Contrary to popular belief, cruising can still be a bargain, however some hidden costs may surprise you. More and more onboard activities revolve around the almighty dollar: Shopping “bargains,” wine/alcohol tastings, bingo or other games, exercise classes — all require additional fees, however nominal.
If you choose to eat each meal in the regular dining room or at a buffet, there’s no additional charge. If, on the other hand, the idea of “upgrading” to a specialty restaurant (perhaps for a birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion) is appealing, you’ll be paying an additional fee per person. And, if that specialty restaurant just happens to be a steakhouse, why not indulge in a great cabernet — yes, that costs extra!
Alcohol, in fact, is not the only beverage with an upcharge. Outside of non-bottled water, lemonade and iced tea throughout the day, or coffee and tea with meals, all other beverages have a fee (soda, flavored water, energy drinks, cappuccino, etc.). Some cruise lines provide prepaid beverage packages — alcoholic and nonalcoholic. But here is a piece of advice: Before purchasing either of these, carefully determine, based on your personal preference, if this will be a bargain or not. How many mimosas or Bloody Marys after breakfast will you really consume to justify the added expense?
2. Outside Excursions
Excursions can also increase the price of your trip, but may be worthwhile depending on the port and your comfort level. If you book an excursion associated with the ship, then the price will most likely be a bit higher than an outside excursion plan; however, you know what you are getting and what to expect on this excursion. If you’re more adventurous and wish to save some money (again DIY) or if you just want to wander aimlessly viewing attractions in the port area, then planning your own day trip might be a great option. But no matter which route on excursions you choose to take, it is important to take into account these day trips and excursions when financially planning out your cruise adventure.
Tipping (usually 15 to 20 percent) is also expected on most ships for nearly every service from drinks to spa services, exercise classes, excursions, WIFI assistance, photos, and even the customary room and dining staff. Note that some of these fees will be built into (aka, hidden) in the original price for luxury liners. A standard fee can be added to your onboard bill prior to departure for the dining and room staff should you so desire — such convenience!
Read more cruise tips: Four Questions to Ask Before You Book That Cruise
In the end, a relaxing vacation with friends or week away with family can always be an intriguing idea. But taking into account these extra hidden costs is important so that you don’t have to stress too much about it during your time off. Happy cruising!
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