When you consider all the things that are included on a cruise holiday, plus the convenience of being able to visit multiple destinations and only unpack once, it’s easy to see the value for money. However, not everything is automatically included in your cruise fare. Here are some great extras that you might want to budget for, along with some great ways to save money on them.
Tips are one of the things that you can easily forget about when you book a cruise, leaving you with a shocked expression on your face when you receive you final bill. To ensure your holiday isn’t ruined by this last-minute surprise, put the money to one side every day or save it in one go right at the start of your trip.
Alternatively, you can opt to sail with a luxury cruise line like Regent Seven Seas where gratuities are already included, or look out for special offers where tips are waived. Each cruise line will have their own recommended amount for tips, typically around $10pp per day. And remember, this is always at your own discretion. So, if you feel you haven’t received the services you expected, speak to the staff when you pay you final bill.
It’s all very well visiting some of the most amazing destinations in the world, but unless you book some shore excursions you may not experience the best bits. You can remove the worry of budgeting for shore excursions on board by booking and paying for them before you leave, something we always recommend for the most popular tours. Some cruise lines, such as Oceania Cruises, will even offer shore excursions for a better price when you book in advance and buy a package.
Conversely, you can sail with a cruise line that includes some shore excursions in their fares. For example, Viking Ocean Cruises offers one free activity in each port. These are usually walking tours of the destination, but they will leave you time to explore on your own afterwards and are a great way to get a quick feel for a city.
Another way to save money on shore excursions is to book them using any onboard spending money you may have been given as part of a promotion. However, you have to wait until you are on board to book them and it could mean you miss out on the most popular options.
Lastly, you can always choose to do your own thing. You may be able to find an activity cheaper from a private operator in port. However, if you choose to do this, it’s important to remember that the ship will not wait if you are delayed for any reason. If you just want to discover your latest destination on foot, take advantage of the free shuttles into the city centre that many cruise lines provide.
All cruise lines will include at least one dining option in your standard cruise fare, but usually there are two or three choices. If you fancy a change, though, or something slightly more extravagant, there will also be speciality dining venues on offer for a surcharge. This can be anything from $5pp to $100pp, but you will get the chance to enjoy some exquisite food.
As before, some luxury cruise lines will include these speciality options in their cruise fare. Silversea Cruises is one such company that does this, only charging a small reservation fee for certain restaurants aboard Silver Spirit. With other companies, you will have the chance to purchase speciality dining packages before you sail, which could save you a great deal if you plan on using them regularly.
Other ways to save include choosing accommodation that offers free dining in particular restaurants (Grand Suite members or above have access to Coastal Kitchen on board certain Royal Caribbean ships), or using any onboard credit you have to pay for a gastronomic experience you won’t forget. Finally, if you really want to dine in a restaurant but the cover charge is above your budget, consider eating there for lunch when prices are typically lower than in the evening.
If you are looking to pamper yourself during your cruise, it’s a good idea to budget for a spa treatment or two. A great way to treat yourself and a popular thing to do during a sea day, spa treatments are not usually included in your standard cruise fare. Again, some luxury cruise lines will offer a free treatment as part of their all-inclusive, but most of the time there will be an extra charge.
Spa treatments are an ideal thing on which to spend your onboard credit, if you have accrued any as part of a promotion. Another way to save on these soothing therapies is to look out for staterooms and suites which include free spa access and treatments. Azamara Club Cruises’ Spa Suites even offer spa music, upgraded toiletries and a glass-enclosed bath, so you may not even need to use the ship’s spa to reach ultimate levels of relaxation.
One last thing that you need to budget for is travel insurance. ATOL protection, which Fred.\ Cruises offers, is one thing but it does not extend to certain things that travel insurance will cover. If you lose any luggage, are unable to travel due to illness or have any of your belongings stolen whilst you are away, good travel insurance will mean you don’t lose out. In addition, be sure to tick the box that says ‘cruise’ when carrying out your quote. This will add additional cover for any itinerary changes that may happen and will provide compensation if you end up confined to your cabin due to illness.
We hope this will help you budget for, and save money on, the extra things that turn a good cruise holiday into a great one. For more advice on cruising or to book your next trip, call our team on 0808 115 5810.