Cruising on budget for first-time cruisers - The Smiling Heart

Cruising on budget for first-time cruisers

You might already know this by now – a cruise package already includes accommodation plus all your food and entertainment, but perhaps what you don’t know as a first-timer are the “on-board extras”, which can add considerable cost to your overall trip.

The cruise ship’s revenue also depends on their luxurious drinks, spa facilities, “specialty” meals and unique activities, so there are a plethora of ways in which cruise companies can make you part with your cash. In any case, being a budget-conscious cruiser doesn’t need to be a matter of insistent saving and scrimping. Here are a couple of ways you can be vigilant on your budget while still having a great cruise.

How to tip. Some luxury cruises don’t encourage tipping, but for others, you are expected to tip your waiter and cabin steward. And rightly so, these crew members work hard for low wages, so your tips are vital to their livelihood. Tipping between $10 and $15 per day is recommended, for cabin steward, $3 -$5, and $5-$7 for waiters.

Airport transfers. A round-trip airport transfer cost purchased through your chosen cruise line is often around $40 per person. A better and often quicker way to get to and from the ship is through local taxis. The fare is typically around $20, plus the cab will take up to four people.

Bar bill. Bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks can add up very quickly. Refreshments are rarely included in the cruise fare, except for luxury cruises, so think ahead. Check if your ship offers a beverage package, a deal that offers unlimited sodas for around $50. Cruise lines desire that you purchase alcoholic drinks from them, but you can absolutely bring your own aboard to be served to you at dinner, but you’ll be charged a corkage fee, generally around $10 per bottle.

Gambling. Shipboard casinos are awesome past times if you do it responsibly. However, it’s still an avenue where money is lost at sea. If you want to roll the dice, consider setting a limit on how much you can risk, then stop as soon as you lose it.

Photo opportunities. This usually begins before you even get on the ship, with a mandatory pose by the ship. Photographers are everywhere on a cruise — on the pool deck, in the dining room, in the showroom. You’ll feel like you are a celebrity. However, you don’t have to have your picture taken and you don’t need to buy any photo taken of you. Prices range from $15 to $30 for each photo, so you can save a lot of money by bringing your own camera.

Spa services. Pampering is undeniably a part of every cruise vacation, but visiting the ship’s spa can be expensive. A massage can range from $90 to $190 per hour, plus the tip. You can save money on spa treatments by choosing spa specials, which are typically offered when the ship is in port.

Shore excursions. Shore excursions can be very expensive, particularly in destinations like Europe, Alaska and Hawaii. In many cases, it’s easy to just choose your own excursions to save money. Check the port’s official tourism site for updated information about tour operators and their pricing.

The bottom line

Now that you know the ways to keep your budget afloat while on a cruise, your next big consideration is to secure a cruise travel insurance from Chubb Au before your expected travel date to ensure a smoother trip and protect yourself from the most common travel mishaps.

That’s it! Have a blast on your first cruise trip!