There are loads of Sydney Harbour cruises and operators with bigger ships that focus on the Great Barrier Reef, the Fiji Islands and short holiday tours. Just like the price of other holiday packages, getting the best deal you can just makes good sense. If you pay full retail price, you are paying too much. This is a guide to getting the most out of your fun and holiday cruise dollars. It is all too easy to look for the cheapest price when you want to go on the holiday, and neglect all those extras to keep the cost down when you book. This is certainly not the way to go. You are going to be on that ship everyday, feeling happy, and very hungry with all that sea air. You will want to relax, eat and drink in luxury. You could be saving up to 60%!
- Book in Advance and Get Special Deals. Online booking is always the best way to go. Most operators offer a considerable discount with bookings made online. Specials are always available and the best deals are booked in advance. Bookings in advance can get you around 20% discount, and special deals can mean around another 10% discount, so you will already be 30% ahead of the game.
- Packages. Package deals always get you a better price. If you need flights to your cruise departure point, booking a package in advance will get you the best deal by far. Advance bookings can mean you can get crazy upgrades, such as paying for a standard room but getting the top-end deal. If you are like me, you are very good at this, and travel at less-peak times, and still manage to have perfect weather and an amazing time. When you are getting a great deal, everything is just better.
- Communication. If you are not used to using email, it is time to learn before you go. Telephone calls from these ships are extremely expensive because they are satellite calls. Internet costs, which are also satellite based, are reasonable and a few emails will cost you next to nothing. This will save you a lot of money. A phone call can even cost up to 20AUD per minute! If you are super-cost conscious, consider communication with your mobile on a pre-paid international SIM card at ports you stop in. For even cheaper costs, look for internet cafes at those ports.
- Inclusive. Do not think that you will pay as you go when you are on the ship. You are going to need those meals and drinks, which can add up to quite a lot. Remember, you will be paying hotel prices for drinks and food. If you are not careful, your bill on the ship can end up more than your cruise cost. Just like any other tourism related business, cruise ships want to secure their business with advanced bookings and payments. Putting as much into your package as possible is always the best way to go. Think 3 meals a day, and other additions such as a bottle of wine or pre-pay drinks. You will save over 50% on the cost compared with buying as you go. Take advantage of the free tea and coffee available on most cruises 24 hours a day.
- Take Extras with You. You should take all those little things you need with you. Eye drops, suntan cream and deodorants are just some examples. Just like in a hotel, all of these things will be available on the cruise ship at very high costs.
- Cash. Have some cash on hand on hand to spend buying cheap gifts and mementos from beach side artisans. Use a visa card to pay for anything outside of your country (always press credit on the Eftpos machine, even with a debit or pre-paid cash card) and you will get the best exchange rates and no network use charge.
Cruises from Sydney and cruises around the Great Barrier Reef and the Fiji Islands can be a very affordable holiday if you are smart, and plan ahead. You get double fun, for half the price.