Cruise Lifestyle

Onboard spending: what’s included in the fare, and managing money at sea

Cruises are a popular all-inclusive way to travel, offering accommodation, transport, food and entertainment within the cruise fare. You could, hypothetically, not spend any money at all once aboard, but numerous amenities are not included in the ticket.

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These include alcohol, soft drinks, shore excursions, spa treatments, professional photography, babysitting services and other offers.

Budgeting is therefore essential while on a cruise.

What’s Included in the Price?

On most ships, meals in the main dining room (breakfast, lunch and dinner), water and juice from the buffet areas, use of the gym and select fitness classes, some workshops and seminars, kids’ activities, the main pools, entertainment, and of course the cabin, are all included.

Cruise lines use these fares to cover the operational costs of the cruise, the bulk of their profit actually comes from passenger onboard spreading on special sun decks and pool areas, spa treatments, laundry, baby-sitting, retail, Wi-Fi and of course beverages and extra food.

There’s a reason cruise ships all have at least one or two specialty restaurants and several bars, most have more than a dozen!

How to Save Money Before You Set Sail

The first thing you can do to manage a cruise vacation budget is to look for offers and deals on the cruise itself. You could choose to sail at less popular times of the year, shop around for the cheapest prices (usually by booking far in advance or by booking at the very last minute), or choose the cheapest cabin type, such as an interior.

All of these things can save you money before setting sail, leaving you with more money to spend on the amenities onboard the ship.

Saving Money Onboard the Cruise Ship

If you want to be careful with your spending aboard the ship as well, there are simple ways you can cut costs while at sea.

Stay away from the casino for start, or if you do partake, set a budget for casino games and keep any winnings separate. Do not purchase professional photographs until the end of your cruise, as you can then select your favorite ones.

If you like to drink lots of soft drinks but not alcohol, then it might be a good idea to purchase an unlimited drinks card that excludes alcoholic beverages. Some cruise lines even offer a coffee card.

Spa treatments are usually cheaper when the ship is docked in port, and on sea days there are usually sales and special offers in the retail areas.

Between meals if you get hungry, find a cafe that offers complimentary snacks, rather than eating at one of the specialty restaurants. Do not buy wine by the glass, but instead purchase a bottle that you can drink over a few dinners

Spending Limits and Overspending

If you want to set a spending limit on your cruise, the best way to do this is to put a set amount of money into your onboard account, but it doesn’t negate the chances of going into arrears as some cruise lines offer credit in the onboard account.

This can make managing money on a cruise ship can difficult. However, with wise budget decisions and careful spending, it is possible to enjoy a world-class cruise without gaining some unexpected bills.

If you accidentally spend more money than planned, you can pay the bill using a debit or credit card or transfer the money from your bank. If you find yourself in need of help, you can ask a family member or friend to send you the money using international remittances which are payments of money transferred to another party.

They can take as little as ten minutes to complete. Managing money on a cruise ship can be easier than you would think. Simply follow our tips above and you will be able to enjoy your vacation without worrying about gaining any unexpected bills.

Categories: Cruise Lifestyle

1 reply »

  1. I agree with all your money saving tips, all the add-ins can be quite costly and some cruise lines are better value than others. I think additional costs are ok depending on the itinerary e.g. I’d definitely consider a drinks package on a cruise with plenty of sea days.

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