Cruising Cost Control
IS & Is NOT Included In Your Cruise Fare
by Linda Coffman
pass, room key... ultimately, it's a "Sail 'n Spend"
fares... The kind currently offered by cruise lines
and travel agencies have brought cruise vacations within the realm of
reality to many people who only fantasized about them in the past.
However, those same rock-bottom fares can cause consternation to
passengers on a tight budget. Increasingly, cruise lines have devised
creative ways to entice passengers to spend additional money once on
board the ships of their dreams.
While a cruise is nearly
all-inclusive, with accommodations, dining, entertainment, and taxes
covered in the ticket price, there are add-on expenses to consider.
Air fare, tips, shore excursions, travel insurance, passports, visas,
and even bottled water can increase the bottom line. To get the true
picture of what you can expect to budget for your floating fantasy,
you should factor in those extras.
Passengers are required to either
produce a credit card or cash deposit against expenses at the
beginning of their cruise. At voyage end, an itemized bill is
provided. In order to avoid surprises, it's a good idea to hang on to
your charge slips and request an interim printout of your bill from
the Purser to insure accuracy. Most onboard expenditures are charged
to your shipboard account, with the exception of casino gaming—even
so, you can often get "cash advances" against your account
from the casino cashier.
Items not covered in the basic cruise fare
- Air fare
- Beverages (bottled water, soft
drinks, alcoholic drinks)
- Casino Gaming & Bingo
- Alternative Restaurants
- Specialty Ice Cream & Coffees
- Internet Access
- Laundry, Pressing & Dry
- Medical Treatment
- Shore Excursions
- Spas, Salons, Personal Trainers
& Specialized Exercise Classes
- Certain Sports Activities
- Gaming (casino, Bingo, video
Other necessities of a personal
nature can add up as well. Before leaving home, consider the cost of
passports, visas (for certain countries), and travel insurance (an
option, but highly recommended).
Those expenses aside, the majority of
on board "extras" are strictly discretionary. You can choose
whether to purchase alcoholic beverages or cappuccino, for instance.
And no one will blink an eye if you shy away from the casino or spa.
While the extras greatly enhance the overall experience of a cruise,
they can quickly add up and exceed the initial fare if you aren't
Cruise passengers are caught in
something of a "Catch-22"—either
pay a higher fare up front or pay for non-included items later. By
determining your priorities in advance, you may find that a truly
all-inclusive luxury cruise can be comparable in total cost to a
mainstream or premium level cruise, depending on the category booked
and your personal spending habits.
It certainly is possible to not go overboard with extras, but one area
to not skimp on is gratuities. Read the fine print in your chosen
cruise line's brochure and you should face no spending bombshells once
you are on board.