We all know, Royal Caribbean is one of the biggest cruise company in the world. I had never been sailing on a big cruise before. Lucky me! I won a lucky draw and got on board with the Royal (Voyagers of the Seas) for 4 days 3 nights from Singapore as my first cruise experience. Yes! I was excited about it, but I did not expect to have much fun enjoying the cruise.
Here are the 8 budget hacks what to do and how you can hack your budget for your cruise trip:
1. They offer more deals on the cruise!
Do not book any packages online in advance. Even if they have promotions on the web, please don’t! You can or might want to tailor your first cruise trip as perfect as it can be, but they will offer more deals, more discounts on the cruise, especially on your last night of the trip. The later the better! Therefore, it is not a smart choice to book your beverage packages, internet, activities and excursion trips, additional meals and other arrangements in advance.
2. Bring enough USD in cash for payment!
You should pay all the mandatory charges of the cruise before the trip. It helps you to ease the budgeting on how much you spend during the trip. Make sure you tell the cruise staff to put your account settlement in cash. All charges in the cruise will be in US dollars.
The cruise has money changer for sure, but expect the exchange rate is lower than what you can get outside. There are ATMs for cash withdrawing and EDC machines for credit card payment as well. Yet, I still recommend you for bringing enough cash in advance to avoid the additional charges, such as administration charges for ATM withdrawing and additional charges (based on percentage) issued by the cruise and lower exchange rate used by the bank if you made the payment with a credit card.
3. Buy deluxe beverage package on the cruise upon arrival and cancel it on the next day!
There will be a staff offering buy 1 get 1 deal on the deluxe beverage package once you stepped on the cruise. Do not think twice, buy it! Each of you will get a tumbler and special sticker on your card (identity and settlement card). The package will include any drinks both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages at any time and any restaurants/bars. It costs about $75 a day, but they will charge you for the total days of your trip. You can cancel the deal without any charges within 48 hours after the purchased and they will charge you only for the days had already passed and drinks that you have ordered on the day of cancellation. For example, if you cancel it on the second day, you will be charged $75 for the first-day package and the drinks that you have ordered on the second day. Therefore, nothing to worry!
The basis of any drink package is that you will drink enough to “break even” each day to make the packages worth it. The regular beer, liquor, and wine cost about $7.5, $8.5 and $12 respectively, so please do your counting! If you don’t drink that much, it can be useful for buying someone a drink to start a conversation as well. Personally deliver it, and try not to be seen by the bartender (read: cheating)!
4. Stay hydrated without the hassle!
In addition to number 3 of Royal Caribbean budget hacks. On the first day of your cruising time, there will be 1 bottled water for each guest in the room provided. However, it is only distributed on the first day. No free bottled water for the next days ahead! Therefore, you should ask for bottled water during your first day of unlimited beverage package to maximize your paying and also avoid the hassle for refilling water in your tumbler. You can only get 2 bottles at a time, so you need to ask for a few times and store them for the next days ahead. Having your deluxe beverage package on the first day will be very worth it after all.
5. Eat like a king!
Range of food is served as a buffet during lunch. Bread and salad, Chinese and Indian, American and European, some desserts and fruits are ready to fill your belly. However, I suggest you eat like a prince during lunch and have your dinner like a king. You don’t really need going to premium restaurants for fancy dinner, because it is a 3-course meal dinner at the designated restaurant. Go along with the recommendation of the day! But if you see something you would like to have on the list, and it is not the recommendation of the day, do not hesitate to have them both. I literally ordered for more scallop (an appetizer) after I finished my dessert. In short, eat like a king and finish like a pauper!
Since my suggestion is to cancel the deluxe package on the second day, then you need to bring your own alcohol for the rest of the days. You are only allowed to bring 2 bottles of wine per room. However, I believe, you can bring more bottles as long as you put them in separated luggage, either yours or roommate’s check-in luggage and/or carry-on luggage. In addition, your other alcoholic beverages (beer & spirit) will not be thrown out upon arrival as stated in the T&C, they will return and deliver it on your last night. Therefore, another night with “cheapo” drinks.
7. REST WELL IN THE MORNING!
Tired? Hangover? Please do have your beauty sleep and rest well in the morning. Order your free intercontinental in-room breakfast as your emergency brunch. Skip or take your lunch later and do the onboard activities afterward. Get the dinner early, then join and participate in the events till drop. Check their “in the spotlight”, “daytime adventures”, “not to be missed”, and “evening thrills” daily schedules and join what suits you best.
8. DON’T SUBSCRIBE INTERNET SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE CRUISE!
They charge it per device and of course, it is expensive, and a friend who I met on the cruise and also a staff said that the connection sucks. For Indonesian, I subscribe XL Prioritas service, Prio Pass roaming, which you can tether the internet with your friends with unlimited quota in different countries. It is a lot cheaper, about $10 for 3 days or $14 for 7 days. Definitely, you will get the connection when the ship calls on a port and (lucky enough) most of the times during the sailing time.