8 Tricks to Save Your Money, Time (and Sanity) on a Family Cruise

Now you can sail all family cruise lines with much cheaper prices.
tricks to save money on a family cruise
Adobe Stock
Last Updated
August 8, 2023
Editorial Staff
This article may have featured some affiliate links that are independently selected by our editors. We may earn affiliate revenue and commission when you buy something here. Affiliate Disclosure

A family cruise can be an amazing experience, but it can also be expensive and overwhelming. There are so many things to consider, from choosing the right cruise to packing for everyone in your family.

That's why we've put together this article for you, filled with tips and tricks to help you save money, time, and sanity on your next family cruise. Inside, you'll find advice on everything from booking your cruise to packing for your kids.

With our help, you can relax and enjoy your cruise without worrying about the details. So don't wait any longer - take a look at the tips and tricks to get started on your dream family cruise!


1. Snag special discounts by sailing at off-peak times

The best way to score special discounts on a family cruise is to sail during a low-traffic time. You can find a fantastic deal by sailing during periods when the majority of cruisers are busy or not interested.

Most cruisers make their plans based on work, school, or home schedules, and this is the ideal time to score a great deal.


2. Look for cruise lines offering complimentary perks

When looking for a family cruise, look for cruise lines that offer complimentary perks for children. For example, some cruise lines offer free cruise fares for children under the age of 18 when sharing a cabin with two full-fare adults.

In addition, some cruise lines offer complimentary room upgrades and wifi. Other cruise lines offer half-priced deposits or special promotions for children.

Another option is to join a cruise line's rewards program, such as The Key or the Faster To The Fun program. You can even enjoy priority boarding, tendering, and disembarkation. These perks can save you money and time.

If you're looking for perks for children, check out Norwegian Cruise Line's Free at Sea promotion. The Norwegian Cruise Line offers free cruises for third and fourth passengers on select itineraries. The cruise line also offers complimentary kids' menus at all specialty dining locations.


3. Get an early start on planning

A cruise vacation is a great option for large families because it's relatively easy to plan. The key is to start early, ideally six months before you want to travel. If possible, book a cruise during the summer or school holidays.

It's best to have a minimum of two adults as the group leader and at least one other adult who can coordinate the travel plan.

Make sure you choose a ship that offers enough time to explore the different ports of call. While it can be frustrating to have to spend a whole day at sea, this time is actually a great time to get a feel for your ship and the various activities. Even if the trip doesn't include much free time, you can take advantage of the ship's kid's clubs.

Then, once on board, remember to pack your day bag with your family's flip-flops or sandals. You should also pack sunscreen and sunglasses. Having these items with you will help ensure that everyone has the right items for a day of swimming, sunbathing, and other fun activities.


4. Pick the right cabin

When planning a family cruise, picking the right cabin can make or break the trip. Choosing the right cabin means balancing your wants and needs with your budget. If you're going with kids, a bigger inside cabin might be the best option.

These cabins have better sleeping conditions and offer more space. However, they will cost more than a basic inside room. On the other hand, balcony cabins offer a view of the sea and are better for relaxation.

If you have young children, choose a cabin with a bathtub. Bathtubs are not included in the cabin's price, but they will make bathing your children easier and save you money. Some cruise lines also provide inflatable baby tubs for families with small children. For larger families, it might be best to book two cabins with doors so that you can have two bathrooms.

Cabin size and location are two major factors that determine the cost of a family cruise. Some families will prefer a cabin close to the lobby, but others may not prefer it due to noise. Likewise, cabins with unobstructed views and penthouses will cost more.


5. Choose the right ship by working with a trusted agent

One of the best ways to save money on a family cruise is to choose the right ship. A good cruise liner will have a good price range for its packages, so it's important to shop around to find the best price. Another way to save money is to use third-party shuttles instead of the ship's.

These services are generally less expensive than the cruise liner's shuttles and don't require any extra fees. Another way to save money on a family cruise is by bringing extra camera supplies, as buying extra onboard can get expensive.

A trusted cruise agent can recommend several cruise lines and give you a variety of options. They can also save you money by offering you personalized service and exclusive perks. For example, they can add flowers to your stateroom or onboard spending money for you. They can even arrange a bottle of bubbly when you arrive for an extra special occasion.


6. Book shore excursions in advance

Before booking shore excursions, be sure to have enough cash on hand. Many independent vendors require cash payments. You will also have to exchange local currency in many ports of call. Some countries also practice tipping. It is best to research the currency you will use before your cruise. Also, make sure there is an ATM at the port of call.

It is also a good idea to check reviews before booking shore excursions. This will help you avoid booking a bad tour company. If you find negative reviews, you will want to find an alternative tour company. This is especially important if you plan to visit destinations with language barriers.

When planning your cruise, don't forget to make time for shore excursions. Many cruise lines have excursions designed specifically for children and teenagers. Some have age, height, or weight restrictions, so be sure to check the details of each excursion before booking.


7. Create a budget and stick to it

Budgeting for a family cruise is easier than you think. Cruise lines make it easy to set aside a set amount for "gratuities." Most cruise lines charge between $12 and $15 per person, per day. It's customary to tip onboard staff, especially for children. You can add the tips to your total cruise cost or charge them to your shipboard account before departure.

To save money on the cruise, first, determine what is essential for the entire family. Decide which expenses you want to cut back on or eliminate entirely. Next, determine how many paychecks you will have between now and the date of your cruise. Divide the expected cost of the cruise by the number of paychecks you'll have between now and then, and that will be your monthly goal.

Another part of your family cruise budget is transportation. If you live close to the port, driving is usually cheaper than flying. You'll also save money by avoiding the parking fee at the cruise ship terminal.


8. Consider family members' ages needs and interests

When choosing a family cruise, consider the age range of your family members and their needs and interests. Some members of your family may have particular dietary or medical needs.

Make sure that the cruise company offers accommodations for those needs. You should also inquire about medical staff and equipment on board.

Make sure that your family members are able to get professional assistance in case of an emergency.




More from TravelMasta