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Internet reveals 18 simple ways how to save money on a Royal Caribbean cruise

13 May 2024
Matt Hochberg

From a few dollars to hundreds, there are easy ways to save money on a Royal Caribbean cruise if you know what to do.

Money Saving tips

While a Royal Caribbean cruise is largely considered an affordable vacation, the overall cost can go up quickly if you're not careful. You can avoid overspending by following some of the best money-saving tricks.

Users on the Royal Caribbean sub Reddit were asked to share all the ways they save money on Royal Caribbean, no matter how miniscule the difference.

Here are the 18 things you can do to save money on how to save money. We also have our list of Royal Caribbean tips and tricks that cover every aspect of a cruise. 

1. Stick to the free restaurants

One of the most repeated tips to save money on any Royal Caribbean cruise was to eat the restaurants included in your cruise fare.

Royal Caribbean offers restaurants that cost nothing extra to dine at, as well as restaurants that cost extra. The choice is yours, and a lot of cruises assume they need to eat at the specialty restaurants because of how much the cruise line advertises them.

Read more: How does Royal Caribbean dining work?

The reality is the food offered at the Main Dining Room, Windjammer buffet, and other spots are very good. There's certainly more than enough food to keep you satisfied, and considering how much the cruise fare costs up-front, it makes sense to lean heavily into the restaurants rather than spending more on additional restaurants.

Specialty restaurants can offer either higher quality food, or cuisines not otherwise available in the free restaurants.  But if you can avoid the temptation to dine at them, you could save a lot of money quite easily.

2. Book an inside room instead of a balcony or suite

Split bed configuration inside cabin

Another super easy tip to save money is cut back on your cabin.

There are four basic types of staterooms on any cruise: inside, oceanview, balcony, and suites. Generally speaking, the price goes up as you move up to each category.

An inside room is going to almost certainly be the cheapest option, and it gets you everything you need without a hefty price.

Odyssey of the Seas interior cabin 9225

No matter how much more moving up to a balcony would be, the money saved by staying in an inside cabin could be a real difference maker. Similar-reason-5200 wrote, "let's be honest you aren't spending much time in there," and there's a lot of truth to that statement.

Read more: Inside cabin vs. balcony room

Brilliance of the Seas interior cabin

There's so much happening around the ship and in the ports of call you visit, that a lot of times the cabin ends up being somewhere to sleep, shower, and change and then you're elsewhere.

TrekJaneway added, "I don’t really spend time in my room, so all I need is a place with a bed and a shower, and I’m good."

Read more: Where is the best place to stay on a cruise ship?

3. Don't be lured into buying jewelry or watches

Royal Bling jewelry

A lot of people think the jewelry deals offered on the ship simply aren't great.

The Invicta watches are one notorious type of jewelry that some cruisers question the value of. You'll likely see lots of sales and advertisements on the ship for those and other pieces, and by not indulging, you could save a lot.

4. Bring your own over-the-counter medication


You never know if you'll catch a cold, eat something that doesn't agree with you, or get seasick, so be prepared.

JanieLFB shared her tip that she will buy a travel-sized options before the cruise begins, "I went to my local drugstore and bought small packets of generic drugs." This little trick could save you money considering how much Royal Caribbean charges for the same drugs onboard. 

It's a good idea to bring these essentials to keep in your cabin:

  • Cold medicine
  • Seasickness medication
  • Headache medicine
  • Sunburn treatment
  • Upset stomach and diarrhea medicine
Vending machine

Bringing your own medication ensures you not only don't waste money on the same overpriced meds on the ship, but you also get the brand, dosage, and type of delivery method you prefer.

Read more: Ultimate cruise packing list

5. Skip a drink package

Two cocktails

A lot of people on Reddit advocated not buying a Royal Caribbean drink package.

Similar to the argument about the food included, these people felt a drink package just costs too much money and the drinks included with the cruise are sufficient (assuming you don't want alcohol).

Some also felt the drink packages require too much drinking to "break even" on them, and you're better off paying for drinks you really want individually.

Read more: 6 alternatives to a Royal Caribbean drink package

And definitely don't try to cheat the drink package either.

6. Bring your own wine or champagne

Wine brought onboard

One easy way to save money on alcohol on your cruise is to bring your own wine or champagne.

Royal Caribbean allows guests to bring one bottle of wine or champagne per adult on embarkation day.

You can also bring 12 bottles of non-alcoholic drinks per stateroom.

Read more: Food or drinks you're allowed to bring on a Royal Caribbean cruise

7. Wait until midnight on the first day to book a WiFi package

Wifi on the balcony

User Illustrious-Gur-6775 had a great way to get back about $20 on your internet package.

Instead of buying it for the entire cruise, wait until midnight on the first day and then activate it.  The rationale is you will be able to use your cellular connection until the ship leaves, and then it's only 7 hours until midnight. 

By waiting to midnight, you'll pay a pro-rated rate for the remainder of the cruise, minus day one.

8. Get free WiFi in port


Instead of buying Royal Caribbean's internet service, you could just find free WiFi spots in the ports you visit.

There's usually a bar, restaurant, or shop that advertises free WiFi while you're in that establishment, and it's good enough for checking your email, catching up on social media, and otherwise getting connected for a brief period.

If being online isn't a priority for you during your cruise, relying on free internet hotspots while in port could save you over a hundred dollars on Royal Caribbean's service.

Don't forget that you can still use the Royal Caribbean app without a WiFi package, including the chat feature.

9. Drink alcohol in port

Just like WiFi, booze are probably cheaper in port too.

It's not difficult to find bars in the ports your ship visit, and there's a good chance the price is going to be less than what Royal Caribbean offers, especially in the Caribbean.

You'll need to price it accordingly, but you might save money getting your drink on in port instead of buying drinks on the ship.

10. Order the drink of the day

Drink of the day

Another way to save money on your bar bill is rely on the drink of the day special.

Every day there will be one cocktail that is $3 or $4 cheaper than usual. It's listed in the Cruise Compass, as well as noted on a sign in many bars.

If you're not picky about your drinks, the savings can add up quickly.

Read more: Drink prices on Royal Caribbean

11. Use any loyalty offers first


Even after just one cruise, Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society provides discount coupons you can use.  The catch is you have to remember to ask to use them.

Read more: 11 of our favorite under-the-radar Crown & Anchor perks

Each person gets an assortment of discounts they can use, such as half off a glass of wine, 25% off any coffee beverage, or discounts on Royal Caribbean logo merchandise.

You'll get a letter in your cabin with the exact list of offers each guests has. Then, you just need to ask the crew member at the bar, shop, or spa to redeem the discount when ordering.

Read more: The Crown and Anchor perks you should use on every Royal Caribbean cruise

12. Skip the casino

Casino on Royal Caribbean

Another commonly cited way to save money is not risking any in the ship's casino.

The casino is a huge revenue maker for any cruise line, and while you could theoretically win money here, it's just easier to not go in and spend money there in the first place.

A few Reddit users said to skip the casino as an easy way to save money. You can't lose if you don't play.

13. Look for sales leading up to your cruise

Cruise Planner

While some of these tips advocate skipping the extra cost packages, if you do buy them, you'll want to re-price them again and again.

Royal Caribbean runs sales almost every day, so you should periodically check for new discounts.

14. Set a budget for each day while on vacation

Cash on cruise ship

One way to limit overspending while on your cruise is have a daily budget.

Reddit user tdybr07 shared one example, "For example: plan $100/day spending money per day including sea days. This helps you with spending money on the ship, (shops, casinos, specialty dining or whatever you decide) as well as in ports."

This is a smart method of ensuring you don't go "swipe happy" and come home after your cruise to a giant bill.

15. Prepay gratuities, beverage packages and excursions

Junior Suite on Symphony of the Seas

This will allow you to get on the ship and know that you won’t be charged additional charges unless you make any purchases on the ship.

illuminated0ne wrote, "if you do buy anything from Royal Caribbean, make a note of the price and keep checking back. The prices change all the time, if you see it cheaper, you can just cancel and rebook for a savings."

There's no penalty for cancelling and rebooking a Cruise Planner purchase. It just requires you to take the time to double check the price.

16. Look for a good travel agent that has special rates

Symphony of the Seas docked

Some people think booking a cruise directly with Royal Caribbean will save them money, but they're so wrong.

A good travel agent has access to special rates and offers.  Plus, there's no cost to using a good travel agent because Royal Caribbean pays them a commission, not you.

I've lost count how many times I research the cruise I want to book and then contact my travel agent to book, only to be told by them they have a better rate, thanks to a group rate.

wholefvno added to anyone that didn't love their first travel agent, "Travel agents cost nothing and can give you a more personalized experience and good advice. If you had a bad experience, try another one. Some are good at customer service, some are bad."

17. Cruise in the off-season

If you can book a cruise during the shoulder season, you will save so much money compared to peak season.  It's one of the top tips offered on Reddit to get a cheaper cruise.

Jane_Marie_CA wrote to try booking a cruise, "Far away from school breaks and holidays," as a strategy to get lower prices.

As an example, her April 28 sailing on Harmony of the Seas was $2,000 cheaper than the same cruise in summer.

Serenade of the Seas docked in Skagway, Alaska

Royal Caribbean’s off-season prices can typically be found during these dates:

  • January (excluding MLK weekend)
  • February (excluding President’s Day weekend)
  • May
  • September
  • October
  • First two weeks of November
  • First two weeks of December

Of course, the downside to off-season is there's a reason it's less popular. It could be because it's in the middle of hurricane season or during a month prone to colder temperatures.

18. You don't have to get off the ship in port

Oasis Class ship docked in Nassau

Don't feel obliged to get off the ship and spend money on a shore excursion that doesn't excite you.

"If I don't see an excursion that excites me, I don't spend the money," wrote Jane_Marie_CA.

Not only will you save money by not paying for a tour, but you'll get to enjoy a relatively emptier ship while others are in port.

Read more: 5 best reasons to stay onboard the ship while in Perfect Day at CocoCay

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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