Cruises can be one of the cheapest yet most relaxing types of vacations, but not if you’re uninformed. The whole cruising experience can be a bit of an enigma to the uninitiated. And cruise lines, like most sales-based businesses, have lots of tricks up their sleeves to encourage guests to part with their hard-earned money. If you’re considering a cruise and want to stay within your budget, read our list of ’10 things cruise lines won’t tell you’ before you book your trip.
1. ‘All-Inclusive’ packages don’t exist
Although cruising is considered all-inclusive because your room, entertainment, and meals are included, that doesn’t mean you’ll get to partake in everything on the ship for free. Most cruise ships have main dining rooms (and usually a smattering of other venues) where your meals are included, but they also have high-end specialty restaurants that often require reservations and carry an up-charge for their fare. Luckily, there is no secrecy about which is which. Most ships also carry a surcharge for room service delivery. Just do a little research and you can easily avoid having to pay for a meal onboard. Also, research the entertainment and activities while you’re at it. Some activities may cost extra or be a one-time-per-cruise option.
2. People can spend a small fortune on drinks
A lot of cruise lines will allow you to bring up to 2 bottles of your own wine on board, so definitely take advantage of that! Aside from that, the only way to really save a decent amount is to buy in bulk. It costs less overall to buy a bottle of wine over a glass or a bucket of beers over a single bottle. And if you must have specialty drinks, have them served in regular glasses to save money. If you’re a soda drinker, try drinking iced tea for the week you’re onboard for free instead of dropping money on a soda package.