8 Things Passengers Can Get For Free On a Cruise

Going on a cruise can be expensive. Especially when you add everything you will spend onboard the ship. Drinks, speciality dining and excursions add up and they are not cheap. Our guide to everything you can get for free on a cruise will help you save money and make the most of your next cruise holiday.

1. How to Get Free Drinks on a Cruise

Most cruise lines hold certain events where free drinks are on offer. These include the captain’s welcome and farewell party’s where­ drinks are free-flowing. You will usually find a selection of cocktails as well as some fizz such as Prosecco.

Also, the art auctions have unlimited prosecco or champagne on offer. Some onboard jewellery or beauty stores, also hold special sale events. These feature free drinks and there is no need to buy anything.

All cruise lines also have free water, tea, coffee, and juice available in the buffet. We recommend you bring a refillable hot drinks mug and water bottle. This way you can take drinks back to your room or off the ship while in port.

Free Drinks On Cruise
You can find free alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks on cruises
Photo – Cruise with Ben & David

2. Food for free on a cruise

On almost every cruise line you can order as much as you want in the main dining rooms. Want to try two main courses and three desserts? You are free to order anything you want from the menu without any extra charge.

Also, if you do not fancy anything on the menu ask the server if there is anything they can do. Most cruise lines will allow you to go off-menu and create something to appeals more to you. This is the case on luxury lines where you can request your favourite meals and the chef will prepare them for you.

Fancy a cool treat? You can get soft-serve ice cream on most ships for free either in the buffer or tucked away near the pool. So, do not pay for expensive gelato or ice cream shops.

Cruise Buffet
The buffet selection on SeaDream cruises.
Photo – Cruise with Ben & David

3. Free Port Excursions

Did you know you don’t have to spend a penny in a port? Cruise excursions can cost a fortune, so if you are travelling on a budget plan your own day in port. Research and you can find free attractions including; art galleries, museums, parks or beaches.

Look for free walking tours. You find these in many European cities. Visit the city’s tourist information for details on when and where these are happening,

There is no need to spend big money and you can even return to the ship for lunch then head out again after.

Cruise Excursion Kuala Lumpur
Plan your own day in port seeing the best sights for free. Photo – Cruise with Ben & David

4. Free Onboard Activities

Make the most of all the free onboard activities such as trivia, games and sports competitions. The winners can win prizes such as a baseball cap, bag, magnet, keyring or even a bottle of wine. It is free to take part in and always a lot of fun, especially if you are competitive.

Look out for the Love and Marriage game show, The Newlywed Game Show, The Voice at Sea and MasterChef at Sea. These are very fun to watch and feature great prizes if you get involved. Anything from free drinks, bottles of wine to a free cruise!

Some shops and the spa also run free raffles where you can win a selection of goods or treatments. Take part in these, they are free and only take up a small part of your vacation.

Most ships hold shopping talks for future ports and if you attend you are often given a voucher to use in port for a gift. It is worth doing and you can come away with lots of free goodies.

Activities On a Cruise
There are many free activities and facilities on cruise ships. Photo – Cruise with Ben & David

5. Free room service

All cruise lines offer room service, but many, such as MSC Cruises, have now begun charging a fee.

Despite this, a continental breakfast is usually still free on most lines. This includes a nice selection of fruit, pastries, and coffee. It is lovely to have it delivered to your room and enjoy it in bed or on the balcony. If you want something larger later, you can visit the main dining room or buffet.

6. Gifts free on a cruise

How to get some freebies is cruise during a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary.

We have had some lovely gifts for free including wine, flowers and birthday cakes. Cruise lines will always make a fuss of a special occasion so make sure the ship knows it’s a special occasion. We recommend doing this before you cruise by contacting your travel agent or the cruise line. Or, speak to guest services on the first day of your cruise. Princess Cruises allow you to register any celebrations on “My Princess”.

Cruise Champagne Gift
A free bottle of wine delivered to our cabin. Photo – Cruise with Ben & David

7. Free benefits for returning cruisers

When you join cruise line loyalty schemes, the higher you get the more freebies you receive

Many cruise lines including Norwegian and Princess offer loyalty events. Make sure you attend these are they offer free drinks, nibbles and a chance to meet the ship’s crew.

The more you cruise the better the benefits. Some benefits include; drinks vouchers, canapes, free laundry and free speciality meals.

8. Free amenities on a cruise

If you have forgotten seasickness tablets these are usually available free. On luxury cruise lines you can also get free amenities such as toothpaste or shaving kits. It can be super expensive to buy these things in port or in the ship’s shop, so always ask at guest services first.

These are just a few of the free things you can get on your next cruise. There are lots more such as free kids’ clubs, fitness classes and spa treatment samples.

Free Cruise Amenities
In cabin amenities on Saga Cruises. Photo – Cruise with Ben & David

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David McDonald
As one half of Cruise with Ben & David I am a huge cruise enthusiast and have sailed on over 30 cruises. On dry land, I am a Head of Design at a digital media company based in London. I have had the opportunity to work with brands such as the Financial Times and The Telegraph.