Cheap Cruises: Hidden Fees and charges you should know about

When you think of getting away with a cruise, you think of an all-inclusive vacation right? Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a completely all-inclusive cruise. There are hidden fees, charges and additional costs at every turn that you should know about before booking.

Drinks

Cruise lines are constantly finding new ways to cut corners and charge passengers for even the simplest things. Want that refreshing ice cold Coke with your pizza? Well most cruises now charge extra for soft drinks and even bottled water. Expect to pay at least $2 per glass of soda and at least $4.75 for specialty drinks. If you’re a daily drinker or like soda with every meal, $2 could easily turn to over $50 by the end of your trip.

Want a buzz? Maybe sip on a few Pina Coladas pool side? With the exception of some luxury lines, you bet there are some hefty fees to do so. Many cocktails will run you anywhere from $8.50 to over $12 and not including the required gratuity(we will get to that later).

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MONEY SAVING TIPS:

There are a few ways you can save money and still enjoy your desired refreshments.

1.Purchase a Drink Package. If you’re a vacation driven lush, you will most likely save money by purchasing an all-inclusive drink package.

2.Bring your own bottle. Some ships allow you to bring your own booze, typically a wine bottle per person, but be sure to check the policies.

3.Attend a party. Check your itinerary, if there’s a special party or maybe an art auction, you may be served with some free drinks for attending.

4.Gamble. So this only applies if you already plan on taking your chances at some tables, but by taking a gander just like many casinos you will be comped beverages.

5.Gift yourself. You may have an option for a “Bon Voyage” package for two, which will have two glasses and a bottle provided for you in your room upon boarding that can be used for the entirety of your sail.

Gratuity

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If you recall, I mentioned a required gratuity for drink purchases. Many cruises have required gratuity for services from 15-18% for things such as dining, bar tabs, butler, spa and specialty services from the maitre d’. Some of these charges may be added to your bill or rolled into your cruise fare during your time of booking.

MONEY SAVING TIP:

Make sure to check your cruise policies before you wind up double tipping:

http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=265

Specialty Dining

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The major cruise lines have now added “specialty dining” services that are not included in your cruise fare. These are additional restaurants, typically 4 or 5 different types to choose from that either have a set fee for the number of courses, or an a la carte option. There are also packages to chose from if you’d like to try most of them. In my experience, it’s best to forgo these specialty restaurants, not because they are lacking, but because your destination will most likely have more authentic and even cheaper dining options.

Internet

Forget about getting those reports for work done, oh wait you’re on vacation! So no Facebook posting either! Picture dial up speed mixed with payphone prices.On average you will pay a whopping $0.75 a minute for very slow internet, an option you should avoid all together.

MONEY SAVING TIPS:

1.If you can’t live without checking in to the world wide web, check your port destinations for internet cafes.

2.Call your cell phone provider and ask what cruise plans they provide.

3.Both Facebook and Twitter have ways you can post via text. For Instructions: Facebook & Twitter

 

Ultimately cruises can still have a great vacation value for those that want a relaxing getaway, just make sure you are aware of the additional fees before booking. Take advantage of inclusive offers. Currently Norwegian Cruise Lines has a ‘FREE AT SEA’ promotion that includes many package options with your booking such as Drink Packages and even free prepaid service charges.

 

 

 

 

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