How to Save Money on a Cruise by Avoiding Unnecessary Expenses

Cruise vacations are a fantastic value, with your cabin, dining, onboard activities, and entertainment all included in the fare. However, cruise lines also offer various add-ons that are extra, and many of them are not worth the upcharge. That’s why we’re here to help you save money on your next cruise by avoiding unnecessary expenses. In our video, we discuss 10 things that are considered a waste of money on a cruise, such as priority boarding, onboard photos, drink packages, art auctions, and more. We provide tips on how to cut costs, like booking with local vendors for more authentic experiences and skipping the cruise ship casino. If you’re looking for ways to save money and make the most of your cruise, join us on the Eat Sleep Cruise YouTube channel and share your own tips in the comments section. Let’s “Sea the World, One Port at a Time” together!

Eat Sleep Cruise is a social media platform that aims to help people explore the world one port at a time. We provide informative videos and resources on saving money on cruises, as well as travel tips, cruise reviews, port guides, and more. We invite you to connect with us on various social media platforms, where we welcome questions, conversation, and the opportunity to share our love of cruising. Don’t let unnecessary expenses eat away at your vacation budget – join us and learn how to save money on your next cruise adventure!

How to Save Money on a Cruise by Avoiding Unnecessary Expenses


Cruise vacations offer a perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and luxury, making them a popular choice for many travelers. While the overall cost of a cruise may seem high, there are several ways you can save money and avoid unnecessary expenses to make your vacation budget-friendly. By being mindful of where you spend your money, you can have a fantastic cruise experience without breaking the bank.

How to Save Money on a Cruise by Avoiding Unnecessary Expenses

Priority Boarding

Priority boarding is often marketed as a perk that allows you to board the ship earlier and avoid long lines. However, for most cruisers, priority boarding is unnecessary. The truth is, once you get on the ship, there is no advantage to being among the first passengers. The ship’s facilities and amenities are available for everyone to enjoy, regardless of when they boarded.

By skipping priority boarding, you can potentially save a significant amount of money. Many cruise lines charge extra for this privilege, and the cost adds up quickly if you are traveling with a group or family. Instead, embrace the opportunity to explore the ports of call or relax by the pool while waiting for the initial rush to subside. You’ll find that boarding with the regular passengers is just as enjoyable and budget-friendly.

Onboard Photos

Onboard photos are a classic memento of your cruise vacation, but they come at a steep price. While professional photographers roam the ship, snapping candid shots of passengers, purchasing these photos can quickly become an unnecessary expense. The cost of a single photo can range from $20 to $30, and with the multitude of photo opportunities throughout your cruise, the expenses can add up rapidly.

Instead of splurging on onboard photos, consider alternative options for capturing your memories. Most smartphones nowadays have excellent cameras that can capture high-quality images. Take advantage of the beautiful scenery, stunning sunsets, and memorable moments on your cruise to snap your own photos. You can also bring a portable printer or upload your photos to a digital printing service to create your own physical copies at a fraction of the cost.

How to Save Money on a Cruise by Avoiding Unnecessary Expenses

Drink Packages

Cruise lines offer a variety of drink packages that allow you unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages during your cruise. While these packages can be enticing, it’s essential to determine their value based on your drinking habits. If you’re not much of a drinker or prefer to have drinks sparingly, purchasing a drink package may not be worth it.

Consider the cost of individual drinks and compare it to the price of the drink package. If the drink package costs significantly more than what you would typically spend on drinks throughout your cruise, it might not make financial sense to invest in it. Instead, opt for a pay-as-you-go approach and enjoy drinks on a selective basis. This way, you can still indulge in your favorite cocktail or beverage without the extra expense.

Art Auctions

Art auctions are a common event on cruise ships, where passengers are encouraged to bid on artwork ranging from paintings to sculptures. However, these auctions can be both time-consuming and costly. The pressure to buy can be overwhelming, and you may end up spending more than you intended on artwork that you may not truly love.

To avoid unnecessary expenses, it’s best to skip the art auctions altogether. Instead, spend your time exploring other onboard activities or enjoying the cruise’s amenities. If you’re interested in purchasing artwork, consider visiting art galleries and exhibitions in the ports of call. This way, you can support local artists and find unique pieces that hold true sentimental value.

How to Save Money on a Cruise by Avoiding Unnecessary Expenses

Cruise Line Shore Excursions

Cruise line shore excursions are carefully curated tours or activities offered by the cruise line at each port of call. While these excursions can be convenient, they often come with a hefty price tag. Cruise line shore excursions generally cost more than similar activities offered by local vendors. By opting for excursions provided by local vendors, you can save a significant amount of money while still enjoying unforgettable experiences.

Before your cruise, take some time to research the ports of call and the activities available in each destination. Look for highly-rated local tour operators or standalone attractions that you can book directly. Not only will this typically save you money, but it will also provide an opportunity to support local businesses and experience a more authentic side of each port.

Upcharge Seminars and Classes

Cruise ships often offer a variety of seminars and classes on board, ranging from photography workshops to cooking demonstrations. While these activities can be informative and enjoyable, it’s essential to evaluate their value before signing up. Many of these seminars and classes come with an additional charge, which can quickly add up if you want to participate in multiple sessions.

Instead of opting for upcharge seminars and classes, explore the ship’s daily schedule for complimentary activities. Most cruise ships offer a wide range of free events, such as trivia contests, dance lessons, and educational talks, that can be just as enriching and enjoyable. Additionally, consider using online resources and tutorials to learn new skills or pursue your interests without incurring any additional costs.

How to Save Money on a Cruise by Avoiding Unnecessary Expenses

Specialty Dining

Specialty dining on a cruise ship often refers to restaurants that require an extra fee beyond the included meals in the main dining room or buffet. While specialty dining restaurants can offer unique culinary experiences, it’s important to assess whether they are truly necessary for your cruise vacation.

Most cruise ships offer a variety of complimentary dining options that are included in the price of your cruise fare. From casual burger joints to elegant dining rooms, these restaurants provide a diverse range of cuisine that can satisfy any palate. Take advantage of the included dining options before splurging on specialty dining. By doing so, you can experience an array of delicious meals without incurring additional expenses.

Spa Treatments

Spa treatments are a popular indulgence on cruise ships, offering passengers a chance to relax and rejuvenate. However, these treatments can come with a hefty price tag. From massages to facials, the costs can add up quickly, leaving a dent in your vacation budget.

To save money and still enjoy some pampering, consider alternative options. Many cruise ships have thermal suites or relaxation areas available for all passengers to use, free of charge. Take advantage of these amenities and create your own spa experience by enjoying the sauna, steam room, or whirlpool. Additionally, you can look for port-day specials or limited-time promotions that offer discounted rates for spa treatments.

How to Save Money on a Cruise by Avoiding Unnecessary Expenses

Onboard Shops

Cruise ships are renowned for their onboard shops, offering a wide range of duty-free products, souvenirs, and luxury goods. While it may be tempting to splurge on designer items or tax-free alcohol, it’s essential to exercise caution and avoid unnecessary expenses.

Before giving in to the allure of the onboard shops, consider whether you truly need the items you plan to purchase. Souvenirs and keepsakes can be found at local markets in the ports of call, often at a fraction of the price. Likewise, duty-free alcohol can often be purchased for less at local stores or at the end of your cruise when the ship offers discounted sales. By resisting the impulse to shop onboard, you can save money and make more deliberate purchases.


Cruise ship casinos offer a wide range of games, from slot machines to blackjack tables, providing entertainment for those who enjoy the thrill of gambling. However, it’s important to remember that the casino is designed to make money, not to help you save.

If you’re looking to save money on a cruise, it’s best to avoid the casino altogether. The odds are usually stacked against you, and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and overspend. Instead, enjoy the other onboard activities, such as live shows, comedy performances, or karaoke nights. These options provide entertainment without the risk of losing money.


By being mindful of unnecessary expenses, you can significantly save money on your cruise vacation. From avoiding priority boarding to skipping upcharge seminars, there are plenty of opportunities to cut costs without sacrificing the overall enjoyment of your trip. Remember to prioritize experiences over material possessions and seek out budget-friendly alternatives. Share your money-saving tips with friends and family, and connect with Eat Sleep Cruise on social media for more travel insights. Bon voyage!

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