Tips for Cruising on a Budget

By Edited by Budget Travel team, content by listed influencers
November 3, 2021
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Wether it is your first time or your tenth time on a cruise, you'll find these tips unique. We've complied a video with some of the most insightful tips for cruising. If you’re planning on taking a cruise, you want to make sure to check out these amazing tips

Special thanks and shout out to the amazing influencers in this video:


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Confessions Of... A Cruise Agent

Does your travel agent hand out rebates? Do they have the clout to get you an upgrade? If not you may be with the wrong agency. Straight from an industry source, here are the things you need to know before you book your next cruise. Choose specialists, with special deals: When you book a cruise, it almost never pays to go to the cruise line or a regular travel agent. Sure, I'm a bit biased, but cruise specialists have what amounts to insider deals: They're responsible for 90 percent of all bookings, they have access to special blocks of rooms, and their commissions are already built into the price. What some brokers will do, if you ask, is rebate a portion of their commission to lower your fare. Cruise lines rarely discount rooms directly but still charge a 10 percent commission. It pays to wait: Travelers often look at sailing the same way they view flying--they book early, thinking they'll save. But cruise lines would rather give rooms away than sail with vacancies. Think of ships as floating Las Vegas hotels: Empty rooms mean less money spent at shops, bars, and casinos, which are where cruise ships really make their profits. If you're flexible about dates and staterooms, you can have extra poker chips in your pocket when your ship departs. Perks and changing prices: When it appears a ship might sail half empty, out come the promotions, including free upgrades and prepaid gratuities. After booking, look for even lower fares. If rates go down, call your broker. They can often get you the better price, even after you've paid.


Cruises: Getting to the meat of the matter

Sneaky add-ons aren't just an airplane phenomenon anymore. The word on the high seas is that Royal Caribbean is floating (excuse the pun) the concept of charging more for items like premium steaks in its main dining rooms, where passengers have had the luxury of ordering anything they want for no extra charge. The line has started to sell 10-ounce Black Angus steaks for $15 in the main dining rooms on two of its ships, Freedom of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas. What do you think? Has the line, well, crossed the line? Or is this a positive new perk?


Cruise ships under threat by pirates

Pirates are threatening cruise ships in a waterway that connects the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean. The German cruise line Hapag-Lloyd is evacuating 246 passengers and crew from its ship the Columbus because authorities have warned that pirates may attack as the ship travels from Genoa to Dubai on a round-the-world cruise. The German navy denied the luxury cruise line its request for an armed escort. Pirates have attempted to board two cruise ships in the Gulf of Aden in the past couple of weeks. But no cruise ship has been successfully hijacked. The pirates have attacked dozens of merchant vessels in the past year, seizing ships and crew. They usually demand large cash ransoms, which are paid in bags of cash. "Some of the pirates have counting machines and also machines to detect fake notes," reports the BBC. Longtime cruise writer Anne Campbell says she isn't worried about the safety of cruise ships because the ones passing through dangerous straits have privately trained security staffs. She argues that it would be difficult for small bands of pirates to take over a cruise ship with hundreds of people on board. Plus, cruise ships can speed up and escape pirate attacks, as other cruise ships have done in recent days.


River Cruises: Watch out for bankruptcies

The popular German river cruise company Peter Deilmann Cruises will shut down its river cruise operation by year end due to money trouble. [UPDATE 7/10: Its ocean cruises will continue to operate.] Meanwhile, one of the largest European operators, Viking River Cruises, has been having a bumpy ride financially. A planned funding deal this past spring to cover expenses has fallen through. But—unsurprisingly—Viking claims it is in sound financial condition, reports The Travel Insider. Bottom line—be careful with whom you book a river cruise with. Given the struggling economy, river cruise lines—and the travel agencies that sell them—may sink in red ink. Book with a credit card. If you never receive the cruise you paid for, write a letter to the "billing inquiries" address on your credit card statement (and keep a photocopy for your records). You should get a refund to your card within 60 days, thanks to protection under the federal Fair Credit Billing Act. If you buy travel insurance, buy it directly from an insurer like Travel Guard or Access America rather than from a cruise line or travel agency, which may go bankrupt and charge marked-up prices for policies.