Best Cruise Tips to Avoid Wasting Money
You did it! You booked your first cruise vacation and now you are waiting patiently for the day to come.
The best part is you don’t have to worry about finding the best hotels, finding food, or arranging the cheapest transportation!
But before you head into the ship, you should know not everything on the cruise ship is free. Let’s look at some first time cruise tips you must know so you won’t be hit with a big bill at the end of your trip.
10 First Time Cruise Tips to Help You Avoid Wasting Money
Before getting on the cruise, you should double check with your cruise line what is covered or not covered specifically by your package. Knowing so will allow you to plan ahead and avoid last-minute purchases. Different cruise lines also have different policies, which means you should not rely on what your family or friends say.
Here are some first time cruise tips that will help you keep more money in your pocket.
1. Specialty Restaurants
Most cruise ships nowadays have pretty impressive buffet-style dining venues and even cafes that are already included in your fare. But this doesn’t mean they will stop trying to lure you into their speciality five-star restaurants, which are not included.
If you want to treat yourself at least once or twice, do so. But we wouldn’t suggest it anymore considering you already paid for food! Decide how much you’d be willing to splurge on fine dining before you get on the ship. That way, you won’t be making this decision when you’re starving.
2. Drink Packages
Unless you plan on drinking a lot of beer and cocktails, drink packages on cruise ships can be not worth it, especially since many of them already offer complimentary drinks like tap water, tea, and coffee.
You are certainly allowed to buy yourself a drink here and there, but don’t be over do it. If you buy a drink package, you’ll have to drink 5-6 alcoholic drinks a day in order to make it worth it. Don’t do that to yourself.
Expert tip: most cruise lines allow passengers to bring a bottle of wine, but double check with your cruise line to make sure.
3. Product Upsells
When you get on a cruise, they will try to entertain you with all kinds of activities like fitness classes, spa packages, cooking classes, and art auctions, which can be a lot of fun.
However, if you’re interested in these types of activities, just know that at the end of it, they’ll most likely recommend you to buy some of the products they used. Know that you do not have to buy them. Just be polite and say no.
4. Movies On Demand
We get it, movies are fun to watch during downtime. Plus, if you have kids, movies might be the only way you can catch a break sometimes.
If you plan on watching movies, know that some cruises normally charge around $10 or more per movie.
A better idea is to download movies onto your laptop at home before you get on the ship. Just remember not to stay in your room for too long because you definitely did not spend thousands of dollars to watch movies on a cruise!
5. Shore Excursions
Your cruise line will offer you excursions to tour the ports you visit. While they may be convenient, cruise lines charge a higher rate than while making reservations for shore excursions yourself.
You can also wait until you get on shore and book them directly with the local operators there. They will be waiting for you and cost a fraction less. Plus, you can be sure all of your money is going to support local businesses.
6. Phone Data Roaming Charges
One of the important first time cruise tips is to not use your cell phone if your phone plan doesn’t include international data roaming!
We’ve heard too many horror stories of passengers being charged hundreds of dollars by their phone companies because they forgot or didn’t realize they incurring international charges.
If you must make calls or use the internet, you can buy a cheap global data plan with your cellphone carrier before leaving or a wifi plan on board and make calls using apps like Whatsapp or Skype.
7. ATM Fees
Most cruises now have their passengers pay for everything on board with their keys or sailing cards. But should you run into any credit card problems or you end up at cash-only places at the ports, you should have some cash on you.
There will be ATMs on the cruise ship and the places you visit, but be aware that you’ll be charged ATM fees. Bringing enough cash with you is an easy way to avoid this fee.
If you want to avoid wasting money completely, don’t go to the casinos!
But if you must, you should know payouts on cruise ships are not in your favor. Cruise ships have the lowest payout compared to all other casinos and they do this on purpose because they know you can’t just walk over to another one.
If you’re thinking you’ll just go in for one game, chances are you probably won’t stop at one. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money on something else?
Cruise ships have shopping centers. But without a doubt, they charge more for their products just for bringing them to you in the middle of the sea.
You might find yourself in one of these shops when you’re wandering around or if you forgot something at home. While you’re in there, you might be tempted to buy something else.
But before you do, we recommend you to ask yourself, “Can I buy this when I get home?” If yes, do so because chances are it’ll be way cheaper.
Most cruise ships nowadays automatically add gratuity onto your bill at the end of your trip. This can cost you an extra $12-$20 per day, per person, and sometimes they are for things like “included” drinks.
They won’t tell you this up front, but we want you to know so you won’t be shocked. In addition, when signing your bills, make sure you check if gratuity was already added. Otherwise, you’ll end up double tipping.
After reading all of this, you might be a little nervous about going on a cruise, but don’t be! Cruise ships are a lot of fun and are an experience of a lifetime. Our first time cruise tips are only here to make sure you know what to expect so you won’t be caught off guard.
If you would like even more helpful tips to help you plan the perfect sea excursion, be sure to visit our blog for more suggestions!