Some of my fondest travel memories occurred at sea! There is something “magical” about a sea cruise. First of all, you only unpack once! You receive royal treatment, gourmet meals, and lavish entertainment every night. All of this and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
Before I give you cruise tips I want to tell you something very important. There are many things in our current world that could cause difficulties and financial loss in planning a cruise vacation, political instability, weather, strikes, etc. To cover for that possibility I suggest travel insurance. Extra cost now, peace of mind later. Click on the banner to discover just how reasonable that peace of mind can be.
- Always have a change of clothes, and your bathing suit, in your carry-on. This way you can lounge by the pool while other passengers are waiting for their bags to be delivered!
- If you want to buy shore excursions, do it as soon as you get on board. They can sell out within minutes.
- To save money, book an inside cabin on a lower deck. Windows on a cruise ship cost money and when you are at sea you look out and see two shades of blue (sky and water) When you are in port you will see either the side of the dock or a busy seaport freight dock.
- Remember, you book a cruise to see exotic locations and you will do that outside your cabin! The cabin is for sleeping and an inside cabin is darker so you sleep better and longer. Do, however, stay away from the elevator shafts.
Avoiding the “Hidden” costs of cruising.
Even though you paid for an “all-inclusive” cruise there are “hidden” costs to every cruise. Yes, your accommodations, meals, entertainment, and most daytime activities are included in your fare, there are many on-board temptations that can easily turn your vacation into a financial nightmare! Avoiding them or, at least, knowing about them can keep the “carefree” in your plans.
- On most ships, alcohol, soft drinks, and bottled water aren’t FREE! The temptation to indulge starts as soon as you board with offers of the “drink of the day”. Most cruise lines ban you from bringing your own booze, but most will allow you to pack your own soft drinks and water. Some cruise lines offer an unlimited drinks package and that may save you some money.
- Don’t forget cruise ships will ask you to provide “gratuities” for the staff members that served you during the trip. SOME CRUISE LINES ARE NOW AUTOMATICALLY ADDING THESE TO YOUR SHIPBOARD BILL AT A RATE OF $10 TO $12 PER PASSENGER PER DAY! Bar bills might also include an automatic 15%. Remember the staff works mostly for tips and they do a GREAT job of making your cruise experience unforgettable, so tip generously for good service. I just wanted to make sure you “knew” and plan for this ahead of time. (Another tip: If you tip your staff up to half of the gratuity “up front” you will get unprecedented good service during the trip!)
- Booking shore excursions are a great way to enhance the experience of your trip, but are an additional expense. It’s easy to book through the cruise line, but these tours will cost you $30 to $150, or higher, and are priced to make money for the cruise line. You have Google so USE IT! Planning can pay off by booking through an independent local operator and using taxis or other local transportation to get to the beach.
- Spa treatments really sound good and can add extra stress relief and luxury to your vacation, just remember your $25 pedicure at home will cost $70 on board and a 50 minute massage…$120 and up. Look for specials on the days you are in port.
Sure, you’re on vacation and expect to spend money to do things you wouldn’t do at home. I am providing these tips to make you aware of some of the costs you may not have thought of. Better to know now than at the end of a wonderful sea cruise.