You have probably heard the term “all-inclusive” applied to cruises. A vacation at sea on todays cruise ships is without question one of the best values for your vacation dollars because all major expenses; lodging, meals, snacks, activities, and entertainment are included. However, there are some items, mostly of an optional or personal nature, that are out-of-pocket expenses and not included in your cruise fare.
Cruise ships these days continually tempt passengers with onboard goodies not included in the cruise fare. You certainly control those expenditures, but those extra purchases can quickly run up your onboard bill leaving you with a bigger than expected bill, if not outright sticker shock, by the end of your cruise.
In today’s cruising world, the contemporary and premium cruise lines have changed their revenue model and are focusing on boosting earnings from additional onboard sources. Almost immediately upon stepping onboard, you are offered the “drink of the day” with a souvenir glass. That’s the first temptation and where your onboard account starts building.
Cruise lines are tempting their passengers to come onboard and use their ships’ expansive spas, diverse specialty dining options, numerous themed bars and lounges and so much more. More and more specialty restaurants, with additional charges, are not only being added to the newer ships, but older ships in the cruise lines fleets are being refurbished and specialty restaurants added where non existed before. To enjoy some of these unique dining options, a massage, an umbrella drink or two, and the casino, you’ll need to hand over your cruise card and pay up at the end of the cruise. You’ll also be paying extra for onshore adventures, ship board photographs from the minute before boarding the ship to formal night photos, internet usage, and souvenirs purchased in the onboard boutiques. It’s possible to minimize these extra charges and still enjoy your cruise.
Be sure to set aside some cash to cover these kinds of extra expenditures, or make a vacation budget and stick to it. Just don’t be surprised by your onboard bill at the end of your cruise. Even with the extra costs associated with your cruise, it is still the best vacation value you will ever experience. You don’t have to buy or participate in everything the cruise line tempts you with or those that they charge extra for.
As a note: The luxury cruise lines usually include the gratuities, drinks, and specialty restaurants in their cruise fares and generally have fewer extra charges, but you have really paid for that in the cruise fare up-front.
Until next time,