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When Lynnia called to ask if I’d join her on a two-week free cruise around the west coast of South America with stops in Chile and Argentina, it was hard to say no. But I was pregnant at the time and I was having a really hard time keeping my lunch down.  The idea of eating and sleeping on a rocking boat was too nauseating to consider… even if my ticket was free. Lynnia has now cruised to the Caribbean Islands… South America…Bermuda… throughout Europe and more. She donates her time to talk to passengers about astro-palmistry, ghost ships, the many ways you can tie a sarong, and pirate tales. And, in exchange, she gets treated like a rock star, with her guest rooms, dining, and entertainment all paid for. There are basically three ways to cruise for free: 1. Barter your skills. Here’s a list of skills I’ve seen advertisements for in the past…

  • Drawing
  • Face-painting
  • Cooking
  • Yoga
  • Golfing
  • Scrapbooking
  • Dancing
  • Singing
  • Playing cards
  • Watercolor art
  • Stargazing
  • Fishing
  • Gardening
  • Wine tasting
  • Photography

2. Provide a service. Services that cruise lines often need include:

  • Child care
  • Massage therapy
  • Hair styling
  • Giving manicures
  • Sermons (if you’re a Member of Clergy)
  • Acupuncture
  • Talks on all kinds of topics:
    • Music
    • History
    • Wildlife
    • Lighthouses
    • Auto racing
    • Surfing
    • Archaeology
    • Feng Shui
    • Home improvement
    • Pet care

3. Pitch something new and extraordinary to the cruise company or the company’s Cruise Director. 

Think of something that’s fun for passengers to learn or do. How can you drum up winning ideas?

  1. Look at current cruise ship trends. What’s hot right now?
  2. Connect the trend with a cruise line’s needs.
  3. Think of a talent or skill you have that ties into the cruise line’s trend and need.

The trick is also in knowing which cruise lines want which services. Celebrity Cruises, for example, has focused more on the upscale “foodie” market in 2014 – appealing to cruisers who wanted new gourmet food experiences. And, I read that in 2015, they’ll expand some of their port destinations to include Beppu and Kanazawa in Japan. If you’re a good cook or you know something about cooking with Beppu’s hot spring steam, perhaps you could offer a talk or a class on it.  Or maybe something about Japanese seafood could work. The key is to have fun with it and tap into an existing trend if and when possible. Share on Facebook [Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up today here and we’ll send you a report, Get Paid to Travel as a Travel Writer, completely FREE.]

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