One important aspect that people need to know is how much will a cruise really cost. There is more to the cost of cruising than just the cost of your cabin. Cabin fare is only the beginning of what you will spend. It is important to understand that there are common expenses that you must plan on before taking your cruise.

Some of these expenses include; tips, drinks, upgrade dinning, internet access, phone, ships stores and more. Included in these extra expenses are the casinos which can really catch you up in the mood of spending if you aren’t careful. This doesn’t include money that you may spend at ports of call. Just remember, the same key card that unlocks your cabin also unlocks your wallet.

Kim and I have learned that there is one question that we must ask and you must learn to ask. Repeat after me, “Is this free.”  This needs to be one of your first questions that you must ask about any product or service that is offered on ship board. Don’t let pride stand in the way of good common sense to prevent over spending. You get a lot of wonderful things included in your cabin price such as room, board, and entertainment. Cruise ships can also do Ebenezer Scrooge proud in just how many different ways that can separate you from your money.

No, That is Not Free

Be aware that souvenirs, drinks, ship-to-shore phone calls, and even Internet access come with a hefty price tag. Drinks are made to look like something gorgeous that you just have to have but they are one of the most overpriced items that you will be tempted to purchase. The bars are one of the cruise lines biggest money makers so don’t get suckered in to overspending on drinks.

Let me add another word of caution on a way that you can be separated from you money. There seems to be special sales going on about every ten minutes or so. One of the biggest specialty sales is uncut gemstones. What usually happens here is that the settings cost much more than the stones.

One other area to consider is tipping. Knowing what to tip and when to tip can help you manage you cost on a cruise as this tends to be a delicate subject. The following is the average recommended tipping:

  • Dining Room Waiter    $3-$4 a day
  • Assistant Waiter or Bus Boy    $1.50 – $3 a day
  • Dining Room Maître D’    $.50 -$1 a day
  • Dining Room Head Waiter or Head Server    $.50 – $1 a day
  • Room Steward    $3-$4 a day
  • Most cruise line bar bills include a 15% tip, and while most permit you to increase or decrease this amount, you are not required to tip additionally
  • Spa services, 15%-20%, unless it is a cruise line that discourages any kind of tipping, or tips are already included in the spa treatments
  • Excursion in port tour tipping. If pleased with the tour, tip $2-$5 to the tour guide for a full day tour, $1-$2 to the driver.

Like I said, cruise fares are some of the smartest and least expensive vacation bargains that there are available today. This is true as long as you are observant and understand what other additional expenses that you can add to your bill. Adding to your bill can double the total cost of your cruise. You don’t have to do this with just a little bit of knowledge and understanding. By following the tips that I have given you then you will realize the true value of cruising for your vacation.

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