6 Cruise Freebies You Can Get If You Just Ask!

What Cruise Freebies can you get on board your next cruise, just by asking?

You’re about to discover things that you can get for free on a cruise if you simply ask for them. I’m going to tell you things that you can get for free on a cruise that the brochures, and cruise lines don’t necessarily tell you about.

Simply by asking, you can get more bang for your buck on a cruise.

Watch my Cruise Freebies Video

Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/alsD1Ir32f4


First of all, extra free food. On pretty much every single cruise line, you can order more than one main course. Some cruise lines tried to introduce charges for ordering extra main courses, but they soon backed away. You can ask for more than one main course, so if you want the lobster and the steak you can order both of those for no extra cost.

The other thing to do is go off menu. On some premium cruise lines, they allow you to go off menu, however, if there’s nothing on the menu that appeals ask the waiter if you can have something off menu. Particularly if it’s something that was on the lunch menu, or perhaps the night before.

You often find that they have courses and dishes that they can do at short notice. Many cruise lines have some standard items that they offer every night, like steak or chicken, but a lot of cruise lines if you ask for something off menu you might find that you can get it.

If you’re vegetarian or vegan it is a great way of getting extra food that’s not on the menu. Most cruise lines will have some vegetarian or vegan options, but the secret is if you’re interested in that or you want different food, then talk to the maître d or waiter and they will often start to cater for you and create specific dishes for you to meet your specific needs.

If you have any dietary needs, you can often get extra free food that is different or is specially created for you.

If you’re a big fan of ice cream, lots of cruise lines have gelato or ice cream shops, however most of them do offer free ice cream too. You’ll either find that up in the Lido buffet or on the pool deck and in the restaurants at lunchtime and dinner if you ask for ice cream you will get it free without any extra cost.

Another great tip is room service. A couple of cruise lines will charge for room service, but many of them do not – so if you want a tea or coffee in the morning just phone room service. Certainly, room service is a great way to get extra food, and you’ll often find they have a slightly different menu to the main restaurant.


Secondly free drinks. Most Cruise Lines charge for drinks. There are a couple of ways of getting free drinks.

First of all, the most obvious is attend the cocktail parties like the welcome party and farewell party. You’ll normally find there is a big selection of drinks that are offered for free. If there’s other events on board like you often find the shops will have special events, and art auctions have special events where they provide drinks for free. Normally that’s champagne, but not necessarily. Attend those events. You don’t have to buy anything, and you’ll find you get free drinks.

Another important thing to note is that tap water is drinkable on cruise ships. Some people say they don’t like the taste, but it’s 100% safe to drink. Bring along a refillable water bottle and perhaps bring some flavour sachets or cordial and use those to give your tap water a little bit of taste.

Tap water is free and is completely drinkable, and by bringing little sachets of flavour you can spruce it up and probably save a lot of money on buying things like sodas or other soft drinks.

Another great way of getting free drinks is sign up for a Cruise Critic Meet-up. Many cruise lines host meet ups for members of Cruise Critic. If you’re on Cruise Critic, have a look for your particular cruise and find out there’s a meet-up, sign up for it and go because you’ll find there are free drinks and often little nibbles and snacks.

Remember that tea, coffee, juices and things like lemonade are often available 24 hours a day in the Lido buffet restaurants. No matter what time of the day or night, if you want some tea or coffee you can get those free up in the Lido deck.


My third tip on free things you can get on a cruise by asking are gifts, and there’s quite a few options here.

First of all, one of the things to do is take part in all of the activities. You’ll find that many of the activities, whether it’s trivia games, deck games and other events run by the entertainment team, if you go to those you will have a card and build up points, and at the end of the cruise you can redeem those points for gifts and prizes.

A lot of people take part in activities and don’t do that and so miss out on getting free bits and pieces of gifts. They often tend to be branded merchandise. So, if every cruise you go on if you do collect the points you will collect a lot of free gifts.

Another way of getting free gifts is going to the shopping talks. This tends to happen more in places like the Caribbean or Alaska where duty free shopping is a really big thing. On board there will be shopping advisors and they have lots of free gifts and incentives to get you to go into the shops.

Again, you don’t normally have to buy anything, but by simply going to the talks you’ll get free gifts and then by going to some of the stores you can redeem vouchers for free gifts. It’s definitely worth doing that because you’ll come away from the cruise with all sorts of things like T-shirts, lucky charms or free samples.

Another thing to do is if you’ve forgotten some of your amenities, so that might be a comb or a brush, stuff for shaving or toothbrush, instead of heading straight for the shops go to the Guest Services desk and ask them if they have an amenity kit. You’ll often find, like in many hotels, you can often get those for free.

The other thing to do is you’ll often find in your cabin or by going to Guest Services, you can get stationery, envelopes, writing paper, pens and postcards.

One of my favourite ways of getting free gifts is to take part in some of the raffles, especially on embarkation day you’ll find a couple of places around the ship have raffles to get you to go there.

One of the best ones to go to is the Spa. They enter you in a raffle, often give you a free drink and you just have to be there a certain time (normally just after the muster drills) at 5 o’clock or 6 o’clock and they do the draw and you have to be there to get the prize. On a couple of cruises, I have won packages with free massages and facials. So, that’s definitely something to do.

You’ll also find sometimes the shops will do these, particularly if they’re launching a new range, they’ll have a raffle as they want you to go there to look at the new merchandise. Definitely look out for the raffles around the ship where they’re giving away prizes.

Special Events

My fourth tip is an easy one to do and that’s to cruise when there’s a special event taking place like your birthday or a special anniversary.

Make sure the cruise line knows that it’s a special event and let your cabin steward know. Most cruise lines will make a fuss over a special event. If it’s your birthday at dinner they will bring you a cake. If your cabin steward knows that it’s a special anniversary or your birthday, they will also often do something, like they might bring a cake, put up some decorations or bring you a bottle of something bubbly. So, make sure that they know that you’re cruising on a special event.

Pick cruises when you have a special event because it’s very likely that if the cruise line knows, they will make a fuss and give you something free.


The fifth thing that you get free is medication and the Medical Centre. Medication and seeing the Medical Centre can cost a lot of money, but there are two pieces of medication that you can get for free.

First of all, seasickness tablets. You’ll find that the guest services desk will normally give seasickness when rough sea or they know that it’s getting rough.

The second is around if you have stomach upsets and you need anti diarrhoea.

Very important if you think that you have any of the signs of norovirus, like you are the vomiting or you have diarrhoea problems, if you contact the Medical Centre, they will usually see you for nothing. You will normally get a consultation by the doctor, or nurse, for free. If you have those symptoms, they will give you the relevant medication.


My sixth tip is one that I have used quite a lot, and works me, and this is around getting your cabin improved.

If you have any issues with your bed, so it’s too hard or too soft or you don’t like the pillows, speak to your cabin steward and see what they can do. Often, they can bring in new mattress toppers, give you feather pillows or memory foam pillows – and you normally find that you can get your bed adjusted and improved so that it really suits you and there are things they can normally do very easily. So, don’t suffer if you’re not happy with your bed.

The second thing that you can do is if you have a problem with your cabin, there’s a noise problem or something’s not working, always make sure that your Cabin Steward knows and that they’ve also reported to their supervisor. Once they’ve done that, then go and report it to Guest Services. It is very important that sequencing of events.

I’ve had problems on different cruises where I’ve had a noise problem or something hasn’t really worked, I made sure the cabin steward has known about it and I know that they reported their supervisor, and then I’ve gone to guest services telling them that I’ve reported it. The cabin steward is verifying that you have a problem and when that’s happened, I’ve often been moved to better cabins, because everyone agrees that there is a problem.

Then Guest Services know, and the hotel manager knows that it’s not just you creating a fuss for fuss sake, and that your steward agrees there is a problem and I have been moved (when of course there’s availability) to better cabins as a result.

So, cabin improvements definitely can happen by asking and working with your cabin

Final Thought

As you can see, simply by asking there’s a whole lot of things that you can get for free to give you more bang for your buck on your cruise fare. I hope you found that helpful. I have loads more videos with lots of tips and advice about cruising, so why don’t you watch one of those right now?

Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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