Cruise Budget Tips: How To Keep Your Cruise Costs Down

Image of piggy bank on the beach. A budget for a cruise or cruise budget is the best way to not overspend on your trip.

It can be very easy to overdo a cruise budget when planning a voyage for your vacation. Cruise lines offer a lot of complimentary amenities that can make your trip much cheaper, but they also offer a lot of services at extra charge that are intended to get you to spend more money. When trying to cruise on a budget, it is important to know what your options are, what activities you want to do most, and what is going to cost you extra, so that you don’t get blindsided by an oversized bill. If you need a few pointers, read on for our top tips for keeping your cruise vacation under budget.

Plan a Realistic Cruise Budget

The most important thing to remember when trying not to overspend on your vacation is to set a realistic cruise budget in the first place. You need to account for accommodation, dining, excursions, onboard activities, and travel during your trip. That means you need to look into what activities you are going to want to do, and find out how much they cost. Consider the cost of activities you won’t want to miss, as well as planning for food and accommodations that are not going to be part of your cruise package. The best way to account for everything is to use a spreadsheet or download a budgeting app, so you won’t find yourself in a position where you’ve run out of funds before your voyage is over.

All-Inclusive Packages

The advantage of going for an all-inclusive package is that you will know how much you are spending ahead of time, removing a lot of the variables and making it much easier to budget on a cruise. It is very important to know what exactly is covered in any cruise package, so you aren’t getting hit with extra unexpected charges. If you are unsure, you can always ask a travel agent to review your package details and assist in pre-booking any all-inclusive packages you may want. It is also a good idea to prepay gratuities, so you aren’t hit with extra charges at the end of your trip.

Onboard Spending Control

Excessive onboard spending is the biggest threat to sticking to your budget on a cruise. There can be a lot of things that you didn’t expect that you will want to buy or do, whether that is merchandise, activities, or even just a specialty restaurant that you want to try. Avoid impulse buying, and take some time to really consider if a purchase is something you really want and won’t make you go over your cruise budget. Keep your eye on activities that don’t come with an extra charge, such as poolside games, fitness classes, live performances, and entertainment. There are plenty of complimentary activities to keep you satisfied without having to spend more money. Some cruise lines, like Norwegian, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Princess, will let you bring your own alcohol on board which can greatly reduce costs, so make sure to check ahead and see what your cruise line allows.

Pre-Book Excursions to Fit Your Cruise Budget

When planning your budget on a cruise, you have two options for dealing with excursion costs. You can either pre-book them, or you can set a budget and decide what you want to do when you get there. If you choose to pre-book, however, you will then know definitively what you are going to be paying, making it much easier to plan the rest of your budget and reducing the temptation for impulse spending. You can also look for alternatives to the excursions offered by the cruise lines, which can often be rather expensive. Consider looking for free activities to do at each destination, or finding excursions through Shop around to find the best deals that will fit your budget!

Discretionary Spending Awareness

You are going to want to keep excess spending to a minimum to maintain a budget on a cruise, but if you feel like you really want something, consider a cheaper alternative. A day at the spa may be too much of an expense, so maybe get DIY spa treatments to treat yourself. Souvenirs may be very pricey onboard, so look for local shops to find a better alternative. Allocate an amount of your budget to discretionary spending, and then make the most of those funds by deal shopping and penny pinching. Read the fine print, ask about additional charges, and confirm every bill that gets dropped in front of you, and you are sure to stay within your cruise budget!

Stick to your cruise budget with — we can help you book the smart way! We give you our exclusive bonus offers and all qualifying cruise line offers, plus all of the cruise line loyalty program benefits. Book online at for the largest selection of cruise line deals or call 800-288-6006 today.

Related: Cruise for Cheap with 7 Budget Friendly Tips

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