Cruise on a budget for a luxury vacation

Post-pandemic, cruising is still one of the fastest-growing industries in the travel world. To cruise on a budget means you can still have a luxury, value-for-money vacation as cruise lines continue to order new and renovate old ships.

New cruise ships and improved technology

New cruise ships are being built at an astonishing rate. Old ships have been refitted, renamed, and repositioned. Modern has replaced traditional. Itineraries have been developed, tested, and perfected. Services on board get better and better each year.

New technology has come with an impressive array of digital developments for smarter cruising—everything from touch screens, online check-ins, and app downloads.

In light of the challenges faced during the pandemic, cruise lines scrambled to develop non-touch everything. And rather than space-savers, they have created space enhancers.

Cruising on a budget can still be luxury

One thing that hasn’t changed is the excellent value cruising offers couples, families, and groups.

Cruising has become our time’s number one best value-for-money vacation compared to other holiday options such as booking a rental car, staying in hotels, and eating at restaurants each evening.

Paying an all-inclusive price and booking with a small deposit and final payment a month before you sail means you can plan and save smartly for that dream vacation. And paying upfront for all your cruising expenses means no unwelcome surprises once you are on board and trying to stick to your budget.

A luxury cruise vacation that also makes sense for your pocket

You can include as much or as little as you want in your cruise package when you book. When cruising on a budget, you have complete control over how much your final booking will cost you. Your base fare will be your cruise, entertainment, meals and snacks, some drinks, and service gratuities.

You can also include flights if you need to fly to and from the port, pre or post-cruise hotel nights, a pre-paid drinks package, guided excursions, and an internet package.

All this means that you have control over what you want to include and minimizes the risk of overspending.

Discounts and reward programs to help you cruise on a budget

Most major cruise companies offer loyalty programs. Signing up for membership is free of charge. You get a membership number to use each time you book your cruise. This helps you to get the perks on offer.

If you are a member of a specific cruise line and decide to switch to another, ask for the same level of entry into their loyalty program. Your membership level depends on how many cruises you have been on. So register when you make your very first booking!

Perks from loyalty programs include discounts on any future cruise you book and onboard credits to spend during your time on board the ship, such as in the shops or when booking excursions. You may also get freebies such as a bottle of champagne in your cabin or special discounts in specialty restaurants.

Here are the best loyalty programs to ask about:

Eat what you like, when you like

Many say cruising is a sure way to pile on the pounds while on vacation. Well, it’s true to a point.

When cruising on a budget, you have access to an array of food almost around the clock. But at the same time, you also have access to activities and a fully equipped gym at no extra cost. So we advise using these facilities so that you can enjoy all the restaurants and on board.

Thirty minutes on the treadmill, yoga, or some swimming laps before breakfast is a fantastic way to start your day. Think peace, mindfulness, and a killer view over the ocean. You will stay in shape on your cruise and relax your mind.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are offered in the formal dining rooms during set hours each day. In addition, the buffet restaurants are open all day, every day. And there are many small eateries onboard for light snacks included in the price of your cruise. There is so much choice that you will never be far from a bite to eat at any time of day.

Stick to your budget with activities that are included

Many are, and some aren’t. For example, riding the North Star observation pod onboard Royals Quantum ships is an extra cost. But a perfect way to use your onboard credits!

But for the most part, you will be able to keep up the fun with activities included in your cruise’s price. That is a fully equipped gym, water gym classes, quiz nights, nightclubs, theatre shows, casino entrances, etc. It’s all included. And that means a great night out, every night.

Meet the author: Sarah has created and booked hundreds of travel itineraries for thousands of customers during a career in the travel industry that spans 20 years. Having worked hand in hand with cruise lines, hotels, airlines and tour operators worldwide, she offers inspiring & detailed insights in the world of travel and tourism.

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