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Sitting on the deck watching the sun set into the ocean. Dining at a different location every single night – all without having to hop into a car. Relaxing in the pool or hot tub with a delicious adult beverage. Enjoying a comedy show. Hitting up the casino.

Yes, going on a cruise is definitely luxurious. Despite this, it doesn’t have to bust your budget. There are all kinds of ways to save on cruises. Maximize your travel dollars by taking these seven savings tips into consideration before you head out to sea.

Tips to Save on Your Summer Cruise

Don’t pay list price.

As with flights and hotels, prices fluctuate frequently for cruise bookings. Plan to compare prices on different travel websites, and book your trip as early as possible for the best rates.

Or don’t. If you are willing to wait to book at the last minute, you may find a cheaper rate since the cruise line is trying to fill the last open spots. Flexibility can save you hundreds of dollars.

Take advantage of the free amenities…

With pools, hot tubs, family activities, and nightly shows, a world of relaxation and entertainment awaits you on your cruise. The all-you-can-eat buffets are packed with choices to satisfy your cravings. You can enjoy breathtaking ocean views at sunrise and sunset from the deck. Consider the “basics” of the cruise your luxuries and your only cost is the price of the ticket itself.

…and forego the frills.

Cruises are filled with temptations to spend extra cash. Set your mind in savings mode before you leave your home. If you are satisfied with photos from your own camera or phone, you can bypass the on-board photo services. Skip the extra beverage costs, which can add up significantly over the course of your trip. Steer clear of add-ons like casino charges, meal upgrades, and spa fees. Your ship is packed with amenities already, so you won’t feel like you’re skimping even when you forego the frills.

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Do it yourself when possible.

Since you only receive a fixed number of water bottles for free each day, refill your water bottle at the free mealtimes. This savings will add up over the course of the trip, especially if you are traveling as a family. If you can’t pack enough laundry to last the whole trip, bring a small bottle of detergent and hand wash clothing in your sink. You can hang them to dry in the bathroom overnight.

Save your internet use for the shore.

You typically receive only an hour of free wi-fi connection before you incur additional charges. Plan to connect only when you make port visits. Besides, the time you spend on your cruise is about making memories with people you care about. As often as possible, put down your phone and enjoy quality offline time with your friends and family.

Shop with intention.

Port visits are notorious for driving up costs. Before you ever begin your trip, set a fixed budget for souvenirs. Once you visit the ports, enjoy window shopping more than making the purchases. Take in the sights, sounds, and scents of a new city and pleasure your senses. Before you buy a souvenir or gift, take time to think it through. Buy only what you love. That way, you won’t regret your purchase and feel the sting of an empty wallet. Also, find extra savings by walking several blocks away from the shore. The shop owners closest to the port tend to charge the highest prices.

Get creative.

You have the chance to cruise for free if you sign up as a group planner. That’s right. If you are willing to serve as the travel liaison for 16 to 32 friends, you may receive the huge perk of a free cabin rental.

You can also split the cost of onshore automobile rental when you invite other cruise travelers to explore with you. Also, if you book your next cruise while onboard, you are likely to save big on that trip.

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It’s easy to relax a bit too much on your trip and forget the basics, so here’s a quick reminder. When onshore, don’t drink the local water – bring bottled water from the boat instead. If you have food allergies, don’t take chances just because you’re on vacation. Watch for food preparers who appear to be sick – and head elsewhere. Wear shoes with good traction near the swimming pools and spa areas. Leave your valuable jewelry and watches at home to prevent theft. Avoid suspicious people and situations and lock your room. If anything unusual arises, make a report to the ship’s staff immediately.

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With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to enjoy your cruise without the heartache of a busted budget. You’ll have extra peace of mind knowing your vacation is a safe splurge, and you’ll be much happier when you return home.

About the Author:

Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented cruise victims who have suffered all kinds of injuries and illnesses due to negligence. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.