Want some top tips for avoiding extra costs on a cruise? Travel expert, TV presenter and Contributing Editor for Cruise International Julie Peasgood has some advice…

Q. We’ve been on several cruises over the past few years, but have ended up spending a lot of money on the extras such as excursions. Do you have any tips for avoiding extra costs on a cruise?

Unless you opt for an all-inclusive cruise with all excursions, drinks and even gratuities included, you’re right that it’s worth considering the extras when you’re planning your cruise. I keep track of my spending by checking my onboard account halfway through the cruise (always save receipts for everything you purchase on board).

Keep costs down by exploring destinations on your own; alternatively, you can book though a private company (such as portpromotions.com) or team up with other passengers to share a taxi or rent a car. And research the trips on offer – a visit to the ballet in Russia is best done as a ship’s excursion because of all the admin involved, whereas it’s far cheaper to make your own way to the Titanic exhibition in Belfast than joining an organised ship’s tour.

Other ways to save: look into the beverage packages offered at the start of your cruise as they can be good value, and check the cruise line’s drinks policy as you may be able to bring your own alcohol, soft drinks and water on board.

Book discounted spa deals when the ship is in port (the daily paper should list special offers) and avoid the ship’s internet packages – every port has free wifi (just follow the crew!) so save WhatsApp calls and texts for when you dock. Use the self-service launderette rather than the laundry service and give the onboard photographers a miss as they’re surprisingly costly.