Be sure to watch our companion video: What's included in my cruise here: https://youtu.be/ELqUtATRmxQ
If you’re new to cruising, you’re probably wondering how and what to budget for on your vacation. Most mass market cruise lines like Princess, Carnival, Holland America, Disney, Royal Caribbean and NCL operate similarly with regard to these trends, but we urge you to do your research and read your cruise contract carefully. With that said, here’s what you can expect to pay for you on your vacation, in addition to your cruise fare.
Gratuities. Most mass market cruise lines charge a daily per-person gratuity to your stateroom account that goes toward your room steward, and dining room staff. These usually range from $12 to $14 per day, per person- more if you’re in a suite. You’ll also pay a gratuity for every drink you purchase. If you buy a per day all you can drink package, you’ll pay gratuity on that too.
You can also expect to pay for Beverages other than water, coffee, iced tea and lemonade. Expect to pay for Alcoholic beverages, specialty coffees, and soda. Most cruise lines are offering beverage packages these days though, so do some research and see if the “all you can drink” concept makes financial sense for your cruise.
Specialty restaurants are now available on most popular cruiselines. While you CAN eat for free the entire cruise in the main dining room and buffet areas, you’ll likely have the option to splurge on an up-charge type restaurant onboard. Choices range from steakhouses to fancy fusion restaurants and surcharges generally run from $10-35 per person, per meal.
Spa treatments on cruise ships tend to be very popular and offer many of the same services you could find at home, or on a resort vacation. Check out our spa video for more info on the types of services you can expect to pay for. In addition to traditional treatments, you can expect to find therapy pools, saunas, steam rooms and even acupuncture on board the newest ships.
Cruise lines are now offering special services for a fee in their fitness centers as well. In some cases, You might expect to pay for things like pilates, yoga, bootcamps, personal training, and spin classes and you’ll be required to sign up in advance. This varies a LOT across the lines, and DON’T fret, there are usually tons of free options as well. On my last cruise, I enjoyed the cardio and weight rooms, Zumba classes.
While most activites and entertainment on your cruise will likely be included, we’re seeing a trend with cruiselines to offer upcharge entertainment for premium entertainment and activities. For example, you might pay extra to use the Flowrider surf simulator or pay a little more for a dinner theatre or Vegas style show.
Activities like Shore Excursions will cost you extra too. If you didn’t book online in advance of your cruise, your ship will have a special desk where you can browse activities for each port. On popular cruises, you’ll have hundreds of choices, ranging from historical city tours, to high adventure activities like scuba diving, dogsledding, and zip lining. To save money, you can generally book shore trips and activities independent of the cruise line, so do your research!
There are generally lots of ways to spend money on a cruise and we didn’t mention them all…there are tons more to mention…. From wine tasting, skydiving, shopping in the gift shops and playing bingo, to buying art and hanging out in the casino and even paying to do laundry. We could go on for hours about how to spend your money on a cruise! Be sure to watch our episode on what IS included in your cruise, and leave your questions and comments below! We love to hear from you.