Cruise ship excursions are the ideal way to enjoy your next vacation, letting you enjoy land and sea while other people take care of everything else. Cruises can be pricey too, costing you thousands of dollars for you, your spouse, and your children.

Fortunately, there are ways for you to save money on your next cruise. With a budget in mind, you can arrange a trip that is both enjoyable and affordable.

1. Wait until its almost too late. Plan ahead and you may save money on your next cruise. However, if you leave even on the spur of the moment, you may be able to shave 25 percent or more off from the cabin price as cruise lines seek to fill empty berths. Check with your cruise line or travel agent to score a big discount.

2. The more the merrier. If you are taking your family, have everyone stay in your room. You’ll pay far more if you must book another cabin. If you’re not traveling with kids, have other people you know travel and stay with you. You’ll split your costs between more people, saving you money.

3. Choose when to cruise. Cruise during the busy season and you’ll find it difficult, if not impossible, to score a big discount on your trip let alone find a cabin unless you book early. The busy months can vary but include June, July and Aug., as well as Nov. and Dec. If you can travel during the other months you’ll enjoy significant savings.

4. Bring your own wine. It used to be that if you took a cruise you could not bring your own wine. These days, cruise lines have bowed to passenger pressure and typically allow you to bring up to two bottles of wine or bubbly when you embark. You can enjoy the bottle in your room at your leisure, but know that if you bring it with you to the dining room you’ll be charged a corkage fee, typically costing $10 to $20 per bottle.

5. Luggage fees apply. The more stuff you bring with you, the more you’ll pay for your luggage. Just like the airlines, your cruise line may limit your luggage to a few items, so pack light and do some laundry onboard if you must.

6. Book a repositioning cruise. Cruise ships travel the world, but sometimes they must reposition to pick up passengers. While repositioning you may be able to tag along and enjoy the same amenities, but at less than half the cost. Its a one-way cruise which also means you’ll need to book and pay for your return airfare.

7. Choose an inside cabin. An ocean-view stateroom will cost you far more than an inside cabin. With the latter you won’t get the view, but you’ll save money and can always walk to the deck when you want to see water.

Cruise Considerations

Another way to save is to shorten your cruise time from the standard 7-day cruise to four or five days. The shorter cruise may be ideal especially if you have one destination in mind and believe that you’ll see enough across the shorter timespan.

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