Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What do you mean, it costs extra?

Most cruises are NOT all inclusive. If they were, the price of the cruise would be much higher. Here are my 10 things one should know costs extra. They are in no particular order. Most are costs that get added to your on board account to be settled at the end of the cruise but a couple do require cash.

  1. Soda - can be purchased by can/bottle/glass depending on the line, and many lines offer a soda pass (in the form of a card or sticker) that for one price will allow unlimited soda for the duration.
  2. Laundry mat - Not a big deal if you never need it, but there are washers and dryers on board. They usually take quarters and run about $1 a load each.
  3. Duty free shops - You will find jewelry, watches, clothes, souvenirs, alcohol, gum, aspirin etc.. here. Some things are awesome deals (alcohol by the bottle) and some are not.
  4. Alcohol - Ok, most people know this one, and if soda is gonna cost, you know the alcohol would. There are occasions on board when drinks are free, such as the welcome aboard party, art auction, and even occasional free tastings at the duty free shops.
  5. Specialty shop - Every ship I have been on has had a specialty coffee shop, some kind of sweets shop. Royal Caribbean ships have places like Johnny Rockets, and Ben and Jerry's on board. The prices at these places would be a steal if on land, but with all the included food items available, many people pass on these.
  6. Upscale Restaurant - Aside from the buffet, and main dining rooms, most ships now have a pay restaurant with prices ranging from $25-$50 a person. Personal opinion on this one is, its a nice thing for a one time special event (anniversary etc..) but wouldn't recommend it for groups.
  7. Spa - Manicures, pedicures, teeth whitening, massages, step class, you name it, they offer it at the spa, for a price. Money saving tip: they offer discounts for appointments while in port.
  8. Gambling - This is a no brainer. Not only in the casino, many ships have drawings, raffles, and bingo as well. Gambling is the one thing that uses cold hard cash, however, many cruise lines will let you draw from your card to feed your gambling habit, usually at a cost of a small percentage of the total width drawl.
  9. Excursions - There will be a number of tours that you can sign up for on the ship for the ports of call. Some people choose to book tours themselves, either in advance, or once in port, and not use the cruise line which has its pros and cons. Research is the key if you plan to do this.
  10. Tipping - Touchy subject for some. Tipping is a large part of cruising, and actually starts before you even get on board when you hand your luggage over to the porter. Many cruise lines now do an auto tipping system of some sort in which the tip amount (varies by line but averages 10/day/person) is added to the bill at the end of the cruise along with all the other things listed above. I plan to have more on tipping on a later post.

There are probably a couple of other nickel and dime areas I am missing.

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