We explore the hidden costs of cruising. What your cruise is likely to include and what extras you might have to pay for.
A major cruise line currently states on their website “Everything you need to enjoy your holiday is included in the price of your ticket”.
Really?……Everything?….You mean EVERYTHING?!
So those daily tips you automatically add to my account don’t really occur?
Despite there being a lot included not many people will leave a cruise ship without paying a bit more and in most cases quite a lot more than the cruise price.
Whilst your meals & entertainment are all included those extras soon add up.
There are some genuinely premium all-inclusive lines e.g. Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Crystal Cruises. However; for the mainstream cruise lines earning extra revenue is a necessity in an increasingly competitive market.
So what are the hidden costs of cruising?
Depending on which country you reside this is a customary charge or one of those annoying hidden costs of cruising.
At up to $20 a day per person, this soon adds up. Most cruise lines expect this to be paid for all passengers so those with kids can find a large final charge on their bill.
Although in theory, you can ask for this charge to be removed my opinion is this isn’t fair. Staff on cruise lines do not get paid large salaries with the majority of income coming from tips. Coming from a culture where tips are extra earned for exceptional service I think this is an unnecessary hidden cost of cruising.
MY solution is to charge us the proper price of our cruise and pay the staff properly. Until this culture changes pay the gratuities.
Getting you to a new exciting destination every couple of days is certainly included. What you do when you get there isn’t.
Cruise lines make big money from selling you excursions. However; there is nothing stopping you booking independent tours or just exploring on foot at your destination. Some of the most enjoyable ports of call are when you wander around the port.
All food included on your cruise?
A lot certainly is.
However; if you want to experience the best at sea be ready to pay more. Most ships now have extra alternate venues serving premium food at premium prices.
A selection of soft drinks plus tea and coffee are usually included. However; on most lines alcohol isn’t.
Are you likely to need more than an occasional drink during the day? Many cruise lines will sell you all-inclusive drink packages which although not cheap may well save you money.
Whilst the majority of activities are included extras including wine tasting, bingo, babysitting & of course the casino can soon add up.
There is plenty already included in the price of your cruise. Are these extras necessary?
Spa & Therapies
Most ships have fantastic spas which come at fantastic prices.
Consider visiting on a port day if you have little planned as you will often find prices are cheaper.
Most modern ships now have a fantastic choice of shops. Often prices can be obtained cheaper than on land.
Shops will often be open late at night to tempt you to part with your money.
Whilst on your vacation why not buy your next vacation?
Cruise lines will often offer discounts on your next cruise if you book on board. Keeping you brand loyal is a key revenue stream.
It is fantastic you can now get high-speed internet and crystal clear mobile phone calls whilst at sea. It does come at a price though.
Internet on cruise ships is not cheap. However, for many of us, it is an essential part of our daily lives and an essential buy.
Consider buying before you travel as you will often get reduced rates.
Now, this is the bit of a cruise I hate most. My waiter serves me my delicious main on a Formal Night and I hear “smile for the camera!”
Yes! Those annoying photographers interrupting you at every opportunity and then later trying to sell you a photo package.
Photos on cruises are not cheap and soon add up…but how can you turn down that gorgeous photo of the kids on their first Formal Night?
Are there any other Hidden Costs of Cruising we have missed from our list? Leave a comment below.
For most of us, cruises do represent excellent value for money. However; there are many hidden costs of cruising and they do add up. Make sure you always budget for gratuities, excursions and drinks as essential extras.
Have a great vacation!