If you are looking to book your first cruise, all the information available can seem overwhelming; so many ships with so many itineraries. One of the most important considerations when booking a cruise is figuring out the true cost of the trip—this goes for any other type of vacation as well. When it comes to a cruise, you have to take many factors into consideration when determining the affordability and what you are getting for your money. Here are some of those factors.
The base cost of your cruise covers accommodation, most meals and snacks, entertainment and most activities. You will also need to pay port taxes and fees. They are imposed by the governments of the various ports where the ship docks and cover the costs of using the dock space, and often times, helping to maintain the infrastructure.
When reading a cruise ad, the advertised price is usually for the lowest-grade accommodation unless it specifically states otherwise. This is usually a small room without a window—if you can afford a nicer room, upgrade. Even though you probably will not be spending a lot of time here, you may want a space with some natural light. Waking up in the pitch black and relying on artificial lighting even during the day can be a bit depressing—that was my experience anyway.Laws now require taxes to be included in advertised prices, of if they are separate, clearly visible.
Overall cruises can be a great value—the base cost covers a lot. But, there will be plenty of things the average package will not cover and these things can add up. For the most part, alcohol will not be included and you can expect a 15 percent gratuity charge on top of the cost of the drink—other types of drinks may also cost extra. Many ships have alternative dining options and eating there can be quite pricy. Off-shore excursions are also another cost considerations—if you book trips with the cruise line, expect to pay inflated prices above what a local operator would charge. If you love the spa, expect to pay at least 100 dollars for the most basic treatments. So whether you are hoping to go the cruise route for cheap Caribbean vacations or a more luxurious journey to a more far-flung destination, it is important to have a clear understanding of what will be included and what you have to pay for yourself.
Tipping is another consideration. At the end of your stay, gratuity is expected for the people who served you during your trip, such as your wait staff. The recommended amount varies by line, but most suggest between 10 and 12 dollars per person per day. Tips are meant to round out staff salaries, so unless you received exceptionally poor service, it is recommended that you tip the amounts suggested by the line.