How to Get Cruise Discounts

I was born a bargainista and nothing excites me more than getting a bargain – even if it is a little bit off full price.  In my mind, a little bit off is better than nothing.  Sometimes it is enough to pay the taxes on my purchase.

save money

Combine my passion for bargain with my passion for travel and you’ll always find me looking for a way to save a buck.  As you all might have realized by now, I really enjoy cruising.  If you are flexible, you can just about always find great rates if you book a last minute cruise.  Blogger Daughter and I once booked a 5 night cruise on Celebrity a week before the sailing and although we did not have a balcony we did score an impressive fare of $250 each.  We were looking for someplace to go and $250 probably wouldn’t have covered our food for 5 days let alone our accommodations and entertainment.  We were also fortunate to find last minute flights for $200 round trip; otherwise, depending on the airfare, we could have driven to Miami.

We did have a very early morning flight and consequently arrived in Miami way to early to go to the cruise terminal.  We sat at the airport near the ground transportation door.  As we were sitting there, I saw a family of three also sitting there.  Hmm, I wondered if they were also going to the Port of Miami as well.  Turned out they were but on a different cruise line.  I asked if they wanted to share a cab to the Port.  Cab fares were $25 per cab.  They indicated they would and when it was time to go, the attendant outside called for a minivan to take us.  Instead of paying $25, we paid $10.  Savings:  $15.  I will go on a limb and suggest that you never purchase transfers from the cruise lines.  You sit in a big bus and wait for it to fill up before you can leave.  The cab was less money and we could go when we wanted to.


Another way to save money while cruising is to purchase 100 shares of stock for the cruise line you are interested in.  I have 100 shares of Royal Caribbean – RCCL(which also includes Celebrity Cruise Line and others) as well 100 share of Carnival Cruise Line – CCL (which also included Holland America and others).  Every quarter I receive a $25 dividend and then an OBC (on board credit) for merely having the stock.

This is the chart from RCCL that shows how much of a credit you’ll receive:

$250           Onboard Credit per Stateroom on Sailings of 14 or more nights.

$200           Onboard Credit per Stateroom on Sailings of 10 to 13 nights.

$100           Onboard Credit per Stateroom on Sailings of 6 to 9 nights.

$ 50            Onboard Credit per Stateroom on Sailings of 5 nights or less.

Some have said that it is not a great stock to have in your portfolio but I disagree.  In the last four years that I have owned RCCL, it has grown by over 130%.  Not too shabby.

alaska cruise

If you are on a cruise and know that you would like to take another cruise in the future, head down to the Future Cruise Office where you can put down a deposit for a future cruise.  By basically pre-paying a portion of your deposit you’ll receive several perks among them, another On Board Credit with your cruise line and a lower deposit when you do decide which cruise to sail next.  RCCL does not let you combine a future cruise credit with a stock purchase credit but can combine them all the lines owned with Carnaval Cruise Line.

One of the best ways to save money is to sail on a repositioning cruise.  At the end of the summer/middle of fall or spring, cruise lines need to reposition their fleet from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean or from the Caribbean to Alaska and other areas around the globe.  Many times you’ll stop in ports that are not traditional port of call for the cruise lines.  I have not done a transAtlantic on a repositioning but I have heard wonderful reviews for the time you are crossing the Atlantic and you think boredom might set in – the crew goes all out to make sure you are still having fun.

Lastly, I suggest going through their Group Sales Department if you have at least a few friends who will cruise with you.  This will get you a certain percentage off your fare (5%).  They want to have at least 8 staterooms with double occupancy for the full discount but if you fall short, you and your group will still get the discount percentage that they offered.

What are your suggestions for saving money while sailing on the high seas?



4 thoughts on “How to Get Cruise Discounts

  1. My husband and I cruise all the time (500 + days) and I rarely book with the same agent. We always know exactly what cruise and cabin category we want so I use and let many agents provide me with quotes. After a few days when all of the quotes are in, I book our cruise with the agent that quoted the lowest price. I’ve never had a problem and on some cruises the quotes have differed by 20% for the exact same thing!

    1. Not only do I get cruise quotes but also for OBC – that factors into the equation for me. On our Aussie cruise we had a $800 OBC from one company but the price was the standard price. Another company cut the cruise price and gace us $150 OBC. I needed to figure out which was the best for us. When you don’t use your OBC, you will receive a credit back on your credit card – makes a difference!

      1. Yes, I figure out the bottom line price (subtracting OBC) and go with the cheapest price. Although if there is a tie or it’s close, I’ll choose the agent with the lowest fare since that is what I base my cruise insurance on.

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