What's The Deal: Tips to save money on a cruise

According to Cruise Lines International Association, more than 23 million people worldwide will take a cruise this year. If you're one of them, it pays to know some ways to save before you hit the high seas.

The people at MoneyTalksNews have a few cruising tips from the experts.

"I'm actually getting ready to go on my 216th and 217th cruise. I love it because I don't have to pack and unpack. I'm not checking out of hotels. I'm not waiting in airports and I'm not waking up in the same boring place each day. Each day is a new adventure," says cruise expert, Stewart Chiron.

Chiron loves cruising, so much so he makes his living as an expert and cruise broker and since he's personally been on so many cruises, who better to turn to for some tips to save.

His single best idea?

"I recommend people book early because a lot of times, the best deals on the best cabins go first. So I always recommend people booking in advance. But that doesn't mean that there are not last minute deals," said Chiron.

And what about life on board?

While your food is often covered, shopping, gambling, drinking, shore excursions: there are lots of ways you can blow your budget right out of the water. What does Stewart advise?

"Proper planning is important. Speaking to an expert is important, but understand that the food and everything is included. But if you want to add additional services, obviously you're going to pay additional money for it. So just keep an eye on what you're paying for while on board," he said..

Other suggestions? Joining loyalty programs can score you discounts on tickets, room upgrades and even priority boarding.

They're free to join: why not?

As for getting there, you'll probably save by booking your own flight and not taking the cruise line's package deal.

"I recommend you look at it both ways: with air and without air. But most of the time you're going to find booking the air yourself is going to save you a lot of money and give you a better schedule," said Chiron.

One more tip? Consider booking a cruise through an experienced travel agent, they can often find insider discounts and the most current deals.
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