How to Have a Great Cruise

So you’ve just booked a cruise…now what? How do you make sure your cruise goes smoothly for a fun and unforgettable experience? Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or an experienced pro, it all comes down to taking the time to plan ahead. To give you a head start, here are our top three tips for getting the most out of your vacation without breaking the bank.

1.   Purchase travel insurance.

Come on, admit it—at some point, we’ve all thought, “It’ll never happen to me!” Unfortunately, all it takes is one unforeseen problem to ruin a vacation. Good travel insurance will help you make contingency plans in emergencies, protect your financial investment in case your plans change due to health or weather, and offer a safety net even if you don’t anticipate problems.

Travel insurance policies cover situations such as trip interruption or cancellation, baggage delay or loss, medical expenses, emergencies and more. If the airline loses your luggage, you could either have a miserable time or simply purchase what you need (thanks to insurance) and relax. Travel insurance gives you more options and flexibility.

2.   Watch out for hidden costs.

Even if your cruise is “all-inclusive,” there will still be out-of-pocket expenses that add up quickly. To spend smarter, find out ahead of time what amenities and activities cost extra, then make a budget and set aside the cash. If you plan carefully, you may even be able to score some discounts and savings.

The most common unanticipated expenses include shore excursions, alternative dining, alcoholic beverages, spa and salon treatments, special onboard activities, laundry, tipping, souvenirs, and photo prints and camera supplies. You can save by selecting a self-guided walking tour, asking about discounted drink specials and spa discounts, packing enough clothes for the whole trip, and bringing plenty of camera batteries.

3.   Practice self-discipline.

Those sales pitches can be hard to resist, especially when you’re on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, but knowing your limit and sticking to it can help you choose activities without spending a fortune. For instance, things that you can’t do back home may be worth the time and cost, but casinos work pretty much the same way wherever you go.

Set a budget before you embark, then keep track of your incidental expenses so you can stay within your budget. Alternatively, you could use a cash system for the extras; when you run out, you’re done spending.

Of course, self-discipline applies to more than just finances. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator will help you combat the extra pounds from all the wonderful food, and slathering on sunscreen will make you more comfortable and photogenic. And keeping a positive attitude will help you go with the flow, even if things don’t go quite as you had planned.

Keeping these tips in mind can help you have a safer, more enjoyable vacation with peace of mind. After all, the purpose of a cruise is to reduce stress; by investing a little time to plan ahead and spend smarter, you’ll be able to focus on relaxing in style throughout your trip!


The IBSS Team


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Jim Tso wants to “give back” and share his 35+ years of successful personal money management experience to help others to achieve their financial goals. Jim created this InvestBetterSpendSmarter blog (IBSS) to provide you with free investing, planning, savings, retirement, and inspirational tips derived from his unique, innovative, and proven approaches to money management. He welcomes and appreciates your feedback.

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