Five ways to save money on official cruise ship excursions

Amsterdam canal with tourist boat

Save some money and explore more

Read any forum or Facebook group and you’ll find many a person discussing which is the best way to do an excursion when in a port. Some will say you should always go with the ship for safety reasons (generally, the ship will never leave without you if you take one of their excursions), some will say why pay more for something you can seek out and do yourself? (with more than likely a little bit of legwork and paperwork!).

But this guide isn’t about that! We’re talking about official ship excursions here and how you can save some money on them!

1. Haggle a deal

Either haggle with your travel agent or shop around to find one more competitive. Sign up with them and your chosen cruise line to receive special offers by email. At some point, your chosen cruise will more than likely include some OBC (onboard credit) – easily enough to buy one or two shore excursions of your choice!

Malaga MSC Cruises Alcazaba Museum guide

2. Book them in advance

Almost all cruise lines allow you to book shore excursions before you take your cruise. For example, MSC Cruises allows you to log in to your voyage planner and purchase shore excursions with up to 20% discount compared to the onboard price.

Example discounts for pre-booking your shore excursions

3. Buy them in bundles

If you didn’t book any shore excursions before starting your cruise, head to the Shore Excursion office when on the ship. There should be posters and leaflets around that are advertising any special offers. Sometimes, if you book several excursions (not all at the same port!) you will receive a discount (either money based or buy 2, get 1 free for example).

Example shore excursion bundles on MSC Magnifica

4. Go to the onboard port lectures

The onboard port lectures are not only really informative, but they sometimes have a small perk attached to them too! At the end lookout for staff handing out vouchers or any leaflets near the talk. Some of these vouchers or prize draws can offer a whopping 30% discount or more from a shore excursion related to the port lecture. Not only are they worth listening to, but you may earn a good discount for a tiny amount of your time!

Typical shore excursion discount offer

5. Look out for deals in the daily programs

Some ports are more popular than others and may sell out before the ship reaches the port in question. But other ports have so many options that there may be extra spaces left on some shore excursions. Look out in the ship’s daily program for any offers that are available. They can range from a percentage discount to kids go free or perhaps even more! You can always go to the Shore Excursions office at any time and ask them if they have any last-minute offers available too.

MSC Meraviglia, Valencia Daily Program
MSC Meraviglia, Valencia Daily Program

We hope our five short money-saving tips let you enjoy some beautiful shore excursions on your next cruise! If you want to talk about which shore excursions to do in the ports you are visiting, you can contact us via our social media channels or join our Facebook Group and chat with other like-minded cruisers!

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