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Smooth Sailing: Budget-Friendly Tips for Family Cruising

Cruising with your family is a fantastic way to create lasting memories, but it can also come with a hefty price tag. However, with some strategic planning and a few savvy tricks up your sleeve, you can enjoy a memorable cruise without breaking the bank. In this blog, I will share practical tips to help you save money while still having a fantastic time on your family cruise.

Cruise money saving tips cruise tips and tricks cruising with family

Book Early and Look for Deals

One of the best ways to save money on a family cruise is by booking early. Cruise lines often offer early booking discounts and promotions, providing significant savings. Keep an eye out for special deals, including reduced fares for children, onboard credits, or free amenities. Booking early also allows you to put a deposit on your cruise and pay off the remaining amount of your vacation with zero interest over time. I find amazing deal at discount cruise sites, such as Cruise Critic.

Consider Off-Peak Seasons

Traveling during off-peak seasons can lead to substantial cost savings. Prices tend to be lower, and you'll also avoid the crowds. Additionally, some cruise lines offer special promotions during less popular times, making it an even more budget-friendly option. My favorite time to go is Feb/March or September.

Book a Family Friendly Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line, for instance, is known for its affordability without compromising on family-friendly activities. With a wide array of entertainment options and amenities tailored for all ages, it's an excellent choice for those seeking a memorable family adventure without breaking the bank. Check out amazing deals HERE.

Opt for Interior Cabins

While balcony or ocean-view cabins offer beautiful views, they come at a premium. If you're looking to save money, consider booking an interior cabin. You'll still have a comfortable space to rest, and you can use the extra funds for other memorable experiences during the cruise. If you have a family over 5, split the rooms. On my last cruise we booked one interior room and across the the hall one balcony room. We had the best of both worlds, and saved about $800 by only booking one balcony room.

BYOB - Bring Your Own Beverages

Most cruise lines allow guests to bring a limited amount of non-alcoholic beverages on board. This can help you save on drinks during the trip, especially if you have specific preferences or dietary needs. Check the cruise line's policy for specific details on what is allowed. Bring your own water bottle, I have found the collapsable water bottles are the best for traveling.

Take Advantage of Kids' Programs

Cruise ships offer an array of complimentary kids programs and activities that provide entertainment and supervision while giving parents a chance to relax. This means you can enjoy some downtime without having to spend extra on babysitters or special activities for the kids.

Set a Budget for Onboard Expenses

Before you set sail, establish a budget for onboard expenses, including dining at specialty restaurants, excursions, and souvenirs. This will help you keep track of spending and avoid any surprise charges at the end of the cruise.

Pack Smart and Be Prepared

Packing essentials like sunscreen, medications, and extra toiletries can save you from having to purchase them onboard where prices are often inflated. Additionally, consider bringing your own snorkeling gear or other equipment for excursions to avoid rental fees. Check out our Cruise Packing List.

Book Excursions Independently

While cruise-line excursions offer convenience, they can be more expensive. Research and book excursions independently or consider exploring on your own. Just be sure to allow enough time to return to the ship before it departs.

Kids Cruise Ship Beach Snorkel

Find a Nearby Port

Select a port that's within driving distance or that you can find reasonably priced flights. For instance, residing in Utah, I've found that flights to Los Angeles are generally more budget-friendly compared to those heading to Texas. Opting for a drive to a nearby port might not only be more cost-effective but also more convenient for your family.

Cruising with your family can be a wonderful experience without draining your finances. By planning ahead, being mindful of expenses, and seeking out deals and discounts, you can enjoy a memorable cruise. Happy cruising!

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