Cruise Secrets! CruiseMates

A guide to the basics of cruising with something for everyone to learn.

Welcome! You have just found our guide to "cruise secrets." In the first 10 articles below we give every trick we have ever learned about how to save money and get the most out of your cruise - in the booking process, and onboard.

We teach you how to recognize and time your cruise purchase for the cheapest prices, how to save on transfers to the ship, tours, tips, travel agents and bar tabs. You will also learn how to pick the best stateroom for yourself and for the money.

This guide is for everyone, from first-time cruisers to the most experienced who think they already know it all. It starts with our cruising glossary below, just in case we hit a term you do not recognize. But do not feel like you have to know everything nautical before you book a cruise, that just isn't true. But what is true is that you will know a lot more by the end of your first cruise than you did on the first day.

Start reading now - there is plenty to know, and not much time required to absorb it...

Cruising Glossary - Looking for the definition of a common cruise term? See our cruising dictionary.

1. Selecting a Cruise Port This first article helps you select the best port of departure for your needs. You can sail from Galveston, Texas, and visit the same ports as many Miami cruises! For West Coasters, this means faster and cheaper air - so no need for a pre-cruise hotel stay.
2. Related "Getting There" Costs Sometimes getting to the ship is the biggest challenge - especially if you have kids. It may be more convenient to drive than you think and we help you figure that out. Other ways to save as well.
3. Picking Your First Cruise Ship A guide to help first-time cruisers differentiate and select their first cruise line and ship. More experienced cruisers already know the various ship styles - but there are even some tips here for experienced cruisers.
4. Timing Your Cruise Purchase to Save Money How to save money on your cruises by timing your cruise purchase. This article shows the methods cruise lines use to set their prices; simple supply and demand. Now you can save significant amounts of money by choosing the cruises they need to sell - not the ones in short supply.
5. Discounts and Other Credits Tips for getting onboard credit and other perks on your cruise. How to maximize your cruise dollars, manage your cruise booking and protect your investment.
6. Cruise Ship Stateroom Selection How to get the best deals and the smoothest ride - location, size, amenities and number of beds. There is more to stateroom selection than whether it is inside, outside or a balcony.
7. Saving Money During the Cruise The experienced cruisers at CruiseMates to tell us the many ways they have to save money onboard the ship. Is the spa worthwhile? What about the cost of drinks? Are you required to pay gratuities?
8. Shore Excursions and Tours How to save time and money on shore tours in port during your cruise. Ship tours may not be the best value, but they offer the highest level of security that you won't miss the ship. How important is that?
9. Seasickness and Health at Sea How to avoid seasickness and the fabled "cruise ship virus" aboard cruise ships. How bad are cruise ships, really, when it comes to the potential for picking up a virus, and how can you avoid it if you end up on a "sick ship?"
10. Why Use a Cruise Travel Agent Why a travel agent can be your best, cost-free asset in booking a cruise. Yet, the reasons why some people choose to manage their own bookings and how they do it.


Free all-inclusive beverages and specialty dining on over 350 cruises now on sale

How to save money on shore tours and time in port during your cruise.

Hidden cruise costs you will discover after you board the cruise ship

Cruise travel may be the most generally misunderstood vacation experience – especially by those who have never taken a cruise.

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Our own experienced CruiseMates devise a list of essential items to bring on every cruise

How to save money on your cruises and other related costs by timing your cruise purchase.

Despite the relaxing image, a cruise trip can be as adventurous as any vacation, depending on the ship and itinerary.

How to sneak liquor onto a cruise ship - the full story from an authoritative source

No matter your background nor your interests, there is surely a cruise vacation that will suit you.

Despite the relaxing image, a cruise trip can be as adventurous as any vacation, depending on the ship and itinerary.

While some cruise lines are all-inclusive, most others expect passengers to reward gratuities according to proper cruise etiquette.

Despite the relaxing image, a cruise trip can be as adventurous as any vacation, depending on the ship and itinerary.

The first of a series, this article features the secrets to choosing a port of departure that is best suited to your travels.

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