Many of my clients love cruises and would vacation no other way. I’m writing this for those of you, clients or soon to be clients that are thinking of dipping their toes into the cruise world; so you are prepared for the extra costs.

*Articles are never a replacement for a trusted Travel Agent. They will help you work through your options.

Set aside some cash to cover these extra expenditures.

Food: Cruise ships are getting sneakier in finding new ways to charge passengers for food. Most ships will now offer free dining which is typically a buffet in the main dining room and usually have restricted hours. Ships are excited about their new dining venues… everything from your casual dining rooms to Pizza on the go. From family oriented to Grand Italian; from the Chef’s table to exclusive restaurants designed by celebrity chefs.  You name it, they’re creating it….At a Hidden Cost.

Beverages: Alcoholic beverages and wine are usually not included.  Many will also charge for soda, bottled water, certain juices and specialty coffees (cappuccinos, lattes and espressos).

*If you are able to secure a drink pass…it too comes with limitations and added gratuities.

Shore Excursions: Surprise Surprise….Many are inflated.  The port operator’s know well what excursions travelers will pay finely for. You will often pay more for the cruise director to plan your day but, in my opinion, it is the better way to go. Most excursions are for the masses so don’t expect to soak up a particular destination.  This simply is not possible.

Onboard Activities:  some are free while many activities incur extra fees. Among them are fitness classes like Pilates, yoga and spinning ($12 to $30 per class); wine-tasting events; after-hours group babysitting for the youngest children (about $5 to $8 per child, per hour).

Tipping/Gratuities: Cruise Lines usually recommend about $12 per person, per day (many will allow this to be added on at booking) but that isn’t all.

You will still be required to tip throughout your stay. Not only will you incur an extra fee for bar tabs, dining, spa treatments, special requests such as birthday, anniversary cakes, flowers, maid service requests, cleaning, ect.  but many Cruise Lines will automatically add 15-18%. You will still be expected to tip on top of that charge.

This is what I call: The Tipping Blind Fold.

Wifi: Whether you bring your own laptop and ships business center (if available) you will pay extremely high rates for often slow Internet connections.

*All of these fees and gratuities can add up quickly.