You’ve seen them onboard: The sneaky people who sidle up to the photographers’ gallery, locate their own mugshot and take a cheeky snap on their iPhone. Tightwads? Or just travelers who feel that cruise lines deserve as good as they get when it comes to money-making opportunities?
The difference between being frugal and being downright stingy is highly subjective, as this very long thread on Cruise Critic demonstrates, but some of the money-saving tips from members are highly entertaining.
Several cruisers have an odd relationship with alcohol, it seems; they enjoy a drink but refuse point blank to pay for it. “My alcoholic drinks are limited to the free drinks at the Captain’s party and past guest parties,” says Essiesmom, while Knittinggirl adds: “We usually drink our alcohol at the free functions. If you can stand the crowds, be sure to visit the free alcohol tastings, but hold off purchasing until later. We usually change our minds by then.” Chevycruiser has a different tactic: “We do not buy the art at the auctions – but do sign up and drink the free champagne.”
And — though I can’t condone bringing contraband onboard — one member, Fratboxer, is a mine of information about smuggling booze on the ship, buying cheap spirits in port, stashing the goods in rum runners (plastic flasks) and creating a diversion during the boarding process, where hand luggage is scanned: “If you travel with another compatriot, have them go through the metal detector first, then ask them to make small talk with whoever is manning the metal detector. It worked a dream for my tequila and rum at Nassau,” he says.
Some members enjoy a spot of, er, self-catering. “We don’t buy a soda card – but do drink coffee, tea, and juices for free and even make our own “Cafe Diablo” using their hot cocoa mix, coffee, and creamer,” says Ducklovemama. Pepperlint advises: “For long days in port, I order room service the night before (usually a sandwich) and put it in the fridge. The next morning, I take out the Ziploc bags that I brought with me, pack up my lunch, and away we go!”
Some measures seem rather a false economy. “Laundry can wait until I get home. I purchase new undergarments before we leave and toss the old undergarments along the way,” says N2cruisin2. Lucky everybody doesn’t do that on a big ship. And back on the subject of the onboard photographers, here’s a naughty one from Justgr8fl2cruise: “I ask people to take our picture with our camera using the ship photographer’s backdrop when it’s set up but not in use (I’m not proud).”
Fratboxer again (who really is my favorite cheapskate cruiser for his entertainingly unabashed frugality), suggests leaving your expensive perfume at home. “Why waste money on buying cologne…or even using your own? The ship store has free samples of cologne. Wear a new fragrance every night!”
Of course, there is a serious side to this; some people save incredibly hard to pay for their cruises and genuinely have to watch what they spend onboard. And nobody wants to feel ripped off, even if they’ve got plenty of cash to splash.
(If you’re currently in the budgeting phase of your trip, read our tips for how to save money on your next cruise or 10 ways to save money onboard.
On the other hand … Does this count as true cheapskate behaviour from Cruiselover57? “We’re not gamblers so we look for money in the casino! When people have had just a little too much to drink, they’ll leave spare change in the slot machine trays and more often credits on the machines!” Hmmm.
What’s your canniest money saving tip? Let us know.