Now that you know how to prepare for the airport, I want to help you get the most out of your cruise.
As you know we enjoy cruising and do it often. They seem like an inexpensive way to travel – you have one flat fee for your room, meals and entertainment. But there are extra fees, some of them unexpected, and that’s where the cruise lines make their money.
Here are some of the fees you might incur and how to get around them.
Not just alcohol, but soda and bottled water come with a fee too.
How to get around it: Some cruise lines let you bring a small quantity on board with you at embarkation. We routinely bring bottled water and soda, and have even brought on a bottle a wine in the past. Don’t forget your corkscrew, or they’ll charge an uncorking fee to open it for you.
You may have a full access to the gym aboard the ship, but the exercise classes come with a fee.
How to get around it: I have to admit, I love water aerobics and have paid a fee for that class. But I typically abstain from classes, and instead start my day with a walk on the jogging track. On days were the weather isn’t cooperating, I use the machines in the gym. I love the smell of salt water and the quietness of the early morning, getting my exercise in as the sun rises.
Most of your food is included when you eat in main dining room and at the buffet. But you’ll find they offer some high end, very tempting options for a fee: like expensive meal choices, specialty restaurants, premium coffee and ice cream, and some brand name restaurants.
How to get around it: Cruises have food, food and more food. Check out what free options are available before you even think about exploring the fee options. For example, you’ll have to pay for the premium ice cream at the Ben & Jerry’s on board, but the soft serve from the self-serve ice cream machines are free.
Shore Excursion Fees
The cruise line will offer tours of each port and beyond – for an additional fee. The fee applies if you’re just using their transportation service to get to the city so you can explore on your own.
How to get around it: There is ease and peace of mind with the cruise directed shore excursions, but lots of times you don’t need them. We have used outside companies and/or toured on our own for a fraction of the cost. Yes, it takes research and planning but it can be well worth it. We’ve even booked shared transportation with others on board ahead of time, so we could see exactly what we want in a much smaller group – and for a fraction of the cost.
This has been our experience. Check with the cruise line you’re using because they may have different rules than the line we use. Nothing is worse than purchasing a case of water to bring on the cruise and having to leave it on the pier because it’s not allowed. If want to get around an extra fee, and you can’t find details on it in your cruise contract, then call the travel agent or cruise line and ask ahead of time.