A common misconception with cruises is that once you pay for the cruise, it’s paid in full, all-inclusive if you will, wrongo! This is NOT the case, everything depends on the cruise line and/or add-ons you may have pre-purchased.
When pricing a cruise make sure you compare apples to apples or in this case, cruise amenities to cruise amenities. There’s always a catch and I CAN guarantee you will spend extra moola, dinero, and coins on every single cruise line someway, somehow… Here are extra costs you may or may not know about and some of them are optional:
Gratuites- unless you prepaid gratuities when booking your cruise, you will pay at cruise end for your shipboard staff. Cruise lines have different amounts they bill, so check with your specific cruise line. Remember you can alter the amount up or down depending on their service. FYI, it is frowned upon when altering less than minimum tip, as the Servers, Wait Staff, and Room Steward rely on these tips. Also, prepaid gratuities don’t cover ALL your tips, you still have; room service tip, porter, and anything extra you would like to give.
Alcohol- if you drink alcohol onboard your cruise- cheers to you! Your Sail & Sign Card (Cruise Card) will be charged and it will include an 18% gratuity automatically, so don’t double tip unless you have money to make it rain. Exclusions- if you pre-purchased a special liquor package but still there are hidden costs, read the fine print peeps.
Soda Package- Depending on which cruise line you choose and how much you love your soda pop. Check with your specific cruise line for available pricing, specific rules with this too.
Coffee/Bakery- specialty coffees, desserts, fancy insulated “Cruise” cups aren’t free. So ask yourself, “Do you really need that salted-caramel-white- chocolate-mocha-frappe-latte-cappuccino? Regular coffee is free, if you want something special; add some whip cream off one of your free desserts to it, shoot just add the entire dessert, yum…
Specialty Restaurants- You will pay extra for unique, ethnic, high-end gourmet restaurants backed by Michelin-starred chefs or casual eateries like Johnny Rockets. The extra cost $25+ per person for upscale dining and casual dining like Johnny Rockets somewhere around $6+ per person and usually all-you-can-eat.
Port Excursions- do you plan on just wandering around the port? If so, you still need money; especially if you want to purchase souvenirs, entertainment, or a meal. Your smile as lovely as it may be won’t get you a hamburger, but it might get you slapped….Port Excursions can be booked by you or the cruise line in advance of the cruise, onboard the cruise or if you’re brave when you arrive at the port.
Internet usage- want to stay connected to your love ones or brag to your friends on social media while cruising, then that costs a pretty penny. Internet plans vary depending on cruise line.
Gambling- you know by now what I’m going to tell you, don’t hate the messenger. It costs money to gamble, surprise! Positive and negative to gambling, you could win BIG or lose BIGGER…. Think like a WINNER!
Spa/Salon Services- I love to be touched…my back, feet, head, hands and face……by masseuses, unfortunately they cost, cost, cost. So try to wait towards the end of the cruise and get a half off deal for Spa and Salon. Woot!
Arcade- usually priced more than the normal arcade, some ship arcades will take cash, sail & sign (cruise card) and/or reloadable arcade cards. It is a fun, competitive family thing to enjoy while cruising. Air hockey is our family fave.
Gift Shop and Onboard Purchases- Souvenir, Jewelry, Liquor Store and Candy Shop all cost additional, but I think that’s obvious….or at least I hope that is obvious to you, lol….
Bingo- a fun way to spend money on a cruise with the opportunity to win more! Good Luck…
Art Auction- if you are a collector of art and would like a good deal, here’s your chance. I hate to sound like a broken record, but you’ll have to cough up some dough and I don’t mean double stuffed Oreo’s!
Laundry/Dry Cleaning Services- this is actually one service that is exceedingly reasonable in value. TIP- be mindful of the date you need them. Prices vary per cruise line.
Photograph Services- you want that glamour shot with your family to look back on or to show your friends you really took a cruise on the Pacific Princess March 5th, 2016. Buy a photo or snag 50 and hand them out at Christmas or NOT. Fees vary by cruise line, size of photo and package purchased. Lots of folks love taking them, my family not so much.
T.V. Movies- Some cruise lines offer newly released movies for an extra charge in your stateroom.
Ship to Shore Phone Calls- It’s very expensive to use your cell phone when cruising, roaming costs alone are astronomical, now factor in another country’s roaming- ridiculousness. There are times when you need to check on loved ones at home and ship-to-shore is actually cheaper. Again, cruise lines prices vary.
Remember not all of these are required fees, like I mentioned earlier, some are optional. Find what works for your family and happy cruising!
Let the sea set you free, Bon Voyage!