We originally planned to charge for this guide to cruise secrets, but instead we decided to give it away - please read this, first-time or experienced cruisers!
A guide to the basics of cruising with something for everyone to learn.
Welcome! You have just found our guide to "cruise secrets." In the first 10 articles below we give every trick we have ever learned about how to save money and get the most out of your cruise - in the booking process, and onboard.
We teach you how to recognize and time your cruise purchase for the cheapest prices, how to save on transfers to the ship, tours, tips, travel agents and bar tabs. You will also learn how to pick the best stateroom for yourself and for the money.
This guide is for everyone, from first-time cruisers to the most experienced who think they already know it all. It starts with our cruising glossary below, just in case we hit a term you do not recognize. But do not feel like you have to know everything nautical before you book a cruise, that just isn't true. But what is true is that you will know a lot more by the end of your first cruise than you did on the first day.
Start reading now - there is plenty to know, and not much time required to absorb it...
Cruising Glossary - Looking for the definition of a common cruise term? See our cruising dictionary.
1. Selecting a Cruise Port
This first article helps you select the best port of departure for your needs. You can sail from Galveston, Texas, and visit the same ports as many Miami cruises! For West Coasters, this means faster and cheaper air - so no need for a pre-cruise hotel stay.
2. Related "Getting There" Costs
Sometimes getting to the ship is the biggest challenge - especially if you have kids. It may be more convenient to drive than you think and we help you figure that out. Other ways to save as well.
3. Picking Your First Cruise Ship
A guide to help first-time cruisers differentiate and select their first cruise line and ship. More experienced cruisers already know the various ship styles - but there are even some tips here for experienced cruisers.
4. Timing Your Purchase to Save
How to save money on your cruises by timing your cruise purchase. This article shows the methods cruise lines use to set their prices; simple supply and demand. Now you can save significant amounts of money by choosing the cruises they need to sell - not the ones in short supply.
5. Discounts and Other Credits
Tips for getting onboard credit and other perks on your cruise. How to maximize your cruise dollars, manage your cruise booking and protect your investment.
6. Cruise Ship Stateroom Selection
How to get the best deals and the smoothest ride - location, size, amenities and number of beds. There is more to stateroom selection than whether it is inside, outside or a balcony.
7. Saving Money During the Cruise
The experienced cruisers at CruiseMates to tell us the many ways they have to save money onboard the ship. Is the spa worthwhile? What about the cost of drinks? Are you required to pay gratuities?
8. Shore Excursions and Tours
How to save time and money on shore tours in port during your cruise. Ship tours may not be the best value, but they offer the highest level of security that you won't miss the ship. How important is that?
9. Seasickness and Health at Sea
How to avoid seasickness and the fabled "cruise ship virus" aboard cruise ships. How bad are cruise ships, really, when it comes to the potential for picking up a virus, and how can you avoid it if you end up on a "sick ship?"
Paul these are great articles but I had a question about whether there is a system where you can put in a price that you want to pay for a cruise and then wait for the price to hit that level. it would sort of be like puts and calls in the stock market.
Another question that came up when I was on a cruise was a situation where a cruise group packager came up with a price for the cruise that included airfare that was cheaper than the rate I paid. Is there a list of these packagers available? I don't know if that is the correct term for these packagers.
Finally, I notice I need a visa to go to Australia. Where do I get it?