Proven Tips to Save on Cruise Ride

Updated On September 12, 2023 | by Alex Smith

The cruise tips that most first-time passengers wish they had are the cruise saving tips. Even though cruise vacations are termed all-inclusive, they are anything but. The cost of the ticket is just the beginning of cruise vacation spending. It is really easy to rack up quite a bill after boarding the ship. Following are three sure-fire ways that even first-time passengers can easily save $1,000 on any cruise.

Cruise lines don’t make their money on the up-front cost of the ticket, rather their money is mostly made on the additional money spent by passengers while onboard the ship. Because much onboard spending is emotional, rather than pre-planned, it is important to in advance where money can be quickly lost. This is a sure way to avoid buyer’s remorse at the end of the vacation.


The first tip is one that anyone can do, even if they don’t have any negotiation skills. After the cruise is booked, check with the cruise line to see what types of drinks are included on the ship. Often coffee, tea, juice, milk, and lemonade will be included with the price of the cruise. Most of the time, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are extra. Some cruise lines will allow passengers to bring soft drinks and wine onboard the ship. If this is the case, passengers should take their own beverages on board with them and avoid overpriced drinks on the cruise.

If the cruise line does not allow passengers to bring beverages on the boat, they may have a drink card available for purchase onboard the ship, at the beginning of the cruise. The beverage card allows passengers an unlimited number of certain beverages at a set daily rate. A bartender or the purser’s desk will be able to assist with the purchase of a beverage card.


Some cruise lines will add a service charge to the onboard account for all passengers. Others will leave the tipping completely to the discretion of the passenger. For those cruise lines that add the service charge to the account, it still might be possible to adjust these amounts. Inquire at guest services as to the policy on the ship. If adjusting the tips is possible, it might be better for passengers to calculate tips for themselves. Passengers should be aware of who to tip, before leaving, so as not to leave anyone out. But if a passenger does not utilize bar services, for instance, the overall tip might be adjusted in consideration of this. The only way that passengers can control which ship employees receive their tips, is for the passengers to tip each employee personally.


Perhaps the most important cruise saving tips have to do with when passengers leave the ship. With a large mark-up in price, shore excursions are a big source of income for the cruise lines. Because of this, the cruise line will work harder to sell excursions than they do the actual cruise. Passengers need to know their options when it comes to excursions. Passengers are not required to plan their days at port based on what the cruise line is selling or while playing the free spins game. Frugal passengers will investigate shore excursion options before leaving and book their own, independent of the cruise line.

Choosing the Right Cruise Insurance is Important

Whether purchasing travel insurance independently or purchasing cruise insurance through the cruise line, be sure to compare costs versus benefits. Here is some basic information on how to purchase cruise insurance.

What is Included in Cruise Insurance

Cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Lines, and Princess Cruises all offer some type of insurance plan at the time of booking a cruise. And for those who want to shop around, independent travel insurance companies such as Travel Guard, TravelEx, and American Express all offer cruise insurance.

Choose from a comprehensive insurance plan that covers a range of protections to choosing select coverage that is required for a specific trip. Here is a list of protections that may be included in a cruise insurance policy.

  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • Trip interruption insurance
  • Cancel for any reason insurance
  • Travel evacuation insurance
  • Accident medical expenses
  • Sickness medical expenses
  • Trip delay insurance
  • Baggage delay protection
  • Baggage and personal effects protection
  • Lost travel documents assistance

Compare Cruise Travel Insurance with Insurance Quotes

There are a number of websites that provide online insurance quotes, such as InsureMyTrip, that compare insurance policies and costs among various providers. For example, a 50-year old American traveling to the Caribbean over Christmas on a cruise costing $3,000 with a $50,000 medical limit would expect to pay anywhere from $99 to $220 for their insurance policy (3.3% to 7.3% of the cost of the cruise).

Book Insurance with Cruise Lines

BerkleyCare Insurance is the dominant insurance provider used by the majority of the cruise lines including Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean, and Princess Cruises. Yet, each cruise line has customized its insurance plan differently. Here are some examples.

Carnival Cruise Insurance –

Premiums top out at $189 per person based on the cruise fare paid to be $1,801 or more, whereas many other cruise lines charge even higher premiums for higher cruise fares. New for 2009, Carnival has introduced severe weather watch protection and job loss protection to its Cruise Vacation Protection Plan cruise insurance.

Princess Cruises Insurance –

For passengers that upgrade to Princess Travel Care Gold, the ‘voluntary cancel for any reason’ protection will give up to 90% in cruise credits. Other lines generally only give up to 75% of the total cruise cost.

Royal Caribbean Insurance –

Although many cruise lines will not reimburse the cost of flights booked independently, Royal Caribbean CruiseCare gives refunds in cash. Trip cancellation for independently booked air has a maximum benefit of 100%, whereas trip interruption for independent air will be reimbursed up to 150% of the original airfare cost.

Purchasing cruise insurance independently may save money, but make sure the benefits will meet the required needs. Also, beware of insurance policies that include a pandemic clause that nullifies coverage once a pandemic is declared.

Also Read: What is a No-Fault Insurance Law?