With every cruise trip that you take, there’s one huge question that must be asked: which ship are you going on? If you’re scoffing and saying, “Well, it’s just a ship! Food, drinks, pools—they’re all basically the same!” then you probably haven’t gone on a cruise yet. And that, of course, is why we are here. Lots of Honor (who knows a thing or two about cruising) can say that one of the biggest parts of planning a cruise vacation is deciding which ship is the best for you and your party. Here are some of the things to ask yourself when looking at the cruise ships in the port you’ve chosen.
Where Do I Want to Go?
Where you want to go will determine the cruise lines and ships available to you. Caribbean? Alaska? Mexico? Not only do certain cruise lines cater to different areas where you could be sailing, but some cruise lines won’t sail at all from some ports. Choosing your destination first is a good trick to narrowing down which cruise lines are available to you!
How Long Do I Want My Cruise to Be?
Are you looking for a short three to five-day cruise? Or is your party wanting a luxurious escape lasting ten or more days? Believe it or not, cruise lines specialize in different cruise lengths. You’ll find most Carnival cruises are much shorter than Norwegian’s when sailing from Port Canaveral. There are a lot of options for cruise length, and this will definitely impact which cruise you want to take.
How Much Do I Want to Spend?
Cruise line pricing varies not only between their different cruises but also between the lines themselves. So, what are you (and your wallet) in the mood for? Luxury cruise line or casual cruising? With cruises, Port Canaveral has two great cruises for a budget: Carnival and Norwegian. Explore the different options at the port you’ve chosen and you’ll see the price of your cruise vary based on the ship, the cabin, the package, and the entertainment. You’ll want to explore hidden fees (like drink packages, off-ship excursions, and food) with different cruise lines when planning your budget! (And remember, there are lots of ways to save money while cruising!)
Who is in My Party?
Your traveling companions will make or break a cruise vacation depending on what cruise line you choose. Are you bringing young kids who will need a lot of attention and entertainment? Are you and your spouse enjoying a getaway with romance and luxury? Or does your party have a lot of college kids who will want to experience the nightlife? Some cruise lines like Disney will do great with some groups and totally terrible with others, like teens who would prefer Royal Caribbean. (Imagine your romantic meal serenaded by Elsa from Frozen—not great, right?)
What Ship Size Am I Comfortable With?
Whether you’re choosing a little riverboat cruise or a huge mega-ship on the ocean, your cruise will change based on the size of the ship you choose. The bigger the ship, the more people will be around you. And often, there aren’t many places to escape to since you’re on a ship! Whether you’re good with crowds is a good thing to consider. Cruise ship size impacts a lot more than just how many people are on board, though. Ship size will impact price, entertainment, seasickness, and itinerary. Many smaller ships will be more personalized with smaller ports, but they also won’t have room for some of the entertainment options that ships like the Oasis of the Seas will have.
These five big influences on your cruise are great places to start when trying to decide what cruise line and ship to choose. Your cruise will change more than you realize based on your cruise line, so do yourself a favor and research a little before your final decision. Then, you’re all set. Enjoy an adventure on your amazing cruise vacation!
Cruising isn’t all fun and games and crazy cocktails. Going on a cruise requires a lot of planning. Even after you pick your cruise and book it, there’s still more to be done to prepare. With so much to remember to do before your cruise, it’s easy to forget one or two important things. So, here’s a quick list to help you plan ahead in the weeks before your trip!
1. Make a List!
Yes, the first item on our list is just that: make a list! One of the best things that you can do to prepare is to sit down with a pen and some paper (a phone, computer, or tablet works, too!) and write. Make a list of every item and activity that you have to do before your trip. Add “due dates” for activities that have a deadline. Then, you can keep this list and double-check it to make sure that you’re on schedule. Trust us when we say that it is worth the trouble!
2. Let Your Bank Know
With any kind of vacation, you should let your financial institution at home know about your travel plans. When you suddenly start trying to spend money in the Caribbean, a smart bank will put a hold on your account if they don’t know ahead of time. It’s a great idea to take care of this ahead of time instead of spending part of your vacation on the phone. (Not to mention, those phone call fees will be killer!)
3. Prepare Your Passport
Do you need a passport to cruise? The short answer is this: even if you don’t need one for your cruise, you should always, always, always bring one in case of an emergency. One of the things on your preparing-to-cruise list should always be to get a passport or other travel documentation ready for your trip. Carnival recommends bringing a passport that is valid for at least six months following the end of your cruise. Good idea!
4. Get Fun and Exciting Luggage
Colorful and fun luggage doesn’t just get your family into the cruising spirit. It also helps you keep track of your bags in a sea of activity during travel. Having an easily visible bag will make sure that you won’t lose your luggage at the port or have someone else mistake your bags for theirs! Give your luggage and your trip some personality with unusual styles, bright colors, or crazy patterns. What’s not to love about that?
5. Do Your Online Check-In!
Airports, hotels, and cruise lines will often let you check in the day before, which is an awesome thing to do to save time. Make sure to check in online, especially with your cruise, because it can save you a lot of time and headache on the day of your cruise! Checking in with your cruise line is a quick and easy process, and it will make check-in at the terminal must faster on the day that you cruise. So don’t miss this opportunity! Go ahead and put this on your list. (Don’t forget to plan your cruise parking ahead of time, too. That’s another great time-saver!)
Secret Number 6: Relax & Have Fun!
The most important thing to remember to do is this: get pumped and have fun! Stay stress-free with good planning so you can have a great, easy week before your wonderful, fun, fantastic vacation!
This week, ship enthusiasts and military buffs in and around Port Canaveral are getting a treat. For the first time since 2004, “America’s Tall Ship” arrived in Port Canaveral for a five-day stop. The USCGC Eagle docked in Cruise Terminal 3 on May 31st to the delight of Port Canaveral and Brevard residents. From May 31st through June 3rd, the barque will have free, self-guided tours available to the public. On their second day, we grabbed some pictures and talked to a few of the crew (before the rain hit!). This is definitely an exciting, beautiful, and impressive sight to see, and I hope everyone who can will take the opportunity to visit the Eagle.
Click the photos for a larger view. Press ‘back’ after to return to the blog.
The USCGC Eagle
Moving through the ship, you’ll see several informational signs set up to tell you more about the ship. The crew posted on deck will also be happy to tell you what they know about it, too. At 295 feet long with three masts, this barque is the biggest sailing ship sailing under the Stars and Stripes. Those aboard the barque manage over 22,000 square feet of sails and 5 miles of rigging. With a steel hull and deck, she is as sturdy as she is sleek. It is also the only American square rigger and the only active commissioned sailing ship. So, yes, this is something you won’t see just anywhere!
The Eagle is used by the United States Coast Guard Academy to train cadets and future officers. While they sail on this more traditional vessel, Coast Guard cadets learn some of their most vital skills. Topics learned from the standing, enlisted crew and officers on-board include navigation, seamanship, ship repair, and other necessary skills for life at sea. One female cadet spoke about navigating by charts, celestial navigation at night, and sextant use only.
The Eagle’s Beginning
While the Eagle is a training ship for the Coast Guard today, it began as a training ship for Germany’s sailors during World War II. After it was built by the Blohm & Voss Shipyard in 1936, the ship was commissioned Horst Wessel and trained German cadets until 1945. Following the end of WWII, the United States took the Horst Wessel as war reparations and commissioned it as the Eagle in 1946. From that point onward, the Eagle sailed as a training cutter for the US Coast Guard. She sails each summer to train cadets, up to 150 cadets at a time. Recently, the semi-annual Coast Guard Officer Candidate School classes have taken place aboard the barque during the spring and fall.
“America’s Tall Ship”
The US Coast Guard Cutter barque Eagle has another role besides training. It also travels around, visiting national and international ports as a public relations effort. She visits ports as far away as Australia and takes place in international events such as Velas Sudamerica of 2010. The Eagle also returned to Germany several times for races and goodwill visitations. Overall, she is a well-traveled and well-known vessel that has earned the nickname “America’s Tall Ship” for her distinctive masts and sails.
The next couple of days, the USCGC Eagle will still be in port. If you have time, take a couple minutes to walk through this amazing piece of history visiting our port. You won’t be disappointed!
Ten Things You’ll Want to Remember for Your Cruise
If you’re anything like me, packing for vacation is probably the hardest part of the whole darn thing. Parking? Easy. Port? No problem. Customs? A breeze. Packing? Whoa, there! I have to check my bags about ten more times to make sure I didn’t forget my toothbrush! Or my comb, or my favorite sandals, or an extra bottle of lotion, or… Well, you get it.
That’s why this week, Exploring Port Canaveral is taking a step back from Brevard County to help you remember to pack these ten things for your upcoming cruise. Some of these may already be on your list, but most aren’t on the usual checklist for every vacation. If you like the idea of any of these, you may try packing them in your luggage on your next trip out to sea!
1. Charge More with a Power Strip
Cruise ships are famous for having virtually no outlets. If you want to plug in more than a few electronics (phone, fan, laptop, hair dryer, etc.) at a time, a power strip can add the space you need. An extension cord can also come in handy. Power strips and extension cords will let you organize and position your electronic stuff without having to play musical plugs. Trust me, you’ll love having the extra plugs and just one power strip will make your life easier!
2. Don’t Forget Over the Counter Medicine
Most people are extra careful to pack their prescriptions with a note from the doctor, but what about your regular, everyday, over-the-counter meds? They may not be as important as prescriptions, but you might miss them just as much if you forget them. A few common medications to fend off headaches, seasickness, upset stomachs, or allergies can save the day on vacation if you need them. Many families also bring Neosporin and Band-Aids for quick cuts and scrapes that might happen on an adventure. Remember, it’s always better to pack them and not need them than to wish you had some ibuprofen for a killer migraine. Don’t let seasickness or allergies ruin a perfectly good day!
3. Switch Up Your Shoes
Shoes are a crucial accessory for every man and woman on a cruise. With different kinds of activities on the ship and off the ship, it makes sense that you should bring all different kinds of shoes, right? Be sure to include casual shoes, water shoes, and walking shoes on your list alongside formal heels and tennis shoes. Comfortable, relaxing shoes are great for lounging around the pool or cabin. Water shoes are essential for those planning to do any water activities. These shoes tend to grip better underwater and keep you from stepping on rocks (like if you’re going kayaking!). Sore feet aren’t fun, and you can avoid them with proper foot gear.
4. Kill Time with Playing Cards
What? Playing cards? Why would you bring playing cards on a ship designed to cater to every desire and need for entertainment?
Well, you’d be surprised. There are plenty of opportunities for downtime while sailing the seas. Playing Old Maid or Hearts with family or friends is a great way to pass the time. And if you’ve signed up for any activities or shows on your ship, you’ll probably want to arrive early. How will you pass the time until the show starts? Pull out your deck of cards! Or any other travel-sized game that you’ll have fun with. The choices are endless! Don’t want to carry anything? These fun games can be played with just your mind and some creativity!
5. Avoid Stale Air with a Small Fan
Yes, this item is a little big, but you might welcome it during those warm days on the sea. While cruise ship cabins are air-conditioned, the quality of the A/C can vary. A travel-sized fan helps circulate air and keep it fresh and moving if the A/C isn’t doing much for you. In addition, it can add white noise at night while you sleep, and you can hang wet socks and swimsuits up in front of a fan to get them to dry faster!
6. A Lanyard Keeps Your Key on a Leash
At home, I keep my keys on my lanyard to easily pull them out of my purse or pocket. On a cruise ship, I can do the same thing with my room key and ID card. On most cruise ships, your ID card is important for so many reasons. It doesn’t just have your identification on it, but it also has information about your reservations, on-board purchases, drink packages, and more. They can also function as room keys and port IDs. So, put your room key/ID card on a fun, colorful lanyard to keep track of which is yours!
7. A Spot of Cash for Here or There
There are three big reasons to bring some cash: off-ship purchases, tips, and casino runs. While your ID card will let you make purchases on-board, off-ship souvenirs and trips will require different funds. Tipping the staff of the ship will also require cash, so small bills are important for gratuities. And finally, if you want to tempt Lady Luck at the casino, you’ll want to bring dollars and change for gambling.
8. Keep the Sun Off with a Hat
You’ve probably already put sunglasses on your list of important items about thirty times. However, your awesome Ray-Bans will go miles more if you pair them with a cute hat or a ball cap. Your face and top of your head will thank you for not leaving it out to burn in the tropical sunshine!
9. A Light Jacket Keeps Away the Wind
Most people sailing in the Southeast (like from Port Canaveral) are headed to the Caribbean, the land of seas and sunshine. However, that doesn’t mean that you should only bring shorts and tank tops. At night and in the shade, you’ll find that the wind can add a nip to the air, and a light jacket, sweatshirt, or windbreaker will add a little warmth. Bring something with some waterproofing, and it can double as a coat if rain hits.
If you’re sailing during the winter, this is especially important. The ports on the Gulf and Atlantic are super windy, and during the wintertime, you will NEED a coat for the port even if the Caribbean stays tropical. Lots of Honor has seen this happen with many families who overestimate the winter warmth of the South.
10. A Sweet Tote or Sturdy Backpack for Travels
Whether you’re going to a show on the ship or taking a tour on an island, you’ll want to bring all of your necessities without overloading a bag. Where better to put your IDs, water bottle, sunscreen, cash, camera, and more? A cute tote, drawstring bag, or backpack will let you keep your packed items light and secure while you’re going an an adventure!
With all these items considered for your luggage, you’ll be better prepared than half the ship. Don’t forget to add some (or all!) of these items to your gear when you go cruising! Though each thing only adds a bit of fun, flavor, or comfort to your trip, your journey is sure to become easier and better with just a little help from this list!
If you’re visiting our beautiful area, there’s one place you’ll probably want to go: the beach. The surf culture, soft sandy shores, and shining sun have been drawing travelers for decades! If you’re visiting the area, there’s one place that you should stop by: Cocoa Beach Pier. For 50 years and counting, both visitors and locals swear by its cold beer and jaw-dropping view. This week, I stopped by the Pier with our photographer and we grabbed some great photos for a chance to show you guys this historic location.
A Look at the Past: Building the Pier
Local fisherman Richard Stottler built the pier in 1962, over 50 years ago. Originally called Canaveral Pier, it was made using 2.5 miles of boardwalk and 40-ft pilings, stretching 800 feet out into the Atlantic. Not only did this make it an amazing fishing spot, but it was perfect to watch the launches that gave the Space Coast its name. The pier was known as front-row seating through the Mercury, Apollo, and Space Shuttle launches because of its proximity to NASA. I recommend trying to catch a NASA/SpaceX rocket launch from there, but you can expect it to be packed! If you want to catch a launch from this choice spot, make sure to get there early.
As you can imagine, the surfing industry was quick to make its mark on the pier and bring vacationers from near and far. In 1963, one of the original Ron Jon Surf Shops opened up on the pier. They had so many visitors that they moved to a larger location (which you can visit today)! Everyone from the local fisherman to famous figures came to Canaveral Pier, including astronaut Alan Shepard. Surf festivals, live concerts, and tropical bars popped up and flourished, which meant that Canaveral Pier did too.
Cocoa Beach Pier Today
Remodeling of the Pier took place in 1983, costing over $2 million. New restaurants and expansions marked a new era for the Pier, and they changed the name to Cocoa Beach Pier the next year. The renovations succeeded in growing the Pier’s popularity, and today there are over 1 million visitors every year. The Pier stayed with the Stottler family until Westgate Resorts purchased Cocoa Beach Pier in 2014 with the idea to repair the Pier and grow it.
Having lived in the area with my family for over a decade, I have watched the changes as they happened. It’s different from when I grew up here, but the fun and tropical atmosphere hasn’t left. I still love the pier and while some of the menus and prices have changed, the view is just as breath-taking as always! As a local, I don’t get to visit as often as I would like. Some changes have happened since the last time I visited, so let’s take a look at what you’ll see if visiting in 2017.
Parking is Half the Battle
The parking spots haven’t increased in ten years so it’s no surprise that we spent about 15 minutes finding parking! There is paid parking, with some metered parking spots and a big “gated” area for parking. This big area has a flat fee like many beach-side parking areas. I’ve seen the price range from $5 to $20 depending on the season. It was $15 that day.
Try to get meter-parking unless you’re planning an all-day trip. The current price is $2.00 per hour. I estimate that there are only about 40 to 50 of these spaces, and they fill up fast. Those who are staying at the hotels have the best deal: park at the hotels nearby and then walk a short distance to the beach! Even on a Tuesday at 2:00 p.m., the parking was packed and it took about 10 or 15 minutes to claim a spot. Currently, parking is free on weekdays after 4:00 p.m. This helps keep costs down when going for dinner or to see the sunset!
If you need any beach supplies, run by Trader Rick’s Marketplace. You’ll pay more for the stuff inside than you would at Walmart, but that’s better than a sunburn or being stuck without a towel! Be sure to admire the Florida landscape mural with dolphins, fish, and manatees on the outside. This has been around for as long as I can remember, and it’s a landmark for many locals.
Beers, Burgers, and the Best Views
In 1983, there was only one restaurant on the pier, but today there is no shortage of options to choose from! Each of the five bars and restaurants has similar food and full bars. Depending on where you sit, you see a different part of the beach and sparkling blue ocean. The different locations offer options for covered and indoor seating, and they stretch from the entrance of the pier all the way to the end of it.
Entrance: Keith’s Oyster Bar and Sea Dogs
The beach and beer go hand-in-hand for many people, so it isn’t surprising how many restaurants and bars there are at the pier. The first two that you’ll see when you walk up are Keith’s Oyster Bar and Sea Dogs.
Many of you may have visited Keith’s Oyster Bar back when it was Aw Shucks, a very similar spot for raw seafood and steamed shrimp. With an open-air, casual atmosphere, it fits in perfectly with the scenery. Get raw oysters, fish dip, and more while you listen to live music and watch the waves. You’ll be farther away from the water with a view of the beach along the left side of the pier.
Sea Dogs is a cute, colorful hot dog and ice cream “stand” with a walk-up window and outdoor seating. Located across from Keith’s, it’s extremely casual and perfect for a walk-and-eat opportunity. Or, you can sit on either side to view either the entrance of the pier or the beach volleyball area on the right. By the beach, you can see a cool, old anchor from a whaling ship that was recovered in 1984. I grabbed a hot dog and soda from here for a pretty good price and sat back to enjoy the sunshine!
When You Walk Inside
Up the ramp, you will find small gift shops and more places to eat and drink. A long-time favorite of locals and vacationers is the Boardwalk Bar. They have the standard apps like onion rings, fish dip, and wings. You can also grab a burger or shrimp while you sit and enjoy the view, but watch the wind. As you can see, it’s very open and relaxed. Enjoy colorful, create-your-own mojitos, daiquiris, and coladas along with specialty drinks. If you’re looking for delicious, fruity, and fun drinks, this is a good place to grab one! Or, if you’re in the mood for a classic, they’re always happy to serve you a cold beer.
Are you looking for a souvenir or t-shirt? Tropical Threads Boutique and The Pier Shop are happy to help you. These shops are located along the left of the pier boardwalk. Even if you aren’t in a shopping mood, they are good for ducking in and cooling off while you browse for souvenirs.
Pelican’s Bar and Grill: An Air-Conditioned View
I went to Pelican’s Bar and Grill back when it was Atlantic Ocean Grille. Since the Cocoa Beach Pier has changed hands, the restaurants have changed their names and Pelican’s is no exception. But while the name has changed, the inside has remained pretty similar.
It’s a spacious, air-conditioned dining area with nice seating and reserved decorations. The best part about eating here isn’t the food, but the view. There is the same gorgeous, open view out over the water from the large floor-to-ceiling windows. While the dining atmosphere is a little less casual and the price is a little bit higher, the view is worth it. I recommend this for a date night, but be prepared to shell out more money for the food and drinks. If you aren’t in the mood for a nicer atmosphere or you can go without the view, choose one of the more casual places to eat. Of course, that’s just my opinion!
Rikki Tiki Tavern
Rikki Tiki Tavern, the newest addition to the pier, is super cool. There is a big bar surrounded by tables right out on the end of the pier. Yep, it’s 800 feet out into the ocean! Even if you aren’t grabbing a drink or a bite to eat, you should stroll over to the area to peer over the side and enjoy the brilliant blue waves. Interested in fishing? You can cast off this part of the pier’s boardwalk for a small fee. It’s a popular location for locals.
If you’ve never been to a tiki bar, now is your chance! The design of the whole area has carved tiki heads with palm frond thatch overhead. With the wind blowing and the island music playing, you’ll definitely feel the vacation vibe! Rikki Tiki Tavern has a limited menu, but the drink options are plentiful. I will warn you that this is probably the windiest part of the pier so you should hold onto your napkins.
Tips for the Pier
Happy hour for almost all of the bars and restaurants is 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. during the week. Call ahead or check the Cocoa Beach Pier website to double check if you’re around in the off-season.
The back half of the pier costs money to get to. Either a fishing fee or a $2 spectator fee has to be paid. The trick to getting around the spectator fee is to buy a drink or souvenir before you go back here. They will waive all fees with proof of purchase from any pier store!
Don’t forget about the beach. Shelling, surfing, and beach volleyball are all available next to the pier, and you can rent umbrellas and chairs to relax in. Underneath the pier is also a pretty cool sight!
If you want to check out an amazing, historic location, you should visit the Cocoa Beach Pier. Whether you’re on your own and looking for a hangout or finding a fun place for family, you’ll enjoy a day at the pier. With great food, cold drinks, and a killer view of the sea, how can you say no?
Looking at the Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal History
The Port Canaveral cruise terminal and cargo pier area sees thousands of visitors and employees every day. So many people and so much cargo moves through the port every day! It isn’t hard to believe that Port Canaveral is the second largest port in Florida. It is also one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. While millions of people cruise from here, few know of Port Canaveral’s rich history. Lots of Honor wants to show you a bit about the port that makes our area so great.
Before the First Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal
Port Canaveral didn’t begin as a major cruise port, as I’m sure you could guess. Like most ports, we began with commercial fishing before branching out into cargo shipments.
Port Canaveral’s people voted on and approved the port creation in 1947. This was a decision that shaped the development of the area for the rest of its history. Construction began in 1951, and the port was dedicated in 1953 on November 4th. Cargo began moving through the port, including oil, newsprint, and (of course!) Florida’s delicious orange juice. The Navy was an exciting addition to Port Canaveral in the late 50’s, and expansions continued into the 1980s. With the introduction of NASA’s space and shuttle program, Port Canaveral began using its deep channels and vessels for moving large rockets and retrieving boosters. All of this activity led to the expansion of the cargo industry, the fishing industry, and other businesses in the area. In the 1970s, cruise ships began using us as a port-of-call. Then, in 1982, the area got its first Port Canaveral cruise terminal.
Port Canaveral Gets Cruisin’
The first Port Canaveral cruise terminal and its first home-ported cruise ship made waves in the same year: 1982. The port converted a warehouse into Cruise Terminal 1. The first cruise ship to make Port Canaveral more than just a port-of-call was the Scandinavian Sea, a cruise ship of Scandinavian World Cruises. By 1986, three more cruise terminals had been built to serve the growing cruise industry. At that point, the cruise lines had gone from offering out-to-sea and back trips to offering 3 to 4 day trips to the Bahamas. Of course when the trips get longer and go farther, more people get pumped for cruising more often! The addition of the new cruise terminals saw more traffic and more ships coming through. Cruise terminals are added, renovated, and reopened regularly in Port Canaveral, and this doesn’t seem like it is going to let up any time soon.
By 1990, Carnival joined Premier in having a home port ship in Port Canaveral. Disney and Royal Caribbean followed suit in 1998 and 2000. So over an 18 year period, the cruise industry of Port Canaveral exploded! “More ships and more people and more terminals” was the theme during this time. And the changes didn’t stop there!
The Big Ships: Looking at the Oasis Class
Carnival Fantasy was the first mega-ship to call Port Canaveral home. This was the start of Port Canaveral’s introduction of the big, fun-filled ships that became so popular over the last decade. I’m sure you’ve heard about the Oasis class ships, like Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas and the Harmony of the Seas. Maybe you even sailed out of Port Canaveral on the Oasis recently! In 2016, Port Canaveral became the proud home port of the third largest ship, the Oasis of the Seas, which docks in Cruise Terminal 1. In 2014, the terminal reopened after having renovations to make it big enough for these mega-ships. Huge ships call for even bigger changes!
Port Canaveral Cruising Today
Port Canaveral is proud to serve so many ships and cruisers coming in and out of its docks every year. In addition to the cruise ship lines, Port Canaveral is home to Victory Casino Cruises, a gambling ship that offers 5 hour cruises. Today, we have over 4 million cruise passengers annually, five cruise terminals, and nine cruise ships in our fleet. The fishing, cargo, and cruise industries of Port Canaveral run ships and boats that go in and out daily. Whether you are local or are just visiting, the effects of the port’s success are clear. Next time you’re here, take a moment before you board your ship and look around at the port. It is truly impressive!
With only thirty years of cruising history, we are Florida’s second largest port and one of the fastest growing ports in America. On top of that, we are also one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. And Port Canaveral itself promises that there is even more on the horizon! What more will time bring?
The Top 5 Ways to Save on Cruises: Time-Tested Tips
Vacations, like it or not, are expensive. Tickets, attractions, food, and souvenirs all keep your wallet busy while you’re having fun. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t save a dollar (or more!) here or there. In this article, we’ve gathered some of the best ways for you to save while still having a great time on your cruise!
1. Book Smart
One of the biggest way to save money is by having the best practices for booking your cruise. Book ahead of time, and be flexible with your calendar. Booking in advance will allow you to be more choosy with what you’re getting. Don’t waste money on a cabin or date that you don’t want, just because others bought up the good options months ago! Plus, you’ll be able to plan out which packages you want and take advantage of deals before they run out. Or, go the other direction and focus on taking advantage of last-minute deals that cruise lines may push.
Prices fluctuate too, so don’t hesitate to schedule your cruise during the “off” season (when kids are in school!) This could save you buckets of money since prices get a big bump during the summer or other prime seasons. It’s also good to shop around for different cruise lines. Make sure your cruise has everything that you want, but don’t pay for more than you need. If you don’t want most of the luxuries, it might be a good idea to “down-grade” to a more casual cruise line.
2. Keep an Eye Out for Sales
Cruise lines love to entice vacationers with sales. Look for big, celebratory sales around holidays and you can save 50% or more with great offers from different cruise lines. Sales can also include drink packages, food offers, and other goodies that you’d otherwise be shelling out for.
Discounts are something to check out, too. Sometimes there are sales and discounts for cruise lines that specifically target veterans, families, or returning customers. You can save big if you qualify! Most of these sales and discounts are advertised on websites and social media, so pay attention to your calendar and subscribe to the cruise pages to keep up with great potential savings!
3. DIY and BYOB (BYOBeverages)
It’s super tempting to pay for all the fun, extra goodies that cruises offer, especially once you’re on board. But hold up! You could be wasting money by buying something you could do yourself.
One of the big ways to save (and have more fun) is booking shore excursions on your own. The cruise line will have excursions that you can book through them, but it will cost more and you won’t have as many options. Take the initiative and schedule your own to save money and get better options for what to do! Just make sure that you pay attention to the timing and get back to your ship when you need to!
Drink packages are crazy now. We have so many tiers and choices, but the surprising thing is that you may not need it at all. Yes, alcohol is pricey, and yes, the all-you-can-drink package may seem like a good idea. But it probably isn’t if you’re the average cruise-goer. Drink packages are usually a daily charge, even when you aren’t on the ship or drinking enough to make it a deal. If you really want a drink package, check out some of the cruise lines that are fancier and include drinks/food in the ticket.
Sodas are going to be pricey too, and it’s always a good idea to check out your cruise line and see if they will let you bring your own cans or bottles on board. Don’t pay for the overpriced drink opportunities if you can take advantage of supermarket prices at home! Just be careful. Most cruise lines will let you bring sodas on-board but won’t let you bring your own alcohol. Check your ship’s protocol ahead of time.
4. Don’t Pay for Port Parking
No matter where you’re finding port parking, the lots and garages are over-priced and crowded. All in the name of “convenience.” This, of course, is a matter close to Lots of Honor’s heart and we know exactly how much you can save by parking off-site for your cruise. For Port Canaveral parking, you can save up to $100 over the course of your trip. It depends on how many days you are sailing and which parking facility you choose. Make sure to take advantage of the free shuttle services usually offered! No matter what port you’re sailing from, the off-site parking is going to be just as safe and easy to use for a fraction of the cost. Put that money towards souvenirs instead!
5. Turn Off Your Internet and WiFi
It may be tempting to purchase access to the Internet or use overseas data for your phone, but you’ll find your trip much more enjoyable if you unplug. Not to mention, you’ll save a ton of money by doing so. You should use the packages offered for internet for work emergencies only. You’re probably going to be disappointed in the quality of the network anyway. Don’t waste your time on social media or email when you could be spending time with family! Rates can be as high as $0.75 per minute of usage, and your coverage is going to be spotty and snail-paced. It just isn’t worth it, so go ahead…log off!