Insider’s Guide to Cruises

We’re breaking down everything you need to know before booking your next cruise. From tips and tricks to things you should avoid or taking a deep dive to ensure your cruise is as enjoyable as possible. Avoid new cruise ships at first glance. Opting to sail on a newer cruise ship can seem like a great idea. After all, these ships often featured the latest in cruise based amenities and technology. However, according to Colleen McDaniel, managing editor of, older ships are often a bit smaller than newer megaships and don’t generally have all of the bells and whistles of ships just hitting the market, but still offer a fantastic vacation option at a lower price point. So if your priority is to save as much money as possible.

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Opt for an older vessel. Additionally, be wary of maiden voyages, as these often serve as better testing for staff and crew who are still in the process of ironing out all the ship’s kinks. If you can drive to the cruise port when it comes to how you choose to reach your cruise port. Flying and driving both have their pros and cons. While flying is undoubtedly the fastest way to travel, it’s far from the cheapest, especially when you factor in baggage fees and ground transportation. You also run the risk of having your flight delayed or canceled. As well as having your luggage lost, driving on the other hand can be much cheaper and presents additional opportunities for adventures along the way. One thing that often deters people from driving is parking with long term parking near the departure port, often costing an arm and a leg. However, do your research beforehand and find a cheap parking lot or hotel where you can leave your vehicle. You’ll be surprised by what you can find.

insiders guide to cruises

Don’t ignore the bottom line in favor of adding ONS. Insiders agree that one of the best ways to keep costs low on your next cruise. Is to do your homework. This means checking to see what’s included and what isn’t, and whether the former is actually enough to justify the bottom line. Oftentimes, cruises will distract potential passengers with flashy amenities, special offers and add ONS, which can lead them to believe that the cruise is worth its exorbitant cost. However, according to Stewart Sharon of, a lot of times cruise lines use those offers to deflect attention from higher prices. Things like ship credits and beverage packages can seem enticing, but you should never let them distract you from what matters the most. The final cost is to look for cruises that allow kids to travel for free.

Let’s be honest, taking the entire brood on a long week cruise can be expensive. Thankfully some cruise lines allow children to ride for free. Royal Caribbean MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Crystal Cruises are just some of the cruise lines that offer discounted or free rates for children in 2019. Royal Caribbean launched their kids sail free promotion aimed at children 12 and under, while certain MSC Cruises allow children 17 and under to sail for free. However, before you start packing your bags here, every passenger must still pay the applicable taxes and fees. Additionally, passengers who travel for free typically won’t be given their own cabin. Regardless, it’s still a fantastic way to save money while having fun with the whole family. Choose your excursions wisely. When done correctly.

Excursions can be a cost effective and exciting way to enhance your cruise. However, excursions organized by the cruise line can often be more expensive than booking with a local onland. Going it on your own will not only serve as an adventure. In and of itself, but will also allow you to find tours and deals that are cheaper and less crowded. However, keep in mind that if you do book a tour through a third party, your cruise won’t know about it, so be sure to check and double check your itinerary to ensure the ship doesn’t leave without you. Stick to the buffet. It can be tempting to eat at a different restaurant on board every night, particularly when they’re helmed by a world renowned chef for offering a unique and tasty form of cuisine. However, these restaurants are rarely included in the overall price. And it can be quite expensive to eat at 1:00 every night. As such, we recommend sticking to the buffet as much as possible. If it’s included. Not only is it open longer, sometimes round the clock, it’s often faster, offers greater variety and is 100% free while already paid for the buffet can be particularly alluring if you have kids who can often be quite picky. Additionally, most buffets don’t mind if you take your food to go book a guaranteed cabin. Booking a cabin in a specific part of the ship can be expensive. One alternative is to book a guaranteed cabin.

As the name suggests, this category of cabin guarantees that you will get a cabin with your exact specifications. For example with a balcony, but doesn’t allow you to select where it’s located. While that means your cabin could be located in a less than ideal location. For example, below the disco or above the buffet, it will also allow you to save money while still getting the amenities you cherish most. You may even receive an upgrade to stay in a less popular part of the ship, avoiding the far ends. Of the ship. Speaking of booking, if you don’t opt for a guaranteed cabin, your best bet is to book a cabin in the middle of the ship by selecting a centrally located cabin. You’ll never be far from the pools, restaurants, or other amenities and less scurrying about means more time to focus on what really matters. Relaxing and having fun.

Additionally, the middle section of the ship experiences the least amount of rocking during travel, so if you’re prone to seasickness, you’d be wise to shell out a few extra dollars to avoid a cabin in the front or back of the vessel. Amend your automatic tips when necessary for those who may not be aware, most cruise lines automatically add per day per person gratuities to your account. These can range anywhere from $5 to $23.00 per day, and they can add up quickly. However, it is possible to amend these payments. Simply go to the customer service desk and ask them to change or remove as much or as little as you like from your tipping policy. So if you prefer to tip your servers and stewards directly, simply ask for envelopes so that you may discreetly thank them for their service. At the end of the trip.

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