One of the key selling points of taking a cruise holiday is living the all-inclusive dream where a single fee pays for your every whim whilst on board. Yet travellers flocking to take advantage of this tempting deal may find that it really is too good to be true.
Whilst the cruise package should secure your accommodation, meals, snacks and entertainment, many ships offer a whole host of onboard extras which can well and truly jack up the cost if you’re not careful. Once you’ve set sail and are safely in holiday mode, it can come as a bit of a shock to the unsuspecting cruiser when they realise that relaxing massage or exotic cocktail they’ve been hankering for will actually cost extra cash. Whilst it’s unlikely you’ll hold yourself back on your longed-for holiday, indulging in expensive onboard extras can make give those holiday blues an extra edge when it’s time to settle the bill. Here are the extras to watch out for…
Rule numero uno for escaping extra costs: make sure you read the small print or question your travel agent closely on what is and isn’t included. It’s best not to assume anything and just because meals are provided, it doesn’t necessarily mean that drinks will be. Ensure you budget a certain amount for any drinks that aren’t included or enquire about beverage packages if you’re looking to land a discount. It’s also worth keeping a weather eye out for Happy Hour prices and drink specials at the various bars around the ship – this, too, is a feature you can check in advance.
Whilst a cruise is likely to include several intriguing stops along the way, in order to see the highlights of a destination in a limited period of time, you may need to book a shore excursion. However, the prices are likely to be inflated above the original tour operator charge. If you’d prefer to avoid this extra cost, why not look into arranging your own tour independently? After all, you will know the ship’s itinerary and expected arrival times in advance, enabling you to plan ahead and contact a local agency to book your tour. Alternatively, research free things to do in your ports and cut costs even further.
If you’re looking forward to indulging in one of the many onboard activities such as wine-tastings, spa treatments or a fitness class, double check your holiday budget. It’s very unlikely these tempting extras will fall into your all-inclusive bundle, although your ship will have plenty of free activities and entertainment to keep you occupied. Musical shows, games rooms, free lectures and onboard swimming pools are just a few of the features the modern cruise can offer – consider how you hope to spend your days before you book a deal.
Some cruisers simply cannot stand to disconnect and the good news is that if you count yourself within this bracket, you won’t have to. Most modern ships offer internet access but be aware that connection speeds can be frustratingly slow. Investigate the internet packages your cruise offers if this is important to you, otherwise why not embrace a digital detox and switch off until you hit the shore?
A cruise can be a wonderful choice for a family holiday with many lines offering complimentary children’s programs, designed to keep little ones entertained. However, should you require private or ‘after hours’ babysitting services, be aware that the cost can be pretty steep. If you’re hoping to steal a little down time away from the kids on your trip, take the cost of child care into account or consider planning your time to fit around the free entertainment provided.
If you’re spending a substantial amount of time at sea, it’s likely you’ll want to have some clothes laundered or dry-cleaned, particularly if you’ve packed light to save space. However, this sort of service onboard a cruise ship can come with a cost that soon adds up. Some ships offer a self-service launderette which might shave a little off the price; otherwise pack your own travel detergent to give the smaller items a scrub in your cabin sink.
There are a wide variety of cruises on the market and some cost-effective deals to be found – with a little bit of research, it’s possible to have a lot of fun and not bust your budget.
Of course, one area you really mustn’t scrimp on is travel insurance. Get your online quote with Medical Travel Compared today.