Cruise Tips5 Ways to Cruise for Free

5 Ways to Cruise for Free

A free cruise?  Sounds too good to be true? There are actually a number of legitimate ways where you can cruise for free. While some do require a little bit of work on your end, here are the 5 different ways you can cruise without having to pay for your cruise fare.

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Tour Conductor Credits – The number one way that people cruise for free is through tour conductor credits.  Most cruise lines will give a free berth for every 8 cabins booked in a group, and a free cabin for every 16 cabins booked.  The next time that your friends/family talk about doing a group cruise, volunteer to head it up so you can cruise for free.  Note: You will still be responsible for taxes/port fees if you receive a free birth from the tour conductor credits.  Tip: Use a travel agent, they will do most of the work for you (collecting payments etc.) and guide you through the entire process.

Credit Card Points – Most cruise lines offer branded credit cards where you can earn a free cruise by using your card for everyday purchases.  If you cruise several times a year on the same cruise line, the double points that they offer can get you to your free cruise even faster.  However, it usually requires quite a few points to earn a free cruise.

Unless you own your own business or can pay things like your mortgage, car payment, and general home bills with a credit card, it is extremely hard to earn a free cruise.  However, you can still use a cruise branded credit card to earn onboard credit for those who do not charge much each month on their credit cards.

Enrichment Lectures – Many cruise ships have enrichment lectures during the course of a cruise.  Those that give the lectures will generally receive greatly discounted, or free cruise fares in exchange for the lectures.  In order to take advantage of this, you will obviously have to be an expert in the subject you will be talking about, and most likely some sort of teaching background.

If you are an expert about whales found off of the coast of Alaska or the Northern Lights, then an enrichment lecture is a great way to cruise for free.

Bingo – Yes, bingo on cruise ships is pretty much a rip off with tickets ranging from $10 to $40. However, many times the top prize will be a free cruise. If you are going to play bingo on your cruise, wait until the top prize is a free cruise, and not $500.

Contest Drawing – Cruise lines and large travel agencies will have free cruise giveaways from time to time.  Usually all that is required is for you to sign up for their email newsletter.  Holland America Line is currently running a promotion where you can win a seven night cruise to Europe, Alaska, or the Caribbean. All that is required is about 60 seconds of your time to fill out the contest entry.

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Ben Souza
Ben Souza
Ben is a world traveler who has visited 40+ countries, taken over 70 cruises. He is one of USA TODAY's experts for their 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. His writings have appeared and been cited in various media outlets such as Yahoo News, MSN, NPR, CNN, Fox, and ABC News. Ben currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow Ben on Instagram. Visit Ben Souza on Linkedin. You may email Ben at [email protected].
Cruise Tips5 Ways to Cruise for Free


  1. You forgot to mention (on Royal Caribbean) the casino! If you become at least a Prime member of Casino Royale you earn a comped cruise once a year. You have to earn your status annually (April 1 – March 31), but that’s how my husband and I do a cruise nearly every month. 🙂

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