Once of the questions I get quite often is “What else do I need to pay for on a cruise”? This is a great question because if you are like me, you don’t like surprises. So below, I have laid out what is included and some of the most popular charges you may find beyond your cruise fare on your next cruise vacation.
Meals in the Main Dining Room
Included When you eat in the main dining room, whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner or even brunch, you meal is included.
Additional Some of the cruise lines, for example, Carnival will have upcharge items on the menu. This could be better cuts of meat or seafood like lobster. You may also see special events like the Green Eggs and Ham breakfast on Carnival where there is a $5 Per Person Charge. Or maybe tea time on Princess. These are not required but certainly there for additional options.
Included Brewed Coffee, tea, juice milk are all included and usually available 24 hours a day.
Additional Most ships now have a coffee shop on board where you can get specialty coffees. These are at menu prices but be sure to ask about a coffee card. I know these are offered on Royal Caribbean and Princess. Of course Soda and Alcoholic Beverages are menu prices but there are Beverage Packages available on most cruise lines. Just do the math on whether it will benefit you, especially with alcohol.
Entertainment The shows, comedy, live music, clubs, trivia and more there is no additional charge. There are some events that are nominal charge but I will discuss some of those below.
Activities There are activities on board like Wine Tastings, Martini Tastings, Behind the Scenes Tours that have a fee to participate. But, as I said above, for the most part, your entertainment is all included.
So what else could you have to come out of pocket for when sailing. Many of the below items can be purchased ahead of time which allows you to budget for your cruise.
Gratuities This is probably one of the most talked about charge with the most controversy. Aside from the luxury lines like Regent or Crystal, you will have a charge for gratuities. These can range from $12-$15 per guest per day. These are broken down to your wait staff including the dining room and lido deck buffet and your cabin steward.
Gratuities are added to your onboard account on the last day of the cruise but you have the option to have them removed in order to give cash to those who you believe deserves the gratuity. You can even leave it and give cash to them as well.
Pre Pay Gratuities can be pre paid prior to your sailing date. This allows you to include this into the cost of the cruise. In the unlikely case you did not receive service worthy of the gratuity, you can work with me as your agent and I can work with the cruise line to assist.
One other note about gratuities. They will charge 15% on drinks at the bar unless you have already purchased the drink package.
Specialty Dining Most ships now have specialty dining providing additional options for dinner. There are Italian Restaurants like Cuchina Del Capitano on Carnival, Steakhouses like Chops on Royal Caribbean or Cagney’s on Norwegian. Most of these restaurants do require reservations so make them before you leave or as soon as you board. Prices can range from $15 to $80 per person but typically around $35 per person.
Pre Pay - Some cruise lines allow you to purchase dining packages allowing you to reserve and pre pay for these restaurants. At this time, Carnival does not but Royal Caribbean does.
Shore Excursions These can be the biggest expense you incur for your cruise but not required. A shore excursion can be a tour, beach break, wildlife encounter or most anything else organized while in port. You can always do your own thing but speak to your excursion desk and keep time in mind. Tours can range from $50 per person up to $150 or more.
Pre Pay As soon as you book your cruise excursions are usually available to view, book and pay for on the cruise lines website. A note though, if you are wanting to use any onboard credits for this, you will need to wait until you get onboard.
Other activities and expenses. There are events like wine and martini tastings, behind the scenes tours and others that do have a cost. You will see this listed on your daily program so look out for these great events.
Also, drinks like soda or bottled water,
By no means is this intended to be an all-inclusive list of charges but hopefully it provided you with some helpful information. Please contact me with any comments or questions regarding this subject. And of course, if you are needing assistance with your vacation planning, I am here to help. Using a travel agent is the best decision when planning your vacation.
For all your vacation needs, remember Freedom to Roam Travel 904-534-4318 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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