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Five Ways to Save Money on an Australian Cruise

Cruising is one of the best-value holidays you can choose for you and your family, but on most ships, there are extras you’ll have to pay for which risk your budget. If you’re planning to hit the high seas for your next holiday, there are plenty of ways to cut costs without sacrifice. Here’s our top five.


1. Choose the best time to book

They say timing is everything, and when it comes to finding a cheaper fare, it pays to book early, especially if you’re planning to cruise in peak season. If you’re travelling with kids, consider cruising outside of the school holidays, as fares are often higher with less availability due to caps on the number of children on board. Booking at the last minute can be great value for money, especially if you don’t have to fly to the departure destination.


2. Arrange independent shore tours

Shore tours offered by cruise lines can add up. A money-saving option is to research what you want to see and do before you cruise, then get a map and explore it yourself on foot, by car or local taxi. You can also save up to 50 per cent on tours purchased independently from local companies, but be aware that changes to your itinerary could result in you losing your money, and your ship won’t wait for you if you return late.


3. Do it yourself

If you’re planning to do activities such as snorkelling, bring your own gear. Also pack essentials including sunscreen, toiletries, and over-the-counter medications, as they are expensive to buy on board. When it comes to laundry, most ships have self-service laundrettes, and laundry specials are often offered towards the end of a cruise. If you want to stay connected, cruise-ship terminals usually have free wi-fi hotspots, or head to a local internet cafe. If you need to call home, use an app such as Skype.


4. Pick the right drinks package

These usually cover specialty coffees and teas, soft drinks, juices and alcohol, and some are aimed at kids covering soft drinks and juices. Do your sums before you buy to make sure you will get the full financial benefit of your package choice. If you enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, order by the bottle, and if you don't finish it, ask your waiter to save it for another night. Check the daily ship’s guide for any happy hours, drink-of-the-day options, or buckets of beer offers where you buy four and get the fifth bottle free.


5. Seek out complimentary dining venues

Many cruise ships have dining venues that come with a cover charge, but you can eat as much as you want for free in the main dining room, the buffet and at a ship’s casual pool grill. Complimentary room service may also be on offer, and basic drinks including water, filter coffee, tea and lemon squash in unlimited amounts are generally included in your fare. If you fancy a specialty restaurant, keep an eye out for any offers, which may include two-for-one dining on the last night, or a cheaper cover charge if you go for lunch instead of dinner.


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