Pride of AmericaCruises are always a great way for both novice travelers & experts to get out into the world.  With the combination of endless & delicious foods, exotic ports like the Bahamas & friendly staff that are more than willing to help create an unforgettable vacation just for you, there’s no reason not to go on one.

In fact, in my opinion the only way to truly make a cruise vacation better would be to find out about all the dirty little secrets that only crew members would know about to help you stretch that thin dollar even further than you had before.  Being that I’ve worked on a cruise ship myself for some time, I feel I’m qualified enough to let you in on some of these secrets; discover 5 Dirty Little Secrets that you probably didn’t know about in the cruising world that will save you both time & money.

1.) Bring Your Own Liquor/Wine.

Working in the bar department, I would have to say this is one of the most top secret things you can do while cruising.  Not all, but some of the major cruise lines will try to confiscate your liquor or wine; bogus, I know.  But one way to get around this is to never open your liquor in the first place.  

So the next time you cruise, try this: Bring an unopened liquor or wine bottle within your luggage.  When you go through screening, you’ll be offered to pay a $15.00 or so dollar “handling fee” to keep your bottle.  PAY THIS!  Doing so will save you money in the long run because usually one cocktail is going to cost you $15.00 dollars anyways, so if you pay the fee you’ll have your very own bottle that you can take with you anywhere you go on the ship.

2.) Limit the Booze!

Okay, so you like to drink on your vacation…who doesn’t!  I know I do!  The things is on cruise ships, they push the prices through the roof!  Instead of getting straight up shit faced every single day, try to limit your drinks to only 1-2 per day.  This is not only going to save you money, but will help you remember exactly how your vacation went in the first place! 😉

3.) Stick to the Buffets.

There are many delicious specialty restaurants onboard cruise ships and it’s ever so tempting to eat at them.  Resist the urge & stick to the buffets!  This will save you a ton of money because these little things will add up to a ton of money, especially when you have a whole family involved.  

Instead, try to purchase at some of the local restaurants on shore.  You’ll get a more authentic feel for your destinations culture, it’ll be cheaper & you will get to try some pretty sweet new foods to brag about with your buddies later!

4.) Tours with the Locals.

It seems to me that all cruise lines will do anything in their power to convince you to purchase all tours through them.  Although at times you can find some great deals, sometimes it’s just not the best.  Before booking your cruise, try researching the destinations you’ll be visiting.  

Are there local tour guides that offer that same tour?  If so, contact them and see if they’ll beat the price being that you’ll be cutting out the middle man.  If you want to get even more thrifty and are extremely interested in a tour that the cruise line is offering, simply find out what company they’re using, contact them and let them know that you’ll book directly through the company if they give you a discount.

Another great idea is to simply step off the ship and look for locals who are sitting outside willing to give you a personalized tour themselves.  Although this can be sketchy in some destinations if you don’t know what to look for, in others this can be the best way to go as you can pay one flat fee and gain a personalized guide for the rest of the day that’s willing to take you wherever you’d like to go in the area!

5.) Thrifty is the Key to Souvenirs.

Being a budget traveler, I rarely go out and get souvenirs for all of my friends & family members back home.  It’s not necessarily because I’m a jerk; in all reality I would LOVE to get gifts for everyone.  But when it comes down to it, purchasing even the smallest trinket just costs too damn much for me to buy especially when everyone wants one.  These things add up and in the end, I’d rather spend this money towards more traveling.

But if you absolutely feel like you “have to” purchase souvenirs then the best bet would be to get them on shore and “out of bounds” of the typical spots tourist would go to.  For instance, try hopping on a bus and going to the next town over from your port of call.  I guarantee you that the prices will be much more affordable that where you previously were.  

And instead of getting big gifts, why not just purchase postcards?  I recently just took a trip where everyone thought the photos were beautiful and wanted a gift from there.  So what did I do?  I got a pack of 6 postcards and a few stamps.  In all, I spent no more than $8 usd and everyone was very happy with their gift.  If you really want to know my 2 cents on this subject here it is: if you really want a gift from a location, why not just go there yourself.  You’ll get the best gift anyone can give you…the memory of a lifetime! 😉

Remember, by following just some of these tips, you can create a smooth cruising experience along with a memory that’ll last a lifetime!

What so you do to save money while traveling?