Everyone enjoys find a great deal on the cost of a cruise. But beware of the unexpected costs or hidden fees that can make discount cruises outrageously expensive. You might think that your airfare and the cost of the cruise are going to be your only vacation expenses but that can be very far from the truth.
What does “All Inclusive” Mean?
The term “all inclusive” can have a great many different meanings depending on the cruise line or booking agent who used it. A true luxury cruise line will include a stateroom, meals, drinks (including alcohol), crew gratuities, all activities aboard the ship and even shore excursions in the published all-inclusive cost of a trip. And the most luxurious cruise lines even include airfare and hotel accommodations for pre and post cruise relaxation. However, the more budget conscious cruise lines include a state room, meals and normally non-alcoholic drinks in their all-inclusive pricing. Additional packages and upgrades can be added to the base cost for items like a drink package, certain activities and shows on the ship or activities in ports of call.
It All Adds Up
You might think that room and board are really all that you need to enjoy your time on a cruise ship. But even occasional little extras can add up quickly. In fact, the extras can quickly surpass the cost of the actual cruise. At $5.00 or more per drink, just 4 drinks a day for a 7 day cruise is $140 plus whatever you are spending in tips for the bartender and server. Another shocker can be the number of people that you should tip at the end of a cruise. There are the people working in housekeeping, the wait staff during meals, photographers, dealers in the casino, the concierge service and more. Just a $5.00 tip per day for housekeeping adds up to $35 and then add in all of the other service providers and you are looking at several hundred dollars. And who can leave a cruise ship without souvenirs? Everyone knows that those don’t come cheap so count on another few hundred for a t-shirt, hat and cup to commemorate your cruise experience. So now your bargain $500 cruise plus airfare is now more like a $1,100 or $1,200 extravaganza, plus airfare.
Being Cheap Can End Up Being Costly
Finding a great deal on a cruise is only a bargain if that cost covers everything that you will want to experience, see and consume during your vacation. You really do get what you pay for in most cases, so paying upfront and knowing the actual cost of your trip can be much better than a huge surprise tab at the end of the trip. Shop diligently, find a reasonably priced cruise and pay upfront so that you can relax and enjoy the trip without worrying about added costs that will be waiting for you at the end of your trip.