Want To Enjoy Some Sun This Winter? Learn How You Can Do It For Less!

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The yoga class at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat overlooking Paradise Beach on Paradise Island.CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

Some people this time of year love the snow and the crisp air while others wished that they can get away from the cold altogether. If you prefer the latter then check out these tips that Lucas Peterson,  the Frugal Traveler columnist, has given on how you can be able to enjoy the warm sun this winter on a cruise without breaking the bank.

The Cruise Seekers

Ask the community
The message boards on the Cruise Critic website useful: It’s an active community of cruise enthusiasts. They also provide many answers to basic questions which can be found within the various conversation threads. This is a great resource for first-time cruisers. 

Comparison shop, but temper expectations
Shopping around does not always get you a better deal. Instead, look for small ways to get ahead. Expedia and Priceline, for example, both offer varying amounts of on-board bonus spending — good for things like spa treatments and incidentals — depending on how expensive your cabin is.

Read the drinks policy carefully
If you’re going on a cruise, there’s a good chance you will want to enjoy a drink or two during your vacation. The cruise companies are banking on you spending lots of money on their alcohol.

Every cruise line has a different policy, so it is imperative to read up carefully beforehand so that you can maximize what’s allowable. For example, Royal Caribbean allows guests to bring two 750-milliliter bottles of wine or champagne per room. Guests can also bring up to 12 17-ounce cans or bottles of nonalcoholic beverages. Bringing a few waters and sodas will help offset the pain of the $13-per-day soda packages (Yikes) being rolled out in 2019.

The beverages policy at Norwegian Cruise Line is different. Guests may not bring any nonalcoholic beverages aboard, not even water, unless it is for a medical reason or mixing infant formula. Guests may, however, bring bottles of wine and champagne aboard, provided they pay a corkage fee ($15 per 750 milliliter bottle).

Residents of some states get discounts
Some cruise companies offer what’s known as a resident rate — a discount to residents of certain U.S. states. The rates vary, so it’s good to call and ask exactly which states receive a discount. Sometimes it’s the residents of the state that the ship is departing from who get the discount, but residents from other states can be included, too.

Sign up for emails
None of us wants more email, but it can be the best way to stay in the loop about sales and last-minute deals. Once you have set your sights on one or two cruise companies, sign up for their emails to monitor prices and find out when there’s a deal.

Recommendation: If you do not want your personal emails to be mixed with travel subscriptions, create a separate email for your sign ups. That way all your cruise information is in one centralized place.

I hope this information is helpful. For more tips from Lucas Peterson, check out his other articles at https://www.nytimes.com/column/frugal-traveler.

Source: Peterson, Lucas. "Basking in the Sun This Winter, for Less." December 5, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/travel/09frugal-islands-budget-travel-tips.html

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