Cruise travel is a fantastic way to explore the world and you may find yourself a cruise enthusiast after your first taste of the luxury. But there are a few details that don’t show up in the brochures that most first-timers on a cruise travel deal have to learn the hard way. Here is a list of those dirty little secrets that you need to know to make sure that you enjoy your cruise and don’t overspend your budget.
You Get What You Pay For
1) Yes, it’s trite, but in the case of cruise travel deals it is especially true. One sneaky way to get people onboard is to offer low-priced come-on fares that seem too good to be true. Well, often that is the case. Generally speaking, fares that are higher tend to include more. The flip side is that the so-called cruise travel deals may offer a low price fare, but then nickel and dime you to death so that you haven’t saved anything at all.
2) Hidden costs and onboard charges are where the cruise lines make a big chunk of their revenue, so travelers must be aware of what is included and what is not. Below are some examples of the “ala carte” payment system common to many cruise travel deals:
3) Anything you buy onboard will be at least 25% more expensive than you would expect to pay on land. A $6 bottle of suntan lotion will likely run $10 or even more. So whether it’s impulse buying in the gift shop or grabbing items that your husband forgot to pack, expect it to be overpriced. You are a captive audience and can’t go down the street to another store if prices are too high. The list of items in this category is long but things like alcohol, lattes, hair cuts, sodas, dry cleaning, toothpaste, suntan lotion, swimsuits, etc are on the short list.
In addition, every cruise makes it very easy for you to spend via charges to your room tab. There isn’t the emotional moment of pain when you ask yourself, “do I really need this?” like you might if you had to pull out your credit card first.
4) Also expect a few cleverly hidden charges before you ever get onboard the cruise ship. Unexpected fees that were not clearly spelled out in the advertised cruise travel deals can include port taxes, fuel surcharges, and mandatory tips.
5) In addition, the cruise line or vendor will try to sell you on package airfare, airport transfers, and “luggage service” that can be had at a better price elsewhere. At this point your $400 cruise travel deal is starting to approach $1500 and you haven’t even left home yet.
6) The heavily advertised cruise travel deals are often for the least desirable accommodations onboard. Expect rooms near the noisy engine, inside with no windows, at either end of boat where it gets rough, and even below sea level. Check before you book, so you at least know what you’re getting. It doesn’t hurt to inquire about what a more desirable room would cost – you may be pleasantly surprised.
Take an hour and do a little research before you book your next cruise travel deal. You will not regret that small time investment. Make sure you know exactly what is included, what will cost extra, and when and how each cost is assessed. It’s a lot easier to save in advance than it is to try to pay off an unexpected $2000 credit card bill after your trip for the cruise travel deals you saw advertised at just $349 per person. Or was that a cruise travel “steal”?