Many travelers new to cruising do not always realize that not everything is included in their cruise price. Many are SHOCKED when they board their ship and realize they will need additional monies to get them through their trip.
So, you ask, what is included and what should I expect to pay for while I’m on my dream vacation?
Although each cruise line has its own set of inclusions, the following information does apply to the majority of the cruise lines; the ones that are categorized as Mainstream Cruise Lines.
What is included in the price of your cruise?
Accommodations – With your stateroom accommodations a cabin steward will be assigned to you. S/he will attend to your every need including turning down your bed at night, cleaning of your room at least once a day, etc. Cabins come equipped with televisions and stereos. Bathroom amenities that are often included are shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soaps, razors, etc. Most new ships may also include blow driers and refrigerators (but not always). Because of fire hazards, irons are not furnished and are not allowed in the staterooms; however, ships do offer ironing services at a fee.
Meals – You will certainly not go hungry while cruising. All meals are included from day to night. Most cruises have 24-hour buffet areas where you can eat any time of day. Sit down gourmet dinners that are served include appetizers, salads, main entrée and desserts. You can also order additional entrees (if you are glutton). Popular meals are also the ships’ midnight buffets, pizza parties, and ice cream parties. If you are still hungry or just want to order in, the ships’ 24-hour room service is always available.
Limited Beverages – Overall, drinks are not included unless they are being served with breakfast, buffets or dinners. Included drinks are usually limited to iced tea, lemonade, some juices, coffee, and water (not bottled).
Onboard Activities – You will never be bored on a cruise ship because they have ongoing activities throughout the day that are gratis. These may include swimming or relaxing in a hot tub, contests and games, dance and golf lessons, karaoke and sing-a-longs, etc.
Children & Teen Programs – All of the mainstream ships will offer organized children and teen programs that keep the entire family happy. These programs are normally categorized by age and include age-appropriate activities.
Fitness Centers – Cruise ships offer state-of-the-art fitness centers for the health-conscious traveler. Centers include fitness machines such as stationary or spin bikes, treadmills, and stair steppers. There are also offerings of aerobics, yoga or Pilates classes. Not all classes offered are free, but there are many to choose from that are included. Hint: these classes fill up fast!
Entertainment -What kind of entertainment is offered on a cruise ship? We don’t have enough time to list everything, but these ships include theatres that feature elaborate Vegas-style shows, singers, comics, etc. Additionally you will find cinema-style theatres that show current movies. There are bar lounges with music to dance the night away, karaoke bars to sing the night away, or piano bars. There are numerous deck and pool parties. And don’t forget the Casinos which may feature high-stakes poker tournaments (of course gambling money is not included).
You will find that the list of what is not included in a cruise is much shorter than what is included.
What is NOT included in the price of your cruise?
Tips – When paying a cruise rate, the tips will not be included, although you can always pre-pay for the tips. Most of the workers on a cruise ship earn most of their money on tips….and they do EARN IT — you will not find better waiters, stewards, or bartenders anywhere. Most cruise lines have “recommended tipping standards” that normally start at $10.00 per day per guest. Basically, these tips are distributed among the personnel that service your every need for the included cruise items such as your stateroom stewards, waiters, or bus person. Most cruise lines will automatically add their recommended tip amount to your stateroom account at time of sailing. This amount can always be decreased or increased based on the service received.
Beverages – Alcoholic beverages are not included in your cruise rate. Also sodas, specialty coffees, or bottled water are not included. There may be options to buy packages for unlimited wine or alcohol or sodas that may be worth purchasing your beverage consumption is high.
Spa Treatments – All cruise ships offer state-of-the art spa treatments such as messages, facials, and salon services. All these are extra…..but, boy, are they worth it!!!!
Shore Excursions – Of course shore excursions are not included. There are dozens of things to do when ships dock at the beautiful exotic destinations. Cruise lines make it VERY easy for their clients to book excursion on-line even before they board the ship. Of course, shore excursion bookings are also available once you board.
TRY TO REMEMBER TO….
…. Keep track of your spending by holding on to all receipts
…. Check your account balance throughout the day.
…. Book the must-do shore excursion ahead of time since they may sell out