Budgeting Tips for a Cruise to Fiji
Cruising across the South Pacific Ocean on a luxurious cruise is a magnificent way to see the islands and especially the islands of Fiji. While we love a cruise across those turquoise blue waters in paradise, we don’t particularly like the unnecessary extra costs of a cruise ship holiday. Activities, food and drink can all add to up to be much more expensive than it needs to be! With that in mind, we have put together this quick list of the ways to save money on a cruise to Fiji.
By the way, this list is about saving money on a cruise ship TO Fiji, not about the cruises within Fiji, like Captain Cook Cruises or South Sea Cruises. Check out our Guide to Cruises Around Fiji for more information on THOSE types of cruises.
1. Book Your Onboard Activities on Port Days
From the spa to rock climbing, there is more choice than ever when it comes to onboard cruise activities. But all those activities add up. As most passengers leave the boat on port days to explore the destination of the day, cruise companies have the habit of heavily discounting their onboard activities on port days. So if you have your mind set on that luxurious spa treatment, book it on a port day and save big bucks. If you time it right, you could even pamper yourself early morning and have a whole day to explore your destination too!
2. Don’t Tip Too Much
Although tipping is always appreciated, most cruise lines have a policy of including gratuity (understand “mandatory tip”) to all their pricing. This means that any tip you give to your waiter or staff will be given on top of the already included tip. We suggest to only tip for exceptional service and spend all those savings on more activities on shore.
3. Don’t Book Shore Excursions on the Boat
Speaking of shore activities, cruise companies are notorious for over-pricing shore activities, often marking up the price by up to 300%! For this reason, you are much better off booking your activities on shore. There is so much to choose from in Suva, the main port in Fiji, from stunning island trips to adventurous inland exploration. Check out our 10 Super Things to Do in Suva.
4. Check Out the Free Things to Do in Suva
From delicious island food to incredible gardens, the Fijian capital is a treat to visit. Just so you stick to your budget and are left with plenty of cocktails to sip on when back onboard, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite free & cheap things to do in Suva.
5. Get Fijian Dollars Onshore, Not on the Boat
Exchanging money can be one of the most costly things to do on a cruise ship. Onshore, competition between currency exchange outlets is fierce making for much more advantageous rates for us travellers. Another great idea is to get yourself Fijian dollars in your country of origin before boarding your cruise. Although the rates won’t be as good as in Fiji, you will still save plenty compared to exchanging currency on your ship.
6. Wait Until Being at Port to Call Home…
… and use the Internet. You will be shocked by the price and speed of the Internet provided onboard your cruise ship. Use apps like Pocket to save pages and websites that you would like to refer to during your trip and try to stay away from your phone while on the ship. Internet on-the-go can be incredibly costly, especially at sea. In Fiji, Internet-access is actually quite cheap and easy. Refer to this article on How to Get Internet in Fiji for more tips.
7. Look into Restaurant and Bar Packages
Everybody’s got to eat, right?! With so many onboard restaurants and food experiences to be had, you will want to treat yourself. Should it be at booking or on your first cruise day, you will have the option to get yourself restaurant and bar packages. These are worth considering if you are a foodie and plan to eat around instead of sticking to the buffet.
8. Hunt for Restaurant and Drink Specials
From the first day discount to specials every night, the onboard restaurant in your cruise ship will work hard to get your business. The best way to stick to your budget is to eat every meal at the buffet, but let’s be honest, who wants to do that. Hunt for specials, especially at lunch, and save big bucks on food. Plus, did you know that if you do not finish your wine bottle you can ask to cork it and keep your wine bottle for your next meal? Some cruise ships even allow you to keep your wine bottle in any restaurant onboard.
9. Eat Onshore
Sticking with food, your best bet to save a lot of coconuts on food is to eat onshore when in Fiji. Food is very well priced and absolutely delicious. It is also your best option to truly take in the local culture and experience the yummiest Fijian treats. Not sure where to start, what about checking out our Favourite Eats in Suva for start?
10. Bargain for a Deal or Upgrade with Your Travel Agent
One of the most profitable travel products for travel agents to sell is cruises. For this reason, they have a bit more room to play and this is where your bargaining skills will come in useful. Plus, if you bundle your cruise with flights or other accommodation, you are bound to be able to get yourself an upgrade, a discount or some freebies. It is always worth asking!
11. Don’t Purchase Onboard Pictures
Yes, photo crews are still roaming ship decks to take pictures – even in the day and age where we all have at least one phone camera in our pocket at all times. Take your own pictures, make friends with other travellers so they can take pictures for you, and you will save tens if not hundreds of dollars compared to the expensive photo options available for sale onboard.
12. Buy Souvenirs Onshore
It seems to be the theme of the article but once more, be aware of onboard prices! Fijian souvenirs on your cruise ship will be much more expensive than if purchased onshore. So take some time to shop for souvenirs in Suva to save plenty, support the local economy, and get much more choices than what you would have in the cruiseliner’s gift shop. Check out Where to Buy the Best Souvenirs in Fiji.