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Excursions: independent excursions are much cheaper and usually less crowded. BUT, if the excursion involves a long bus trip to the interior, you're better off paying the extra for the ship's tour, because if if the bus breaks down or if there is another delay, you have troubles.

 

If you buy the drink package, learn what is included, because sometimes it includes specialty coffee or fresh squeezed orange juice - which can make the difference between being a bargain and maybe being almost a bargain.

 

Forget the specialty restaurants, UNLESS you happen to really like what they have. I usually visit Johnny Rockets at least once in the cruise because what I pay is worth the fun. But there is so much good free food on the ship, I just don't see the point in paying high prices for Italian or a steak.

 

Consider whether the balcony is worth it to you. Some cruises it isn't - if you're on one of the giant ships, it might be worth it because there's so much competition for the good seats overlooking the ocean. On a smaller ship, there will usually be plenty of places you can find a place to sit and enjoy the ocean.

 

Smuggling alcohol onboard is a gamble. If they confiscate it, you've lost money. If they don't catch you, you still have to go to the cabin to add rum to your drink. Is it worth the back and forth? Maybe you're real good at hiding it (I know some who are), but if you got your tip on these boards, so did the team trying to catch you. Your best chance of success is to figure out your own way to hide it, and you'd better be original.

 

Take the time to learn what the bargains are. You can save money in the gift shops, believe it or not, but you have to know when they're making you a deal vs. when they're charging you way more for your stuff. Then there's the stuff you can't get at home. If you haven't priced it before you leave home, best leave it.

 

I like to also avoid the crowds. Everybody eats in the Food Jammer at lunch, and the dining room for the evening meal. Reverse the two! Much easier to get a seat, and the food is just as good.

 

Stay away from the art auctions unless you just want free drinks or something. They are never a bargain. They represent huge profits for the cruise line.

 

Please don't cheap out when it comes to tipping. The money you save will cost you in karma.

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Everything has pretty much been said about saving on-board. Since excursions are part of the cruise experience, I would suggest looking into Groupon and Living Social coupons and Entertainment books. The Entertainment books are severely discounted after January.  Museums have free days and the in-house cafés are usually nice.   

Edited by NHProud

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I frequent groupon and living social (the latter will have free tickets too ) use viator also for my discounted excursions.

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We try to avoid the ship sponsored excursions whenever possible, often opting for a self-guided walking tour of the port town with a map from the internet printed ahead of time.  Most recently we've had some wonderful experiences booking small group walking tours with "Tours by Locals."  Before you are even booked, you can communicate with the guide to see if his/her tour meets your needs and/or to individualize the tour for your interests. And, no tipping is allowed, but we usually buy lunch for the guide if it's an all day tour.  

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I am a person who likes to squeeze every penny out of every $ we make. 

We love to travel--cruises & Vegas are our favs.

We have had the blessing that 3 of our cruises were paid for by our parents (his once, mine twice)--they took the whole family. 

We have also had the blessing to WIN 2 cruises playing poker on the cruise ship. One was 6 weeks later on the same ship with the same itinerary...but, hey, who am I to pass up a free cruise! (we actually just passed up a "free" cruise via the MyVegas app..."free" wasn't much cheaper than buying outright; and with short notice flights weren't cheap)

 

But I pride myself in getting terrific deals on our cruises. I get emails from several online TAs & look for extra perks--especially drink packages. We have been able to typically book a balcony with a free drink package for the same price as an interior plus what we would have to pay for the package. The last few cruises have found OBC, tips, wifi thrown in as well. Just recently booked a British Isle cruise with air thrown in for just a few hundred more than the cruise itself was being offered on other sites. 

 

Flights--I try to book SWA as we have the credit card, typically have companion pass & plenty of points. But sometimes that doesn't match a much cheaper rate on another airline. Thank you google flights.

 

We try to fly in the day before if possible. I use hotel points and/or free annual night to cover this

 

We did a few ship excursions on our early cruises, in Jamaica (the one place I prefer to book with the ship). Otherwise I do extensive research on each port (these boards are FANTASTIC). In the Caribbean we do our own thing. British Isles we will do a combo of our own thing & local tours. (30-50% less than ship tours--lots of savings with 9 ports)

 

We do not shop on the ship, unless there is an emergency. I do like to buy a small item to remember a port, but rarely buy more if it is a repeat port. 

 

We DO buy a photo, usually the professional portrait, since a photo is far less than a sitting fee at home.

 

We do gamble--but just games we have learned to play well, so at worse we break even in the casino; very often make money (as you can see with 2 free cruises).

 

We generally do not do pay per food venues unless it was a perk added at booking. 

 

If we don't get a drink package, it depends. $50/day pp is reasonable (we do enjoy our drinks), but $100/day pp is too much. For our upcoming cruise I watched RCCL sales diligently & got 20% off the onboard price for the deluxe package ($48), and 40% off the refreshment package ($15)--basically it covers everything that ISN'T alcohol (for DD20).

 

Internet--we usually buy the most basic package to keep up on work emails if it wasn't thrown in. This upcoming one we are on break. May just pay Verizon international for 2 port days in Bahamas. (other port is Orlando). We can live without internet the other 4 days. Even the kids enjoy being offline a bit. 

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If we are cruising overseas we check cruise pricing in those countries. Either with the respective cruise line site or with a TA.

 

Once in a while we do find a difference.  We saved about 35 percent (over our on line NA TA's quote) on an Australian/NZ cruise by booking directly with RCI in Australia.  My sister saved just over 15 percent by booking her Celebrity Baltic cruise in the UK instead of with a North American TA.  Our experience is that it does not occur often but it is worth checking.  

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We..

 

- fly with points

- avoid high season and holidays

- are not loyal to any particular cruise. The best value and itinerary wins our business.

- book early, watch the prices drop and upgrade or get obc

- skip specialty dining, except on celebratory occasions 

- bring the max allowable amount of wine and buy wine packages, if the value is there

- fly with carry on bags only

- don't shop onboard 

- gty cabins

- sail long itineraries and repositioning cruises sometimes on older but refurbished ships

- deal with a ta or book directly based on who is offering the best price and/or perks

 

 

 

 

 

bitmoji-20181213095657.png

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, HappyGlampers said:

We..

 

- fly with points

- avoid high season and holidays

- are not loyal to any particular cruise. The best value and itinerary wins our business.

- book early, watch the prices drop and upgrade or get obc

- skip specialty dining, except on celebratory occasions 

- bring the max allowable amount of wine and buy wine packages, if the value is there

- fly with carry on bags only

- don't shop onboard 

- gty cabins

- sail long itineraries and repositioning cruises sometimes on older but refurbished ships

- deal with a ta or book directly based on who is offering the best price and/or perks

 

 

 

 

 

bitmoji-20181213095657.png

What is a gty cabin ? You must be very resourceful to be able to cruise long itineraries and/or repositioning cruises with only a carry-on bag . What is your secret ? 

 

I sometimes ask by mail for maps and brochures from tourist and visitors bureaux ( French plural ).  Always free except for Boston .  They have a fee of ~ $ 10.00 . 

Edited by NHProud

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Lol, my secret for carry on travel is a five day black, grey & red capsule wardrobe. I don't pack any heavy or thick clothes, wear layers, launder in the sink or onboard. Minimal cosmetics, travel sized essential toiletries and min electronics. I don't miss anything.

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A gty cabin is a guaranteed category of cabin (not a specific cabin number, just the category you choose, or better).

 

TIP take photos of maps, with your phone or camera and leave the paper at home. No more big binders😁

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A gty cabin is a guaranteed category of cabin (not a specific cabin number, just the category you choose, or better).
 
TIP take photos of maps, with your phone or camera and leave the paper at home. No more big binders

Thank you for the information. I would think a city map would be hard to look at on a small camera screen or phone. Good for you if you can manage it .


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, HappyGlampers said:

We..

 

- fly with points

- avoid high season and holidays

- are not loyal to any particular cruise. The best value and itinerary wins our business.

- book early, watch the prices drop and upgrade or get obc

- skip specialty dining, except on celebratory occasions 

- bring the max allowable amount of wine and buy wine packages, if the value is there

- fly with carry on bags only

- don't shop onboard 

- gty cabins

- sail long itineraries and repositioning cruises sometimes on older but refurbished ships

- deal with a ta or book directly based on who is offering the best price and/or perks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by GalCruzer
Deleted. Just saw the answer as far as gty cabins.

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9 hours ago, NHProud said:


Thank you for the information. I would think a city map would be hard to look at on a small camera screen or phone. Good for you if you can manage it .


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

 

You can also download the maps from Google Maps or Apple Maps before you leave home or on Wifi. I've started doing that for all my trips, because I have the direction sense of a lemming and having turn-by-turn directions means I can walk or take public transport rather than paying for a taxi or an excursion.

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15 hours ago, NHProud said:


Thank you for the information. I would think a city map would be hard to look at on a small camera screen or phone. Good for you if you can manage it .


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Zoom function, love it.

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QUESTION - we have Verizon cell service and will be traveling for several months outside of the U.S. so how can we use cell service THE CHEAPEST WAY??  Also, without cell service we would not be able to use Google maps driving or walking directions would we?

 

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1 hour ago, trasgrammy said:

QUESTION - we have Verizon cell service and will be traveling for several months outside of the U.S. so how can we use cell service THE CHEAPEST WAY??  Also, without cell service we would not be able to use Google maps driving or walking directions would we?

 

 

Where are you going? It is almost always cheaper to get a local SIM card and use that when you're overseas versus using roaming with your US provider. However, if you have Verizon you're on a different type of network than most of the world which limits your options. 

 

If you download maps prior to leaving, you can use driving and walking directions but won't get traffic updates. It's probably a good idea to do that anyway, since it reduces the demand for data roaming which is particularly expensive.

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 If you log your phone onto a wi-fi network, then you don't have data charges. 

 

More and more, the cruise ships are charging a flat fee for one or two devices on the network.  That means I don't have to keep track of minutes.  If I am traveling with my husband, I just get one device and then if I log off my laptop I can log on my phone.  Or I can Skype using the ship wi-fi. 

 

 

 

 

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Initially I booked with the TA that gave the best price.  I did three cruises that way and it did not work well for me when there was a glitch in the booking. 

 

Since that initial 3 cruises, I have had only 3 travel agents.  I would still be booking with the first one, but he died.  So now I have a general cruise agent and one for river cruises.

 

Now I look for the TA that has the most experience and the best customer service, and having found a good one, I am loyal to that TA because he gives good service, helps when there are difficulties, and goes above and beyond that which he is compensated for.  If I get good OBC (which I do), that's extra. 

 

 

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On 11/5/2018 at 12:48 AM, NHProud said:

Everything has pretty much been said about saving on-board. Since excursions are part of the cruise experience, I would suggest looking into Groupon and Living Social coupons and Entertainment books. The Entertainment books are severely discounted after January.  Museums have free days and the in-house cafés are usually nice.   

We use ShoreExcursioneer - have never had an issue and never been left on the pier - LOL!!!!  They offer some of the same excursions and you can pay 60% less or more - can hardly wait to cruise again!

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7 hours ago, grandmaR said:

Initially I booked with the TA that gave the best price.  I did three cruises that way and it did not work well for me when there was a glitch in the booking. 

 

Since that initial 3 cruises, I have had only 3 travel agents.  I would still be booking with the first one, but he died.  So now I have a general cruise agent and one for river cruises.

 

Now I look for the TA that has the most experience and the best customer service, and having found a good one, I am loyal to that TA because he gives good service, helps when there are difficulties, and goes above and beyond that which he is compensated for.  If I get good OBC (which I do), that's extra. 

 

 

is it a TA with the line or independent?

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On 4/21/2019 at 10:46 AM, grandmaR said:

 If you log your phone onto a wi-fi network, then you don't have data charges. 

 

More and more, the cruise ships are charging a flat fee for one or two devices on the network.  That means I don't have to keep track of minutes.  If I am traveling with my husband, I just get one device and then if I log off my laptop I can log on my phone.  Or I can Skype using the ship wi-fi. 

 

 

 

 

We have had the best luck with the Carnival app - did not have good luck with the NCL one.  We just want to text the fam that is on the ship so the carnival app works great for us - when we get to shore - we find wifi and then post pics for all the jealous folks back home - LOL

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On 4/19/2019 at 7:31 PM, HappyGlampers said:

Lol, my secret for carry on travel is a five day black, grey & red capsule wardrobe. I don't pack any heavy or thick clothes, wear layers, launder in the sink or onboard. Minimal cosmetics, travel sized essential toiletries and min electronics. I don't miss anything.

agreed - wish the teen girls did the same!

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On 11/25/2018 at 1:43 PM, KKB said:

I am a person who likes to squeeze every penny out of every $ we make. 

We love to travel--cruises & Vegas are our favs.

We have had the blessing that 3 of our cruises were paid for by our parents (his once, mine twice)--they took the whole family. 

We have also had the blessing to WIN 2 cruises playing poker on the cruise ship. One was 6 weeks later on the same ship with the same itinerary...but, hey, who am I to pass up a free cruise! (we actually just passed up a "free" cruise via the MyVegas app..."free" wasn't much cheaper than buying outright; and with short notice flights weren't cheap)

 

But I pride myself in getting terrific deals on our cruises. I get emails from several online TAs & look for extra perks--especially drink packages. We have been able to typically book a balcony with a free drink package for the same price as an interior plus what we would have to pay for the package. The last few cruises have found OBC, tips, wifi thrown in as well. Just recently booked a British Isle cruise with air thrown in for just a few hundred more than the cruise itself was being offered on other sites. 

 

Flights--I try to book SWA as we have the credit card, typically have companion pass & plenty of points. But sometimes that doesn't match a much cheaper rate on another airline. Thank you google flights.

 

We try to fly in the day before if possible. I use hotel points and/or free annual night to cover this

 

We did a few ship excursions on our early cruises, in Jamaica (the one place I prefer to book with the ship). Otherwise I do extensive research on each port (these boards are FANTASTIC). In the Caribbean we do our own thing. British Isles we will do a combo of our own thing & local tours. (30-50% less than ship tours--lots of savings with 9 ports)

 

We do not shop on the ship, unless there is an emergency. I do like to buy a small item to remember a port, but rarely buy more if it is a repeat port. 

 

We DO buy a photo, usually the professional portrait, since a photo is far less than a sitting fee at home.

 

We do gamble--but just games we have learned to play well, so at worse we break even in the casino; very often make money (as you can see with 2 free cruises).

 

We generally do not do pay per food venues unless it was a perk added at booking. 

 

If we don't get a drink package, it depends. $50/day pp is reasonable (we do enjoy our drinks), but $100/day pp is too much. For our upcoming cruise I watched RCCL sales diligently & got 20% off the onboard price for the deluxe package ($48), and 40% off the refreshment package ($15)--basically it covers everything that ISN'T alcohol (for DD20).

 

Internet--we usually buy the most basic package to keep up on work emails if it wasn't thrown in. This upcoming one we are on break. May just pay Verizon international for 2 port days in Bahamas. (other port is Orlando). We can live without internet the other 4 days. Even the kids enjoy being offline a bit. 

what online TA's do you get emails from?

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On 7/13/2018 at 10:21 AM, sgiflips said:

I have been cruising for 25 years. The last year and a half I have saved money by being a part of a cruise club. I have saved tons of money and have been able to cruise more. I have cruise dollars accumulated now just sitting there waiting on me to decide where I want to go next. I am having so much fun of dreaming of my next paid in full cruise!

please share - what is this cruise club you speak of 🙂

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On 8/26/2018 at 5:56 PM, RocketMan275 said:

The Cruise Critic guidelines prohibit using this forum to ask/tell about specific TA.

oh oops

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