Published On: Fri, Oct 13th, 2017

How to Save On a Mediterranean Cruise

PHOTO: Keeping an eye out for special deals can mean big savings on Mediterranean cruises. (photo via Pixabay/Sylabo)

Cruising the Mediterranean is a smart way to see several new destinations with ease. You can sleep on the ship and arrive in a new spot—and even a new country—every day.

Plus, there is a “budget” component to cruising that you can’t get elsewhere.

When you pick a cruise instead of a land-based trip, most of your meals are included in the price along with your lodging. Plenty of entertainment is also on board and free of charge. This can include nightly shows, pools and spas and dedicated kid’s clubs.

Since all cruises aren’t created equal, however, you should definitely price shop before you book. Here some ways to whittle down the cost of your Mediterranean cruise quite a bit.  

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Compare Cruise Lines

By and large, the best way to save money on a Mediterranean cruise is to be flexible with the cruise line you choose. While all cruises stop at a similar selection of ports, many offer a more luxurious feel and added amenities that lead to higher costs.

Here’s a good example: A Windstar Luxury Cruise with stops in Italy, Croatia and Greece starts at around $3,799 per person, whereas you can do a similar cruise with MSC Cruises starting at $769 per person—and kids might even be free due to their frequent two-for-one promotions.

Go Off-Peak

Traveling off-peak is a great way to save money on all aspects of your trip, from your flights into Europe to your hotel stays before and after your cruise.

Generally speaking, off-peak travel to Europe falls between October and May of each year.

READ MORE: Loads of ‘Plan A Cruise Month’ Deals

Skip the Balcony

No matter what cruise line you book with, you’ll pay an upcharge if you want a room with a view or a balcony. To save as much as you can, skip the balcony or the suite and go with an interior room or an exterior room with just a window.

The savings for choosing a cheap room can be substantial and can even add up to hundreds of dollars per person depending on the cruise.

And, let’s face it: you’re not going to be in your room much anyway with all that modern cruise ships offer onboard and via itineraries.

Leverage Rewards

While cruise lines tend to have their own version of a loyalty program, the perks are mostly good for cabin upgrades and special amenities.

If you want to cruise for free, however, you can do so with a flexible travel credit card.

One of my favorites for cruises is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard. This card offers 2x points for every dollar you spend, and you can redeem your points on any travel purchase including cruises.

READ MORE: Save for ‘Plan a Cruise Month’ With MSC

Watch for Promotions

If you keep an eye out for promotions, it’s possible to stumble onto a cruise sale—even for Mediterranean cruises. Keep your eye out for two-for-one deals (as mentioned above), promotions that let kids cruise free or add-ons like free internet access, free drink packages or free cabin upgrades.

While some promotions can help you save, others will simply upgrade your experience. Either way, you’ll get a better cruise for a price you can afford.

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