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How To Get Free Excursions On A Cruise?


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Marijo Endres



Embarking on a cruise vacation is a dream come true for many travelers. The opportunity to explore different destinations, indulge in luxurious accommodations, and enjoy a wide range of onboard amenities is enticing. However, one aspect that can add up to the overall cost of a cruise is the excursions. These shore excursions offer travelers the chance to explore the ports of call, engage in thrilling activities, and immerse themselves in the local culture.


But what if you could get these excursions for free? Imagine enjoying unique experiences without breaking the bank. While it may seem like a lofty goal, there are several strategies you can employ to increase your chances of scoring complimentary excursions on a cruise.


In this article, we will delve into the various approaches and opportunities that can help you obtain free excursions during your cruise vacation. From signing up for loyalty programs to taking advantage of promotions and special offers, we will explore the different avenues that can lead to cost-free adventures. So, if you’re ready to learn how to make the most of your cruise experience without spending a fortune, read on!


Research and Choose the Right Cruise Line

When it comes to getting free excursions on a cruise, it all starts with careful research and selecting the right cruise line. Different cruise lines have different policies and offerings when it comes to complimentary shore excursions.


Before choosing a cruise line, take the time to research their loyalty programs and perks. Some cruise lines offer loyalty programs that reward repeat cruisers with various benefits, including free or discounted excursions. Look for cruise lines that offer generous loyalty programs and consider joining them before booking your cruise.


Additionally, pay attention to the cruise itineraries themselves. Some cruises may include specific ports where the cruise line offers complimentary excursions as part of their package. By choosing a cruise that visits these ports, you increase your chances of enjoying free excursions.


Another important factor to consider is the cruise line’s reputation for customer service. Some cruise lines may be more accommodating and willing to offer free excursions or upgrades to enhance the overall cruise experience. Reading reviews and forums can give you insights into how different cruise lines treat their passengers and their willingness to provide complimentary perks.


Lastly, don’t forget to check the fine print and terms and conditions. Some cruise lines may have limited availability or restrictions on their complimentary excursions. Make sure you understand the requirements and limitations associated with these offerings.


By conducting thorough research and choosing a cruise line that aligns with your preferences and offers enticing perks, you increase your chances of getting free excursions and maximizing your cruise experience.


Sign Up for Loyalty Programs

One of the most effective ways to enjoy free excursions on a cruise is by signing up for the loyalty programs offered by cruise lines. These programs are designed to reward loyal passengers with a range of benefits, including complimentary shore excursions.


When booking a cruise, check if the cruise line has a loyalty program and make sure to sign up for it. This is usually free and can be done online or through a travel agent. Once you have enrolled in the loyalty program, you will start earning points or status based on the number of cruises you take.


As you accumulate points or move up in status within the loyalty program, you may become eligible for various perks, such as free excursions. Cruise lines often offer different tiers within their loyalty programs, with higher tiers receiving more benefits. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the requirements for each tier and work your way towards the top to maximize the free excursion opportunities.


In addition to earning points through the number of cruises taken, some loyalty programs offer ways to earn extra points, such as booking specialty dining or spa services. Take advantage of these opportunities to accumulate points faster and enhance your chances of receiving free excursions.


Furthermore, keep an eye out for special promotions and offers exclusive to loyalty program members. Cruise lines occasionally run promotions where they provide complimentary excursions to passengers enrolled in their loyalty programs. By staying informed and taking advantage of these promotions, you can score free excursions that enhance your overall cruise experience.


Signing up for loyalty programs not only gives you access to potential free excursions but also opens up a world of other perks, such as priority boarding, cabin upgrades, onboard credits, and more. So, make sure to enroll in the loyalty programs of your chosen cruise line and start enjoying the benefits!


Take Advantage of Promotions and Special Offers

When it comes to getting free excursions on a cruise, keeping an eye out for promotions and special offers can greatly enhance your chances. Cruise lines often run promotions and provide enticing deals that include complimentary shore excursions.


One of the best ways to stay informed about these promotions is by subscribing to the newsletters or email lists of various cruise lines. By doing so, you’ll receive regular updates about the latest offers and exclusive deals, including those that may include free excursions.


Additionally, follow the social media accounts of cruise lines and travel agencies, as they often post about limited-time promotions or flash sales. These offers can involve complimentary excursions as part of a package or as an add-on to your cruise reservation.


Another strategy to take advantage of promotions is to book your cruise during off-peak seasons. Cruise lines often offer special discounts and promotions during slower periods to attract more passengers. These promotions can include free or discounted excursions as incentives to book during that time.


Furthermore, when booking your cruise, inquire about any current or upcoming promotions. Cruise line representatives or travel agents may have information about specific offers that can allow you to enjoy free excursions. They may also be able to provide guidance on how to take advantage of those promotions.


Lastly, be flexible with your travel dates. Sometimes, cruise lines offer last-minute deals or discounted fares closer to the departure date. By being open to these opportunities, you may have the chance to book a cruise that includes complimentary excursions, making your vacation even more rewarding.


Remember, promotions and special offers can change frequently, and availability may be limited. It’s crucial to stay proactive, stay informed, and be ready to take action when you come across a deal that includes free excursions. By being vigilant, you can maximize your chances of enjoying complimentary shore excursions on your cruise.


Participate in Onboard Activities and Contests

Participating in onboard activities and contests is not only a fun way to pass the time during your cruise, but it can also present opportunities to win free excursions. Cruise lines often organize various activities and contests throughout the duration of your trip, offering participants the chance to win exciting prizes.


Keep an eye on the daily cruise itinerary and bulletin board for information about upcoming activities and contests. These can range from trivia quizzes, talent shows, dance-offs, scavenger hunts, and more. By actively participating in these events, you increase your chances of winning prizes, which may include complimentary shore excursions.


Some cruise lines also organize raffles or drawings where participants have a chance to win free excursions. Make sure to enter these competitions and follow any instructions or guidelines provided by the cruise staff. You never know – your name could be drawn, and you might find yourself enjoying a free excursion during one of your port stops.


Furthermore, some onboard activities may require you to demonstrate your skills or knowledge in a particular area. For example, if there’s a cooking demonstration or mixology class, actively participate and show off your talents. If the cruise line staff recognizes your expertise or enthusiasm, they may reward you with a complimentary excursion as a token of appreciation.


Additionally, if the cruise line offers onboard surveys or feedback forms, make sure to fill them out. By providing valuable feedback and sharing your experience, you not only help the cruise line improve their services but also increase your chances of being noticed. Some cruise lines may select participants from completed surveys or feedback forms to receive free excursions as a thank-you gesture.


Participating in onboard activities and contests not only adds a layer of excitement to your cruise experience but also presents opportunities to win free excursions. So, don’t be shy – get involved, showcase your skills, and you may find yourself embarking on a cost-free adventure during your cruise vacation.


Volunteer for Cruise Line Surveys or Filling Out Feedback Forms

One often overlooked method of potentially obtaining free excursions on a cruise is by volunteering to participate in cruise line surveys or filling out feedback forms. Cruise lines highly value feedback from their passengers and are constantly striving to improve the overall guest experience.


During your cruise, you may come across opportunities to participate in surveys or provide feedback. These can be in the form of paper questionnaires provided in your cabin or online surveys that you can access through the cruise line’s website or mobile app. Take the time to complete these surveys and provide honest and detailed feedback about your experience.


Cruise lines often incentivize passengers to participate in surveys by offering rewards or sweepstakes entries. In some cases, these rewards can include complimentary excursions. By taking advantage of these opportunities, you not only contribute to the improvement of the cruise line’s services but also increase your chances of winning a free excursion.


When completing surveys or feedback forms, ensure that you provide comprehensive and valuable insights. Mention specific aspects of your cruise experience that stood out, both positive and negative. This detailed feedback can demonstrate your engagement and increase the likelihood of being selected for a complimentary excursion.


In addition to traditional surveys, some cruise lines may also conduct onboard focus groups or invite selected passengers to participate in discussions about their cruise experience. If you come across such opportunities, don’t hesitate to volunteer. These interactions provide a chance for you to share your opinions directly with cruise line representatives, potentially leading to rewards such as free excursions.


Furthermore, be on the lookout for any surveys or feedback requests that the cruise line sends to your email. Responding promptly and thoughtfully to these inquiries can increase your visibility and demonstrate your interest in the cruise line’s offerings. This may make you a prime candidate for receiving complimentary excursions or other perks.


By actively volunteering for surveys, filling out feedback forms, and participating in discussions, you not only help the cruise line improve their services but also position yourself as a valued and engaged passenger. This can significantly increase your chances of being chosen to receive free excursions on your cruise.


Attend Cruise Line Presentations and Workshops

Attending cruise line presentations and workshops can be a valuable opportunity to learn more about your cruise destination and onboard offerings. But did you know that these events can also potentially lead to free excursions?


Cruise lines often organize presentations and workshops onboard to educate passengers about the ports of call and the various shore excursions available. These sessions provide detailed information about the destinations, activities, and attractions you can explore during your time ashore.


By attending these presentations and workshops, you not only gain valuable knowledge about your upcoming port visits but also increase your chances of obtaining free excursions. Cruise lines may offer attendees special discounts or vouchers that can be redeemed for complimentary excursions.


During these presentations, listen attentively and engage with the speakers. Show your interest by asking questions and expressing your excitement about the destinations and excursions. Cruise line representatives are likely to take note of enthusiastic passengers and may reward them with complimentary excursions as a gesture of appreciation.


In addition to the general presentations, some cruise lines offer specialized workshops or seminars onboard. These can include cooking classes, photography workshops, or language lessons related to the destinations you’ll be visiting. Participating in these workshops not only enhances your skills but also presents opportunities for the cruise line to recognize your active participation and reward you with free excursions.


Furthermore, keep an eye out for any exclusive events or receptions hosted by the cruise line. These events may provide opportunities for you to interact with cruise line staff, including the shore excursion team. By engaging in conversations and expressing your interest in the excursions, you may improve your chances of receiving complimentary outings.


Attending cruise line presentations and workshops adds value to your cruise experience by offering informative insights and enhancing your knowledge of the destinations. By actively participating in these events, showing enthusiasm, and engaging with the cruise line representatives, you create opportunities to be selected for complimentary excursions.


Book Excursions During Off-peak Seasons

If you’re looking to save money and potentially score free excursions on a cruise, consider booking your shore excursions during off-peak seasons. Off-peak seasons refer to times when the demand for cruises and shore excursions is lower, such as during non-peak travel months or shoulder seasons.


During off-peak seasons, cruise lines may offer discounted rates and special promotions to attract more passengers. These promotions can sometimes include complimentary excursions as part of the package, or they may provide an opportunity to upgrade your excursion at no additional cost.


By booking excursions during these less busy periods, you increase your chances of finding deals that include complimentary or heavily discounted excursions. Cruise lines are more likely to provide additional perks during these times to entice passengers to choose their cruise over competitors.


When planning your cruise, research the peak and off-peak seasons for your desired destinations. Look for periods when cruise lines may be offering promotions or discounts on excursions. These can often be found on their websites, newsletters, or through travel agents who specialize in cruises.


Keep in mind that off-peak seasons may vary depending on the destination. For example, the Caribbean might have different peak and off-peak travel periods compared to Alaska or Europe. Understanding the specific travel patterns of your desired destination will help you plan your cruise accordingly.


Booking excursions during off-peak seasons not only increases your chances of finding free or discounted offerings, but it also provides other benefits. The ports of call are likely to be less crowded, allowing for a more enjoyable and intimate experience during your excursions. Additionally, attractions and landmarks may have shorter queues, giving you more time to explore and fully immerse yourself in the destination.


Remember to book your excursions early, as availability may be limited during off-peak seasons due to reduced capacity. By planning ahead and taking advantage of the promotions offered during these periods, you can enjoy cost savings and potentially secure free excursions on your cruise.


Be Flexible and Open to Last-minute Opportunities

When it comes to obtaining free excursions on a cruise, being flexible and open to last-minute opportunities can greatly increase your chances. Cruise lines sometimes have unexpected changes in their itineraries or may need to fill empty excursion spots, creating opportunities for passengers to enjoy complimentary outings.


One way to take advantage of last-minute opportunities is to be flexible with your cruise dates. Keep an eye out for deals or promotions that arise closer to the departure date. Cruise lines may offer discounted fares or free excursions to fill remaining cabins. By being flexible with your travel plans, you can take advantage of these offers and potentially score complimentary excursions.


Another strategy is to stay informed about any changes in the cruise itinerary. Occasionally, unforeseen circumstances or weather conditions may force the cruise line to modify the planned ports of call. In such cases, the cruise line may offer alternative excursions or make adjustments to the existing excursions. By being adaptable and open to these changes, you may have the opportunity to participate in these alternative excursions at no extra cost.


Additionally, keep an eye on the activities and announcements made onboard. Sometimes, cruise lines may spontaneously offer free excursions as part of promotions or to reward passengers for their engagement and enthusiasm. Stay active in participating in onboard activities and attend the cruise line’s events to maximize your chances of being selected for complimentary excursions.


It’s also worth checking with the shore excursion desk during your cruise. Sometimes, the cruise line may have last-minute cancellations or discounted offers on excursions. By visiting the shore excursion desk and expressing your interest, you may be able to secure a free or reduced-cost excursion slot.


Lastly, consider networking with other cruise passengers. Strike up conversations and build connections throughout your cruise journey. Other passengers may have booked excursions they are unable to attend or may have received excursion vouchers they are willing to share. By being friendly and approachable, you may have the opportunity to join them for a free excursion.


By being flexible, adaptable, and open to last-minute opportunities, you increase your chances of enjoying complimentary excursions on your cruise. Stay informed, engage with the cruise line staff and your fellow passengers, and be ready to seize those unexpected opportunities that arise during your journey.


Use Credit Card or Travel Rewards Points

If you’re looking to obtain free excursions on a cruise, leveraging your credit card or travel rewards points can be a valuable strategy. Many credit cards offer rewards programs that allow you to earn points or miles for every purchase you make. These points can often be redeemed for various travel-related expenses, including shore excursions.


First, check if your credit card offers a rewards program that includes travel benefits. If so, find out if they partner with any cruise lines or travel agencies that offer excursions. By using your credit card for everyday expenses, you can accumulate points over time. Once you have enough points, you can redeem them for free or discounted excursions during your cruise.


Be sure to check the terms and conditions of the rewards program to understand how points are earned and redeemed. Some credit cards may have specific rules or restrictions when it comes to redeeming points for excursions. Familiarize yourself with these details to ensure a smooth and successful redemption process.


If you don’t have a credit card with a rewards program, consider applying for one that offers travel-related benefits. Look for cards that offer a generous sign-up bonus, as this can provide you with a significant number of points right from the start. Prioritize cards that allow you to transfer points to multiple travel partners, giving you more flexibility when it comes to booking excursions.


Another option is to explore travel rewards programs offered by airlines or hotel chains. These programs often allow you to earn points or miles that can be used for a variety of travel expenses, including shore excursions. If you belong to any of these loyalty programs, check if they have partnerships with cruise lines or excursion providers, and identify the redemption options available.


When using your credit card or travel rewards points for excursions, be mindful of any blackout dates or restrictions. Some rewards programs have limited availability or may require booking well in advance. Plan your cruise accordingly and ensure that you understand the redemption process to maximize your chances of obtaining free or discounted excursions.


By strategically using your credit card or travel rewards points, you can offset the cost of excursions and potentially enjoy free outings during your cruise. Take advantage of the rewards programs available to you and explore the redemption options provided by your credit card or travel partners. Your accumulated points can make your cruise experience even more rewarding.


Networking with Other Cruise Passengers

When it comes to obtaining free excursions on a cruise, networking with other passengers can provide unique opportunities. Building connections and engaging with fellow cruisers can potentially lead to sharing or swapping excursion vouchers, gaining insider tips, or even joint participation in group activities that can lower costs.


One way to network with other passengers is by participating in onboard social events or activities. Attend mixers, game nights, or group excursions organized by the cruise line. These events create a conducive atmosphere for meeting and connecting with other like-minded travelers. Strike up conversations, exchange travel stories, and express your interest in exploring excursions together.


Engage with your fellow cruisers during meals or in common areas on the ship. Make small talk and inquire about their excursion plans. They might have booked more excursions than they can attend or have extra vouchers that they are willing to share or sell at a discounted price. By connecting with others, you may find opportunities to join them on excursions at no additional cost.


Utilize online forums and social media groups dedicated to cruisers. These platforms provide a space for cruise enthusiasts to connect and share useful information. Post questions about excursions, seek recommendations, and express your interest in forming excursion groups. You might find other passengers who are looking to share the costs or have extra spots available on their booked excursions.


Take advantage of organized meetups or gatherings that are specifically designed for connecting cruisers. These may be hosted by the cruise line, travel agencies, or independent groups. Attend these events to network with other passengers who may have similar excursion interests. Through collective planning and coordination, you can potentially save money and even secure free or discounted excursions.


Remember to maintain a friendly and approachable demeanor when networking with other passengers. Building genuine connections and establishing trust is key. Be respectful and considerate of others’ plans and budgets and be willing to reciprocate if you are in a position to share your excursion experiences or resources.


Networking with other cruise passengers not only enhances your social experience but can also open doors to cost-saving opportunities when it comes to excursions. By expanding your circle and connecting with fellow travelers, you may find ways to collaborate and share resources, ultimately leading to free or more affordable outings during your cruise.



Obtaining free excursions on a cruise is not an impossible feat. By employing strategic approaches and staying proactive, you can enhance your chances of enjoying complimentary outings that add value to your cruise experience. From researching and choosing the right cruise line to networking with other passengers, there are several avenues you can explore.


Signing up for loyalty programs and taking advantage of promotions and special offers can provide opportunities for free or discounted excursions. Participating in onboard activities, volunteering for surveys, and attending cruise line presentations can also lead to complimentary excursions as a reward for your engagement. Additionally, being flexible with your travel plans, leveraging credit card or travel rewards points, and networking with other passengers can open doors to last-minute deals, upgrades, and shared excursion opportunities.


Keep in mind that it’s essential to stay informed, plan ahead, and be proactive in your approach. Research different cruise lines, read reviews, and understand the terms and conditions associated with free excursions. Be flexible, open-minded, and ready to seize unexpected opportunities that arise during your cruise journey.


Remember, the goal is to maximize your cruise experience without breaking the bank. Free excursions not only allow you to explore new destinations and engage in exciting activities but also contribute to lifelong memories and a sense of adventure.


So, if you’re ready to embark on a cruise and make the most of your vacation, utilize the strategies outlined in this article. By applying these tips, you can increase your chances of obtaining free excursions and enjoy an unforgettable cruise experience without compromising your budget. Bon voyage!