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Tips to save you money on your next cruise.

Disney Wonder in Alaska
Disney Wonder in Alaska
Marie DeWolfe

Thinking of taking a cruise? There are a variety of ways to save money to avoid the sticker shock some get when they get that final on board account bill. Here are a few ways to save money on your next cruise:

For soda drinkers, you should buy the soda card that most cruise lines now offer. For what it would cost you for two or three sodas a day, you can have unlimited sodas everyday. The cost varies depending on the cruise line. Some cruise lines, like Disney Cruise Line , will allow you to bring your own soda on board, along with having free soda stations. Check with your cruise line for their policy.

If you enjoy a few alcoholic drinks while cruising, then your best bet would be to purchase one of the alcoholic drink packages that most cruise lines are now offering, it can save you some big bucks. These, too, vary by cruise line as to what they include and what the cost is.

Spending time in the ship's casino can add up the dollars quick. Your best bet is to allocate a certain amount per day for the casino. A lot of people put the designated amount in envelopes marked for each day of the cruise, and when it's gone, then no more trips to the casino.

Booking shore excursions through the cruise line can be expensive. You can save some money there by booking your own shore excursions directly through the tour company offering the excursion, usually for far less money. The only downside to this is that if your tour is late getting back, the ship will not wait for you like they would if it had been booked through the ship. The key is to book a tour that will arrive back at the dock at least two hours prior to sailing.

Everyone loves picking up souvenirs in the ports they visit, however, you can get better bargains if you explore beyond the cruise terminal shops. The shops away from the terminal often have the same, or similar items at a better price and are usually more open to bargaining.

Cruise lines have their own photographers that will be waiting for you to come down the gangway to take your photo, and the photos can be expensive. To save a few dollars it's just as easy to take your own photo and many of your fellow cruisers are willing to take the picture so everyone can be in the shot.

These are just a few of the ways to save money on your next cruise and avoid the sticker shock on that last day.