mingle in with the locals. It’s so expensive on those excursions.. and I also never stay at resorts. I like the fend for yourself type of holidays. Research is key wherever one goes you are absolutely right. Thanks for your post Chris as always. Mr.CBB

  4. Some great ideas. Thanks for sharing. I’ve never been on a cruise before but just might one of these days, so these are some great tips to keep in mind. I suppose the only other thing to worry about would be the cost of transportation (i.e. flights) in order to get to where the cruise ship starts and to get home again.

    1. I understand your concern. Cost of flights of course will depend on where you are starting from. My understanding is that in the US it is easier to find low cost flights because there are so many airlines to choose from. From Canada it can be more expensive, but if a person is close to Toronto they can usually get great deals to Miami or Fort Lauderdale. That is where the Caribbean cruises generally start.

  5. I LOVE cruising!!! I have been on approx 7 of them (I lost track!) My parents have been on about 20. We tried a resort vacation in November and hated it. I guess I’ll be cruising from now on! There are some great tips on here for newbies! I would also add that yes, the ships excursions can be costly so what we do is check out peoples cruise reviews and read what they did and book something not with the cruise line and its way cheaper. I know I’m not always content with wandering the area and some ports that is difficult to do. You must be careful who you book with and always make sure you’re back on time or your ship will leave without you! I usually book inside cabins for a cheaper vacation but on my honeymoon we splurged on a balcony and LOVED it! Anyways, I can go on all night so I better stop! lol

  6. some very good tips. I will be bookmarking these tips for use in the future. I hate a crowd so off season holidaying is perfect for me. Plus I hate the heat so i like to go to hot destinations when the heat isn’t at its high point. Look forward to using your tips to plan a great holiday soon.

  7. I was not even aware that your meals are included on a cruise. I always thought cruises were more expensive, mainly because you have to pay for your own meals. Great Post, very informative!!!

    1. Some cruises simply give you a fishing rod and let you go at it… haha.. That’s ok I had no idea either. This was a great post because I’ve never been on a cruise so I learned alot from it. Thanks for posting..Wendy! Mr.CBB

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