Drink for free on your next cruise

Alcohol is an extra expense on most all cruise ships, but USA Today compiled a list of how you can drink for free while on vacation.

Captain's party: If you have previously traveled aboard the cruise line, you and a guest are invited to the cocktail hour with complimentary drinks. Your travel agent might also be able to get you on the VIP list that will allow you to attend. If you choose the Disney Cruise Line and stay at least six nights, everyone of age is invited to attend the event.

Champagne art auction: Many cruise lines offer complimentary bubbly to get you into the art auctions on board. The best advice is to attend the event and sip for free, while watching other people buy expensive artwork.

High rollers: The drinks in cruise ship casinos don't flow as freely as casinos on land, unless you reach top status in the players club. Then your drinks will be on the house.

Book with a cruise agent: Travel agents desperately want your business and can offer incentives such as champagne or onboard spending credit to entice you. If it's not offered, you can always ask.

Befriend a bartender: You can always ask to sample the wine if you're not sure which selection to make. Remember, many of these bartenders compete in cocktail competitions and might be willing to have you try out their concoction at no cost.

Stay in a fancy suite: Upgrading to a suite has its perks. Some airlines offer mini bars in the suite, while others let you have complimentary drinks in the bar. There are nightly cocktail hours for those who spend more on the room where drinks flow for free.

Cruise frequently: Repeat cruisers can reap the benefits when it comes to free alcohol. Champagne brunches, complimentary wine tastings, and free minibars are just some of the possible perks.

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