Part 2- Hidden & Not so Hidden Expenses

You are booking a cruise, and your Travel Agent finally gives you that final price. It might look intimidating but let's break down that price and what it means:

You booked a seven-night cruise, and your final price will looks like this:

What is included in this price? 1. Unlimited food 2. Most onboard activities and Entertainment 3. Taxes 4. Basic Beverage: Water, Lemonade, ETC. 5. Ports of Call (Stops) 6. Luggage - No Fees are attached to luggage handling

Hidden Expenses you will run into:

Some cruise lines will nickel and dime you but not most. Cruise Lines are very upfront about what is included in your cost and some of the expenses you will incur.

1. Gratuities:

Gratuities are not an option you have to pay the minimum gratuities for the crew, and once you're onboard, you will want to. The first price you receive on your cruise DOES NOT include the gratuities. However, you can add them if you wish. If you choose to not pay them up front, they will be charged to your onboard account while onboard.

How much are these gratuities? The price of gratuities varies per cruise line but here are a few from the mainstream cruise lines:

Royal Caribbean: Standard cabins $14.50 per person per day Suite Guests $17.50 per person per day

Norwegian: Standard Cabins & Mini- Suites $13.99 per person per day Suite Guests- $16.99 per person per day All inclusive cruises- $18.99 per person per day

Carnival: Standard Cabins: $12.95 Suites: $13.95

Celebrity: Standard Cabins: $13.50 per person per day Aqua and Concierge Class: $14.00 per person per day Suites: $17.00 per person per day

Princess: Standard Cabins: $13.50 per person per day Mini Suites: $13.95 per person per day Suites: $15.50 per person per day

So if you are staying in a standard cabin, gratuities will add roughly $100.00 per person for a week cruise. For most cruise line this can be paid upfront or will be charged to your account at the end of your cruise.

2. Alcohol: For 95% of cruises, alcohol is NOT included. Now you will run into promotions such as Norwegians perk sale which allows you to choose up to five offers included with the price of your cruise, one of which is free unlimited alcohol. If you are not a Norwegian cruiser, then you will be paying for your alcohol. Prices for beverage packages range from $48.00 per person per day to $89.00 per person per day.

What if you decide not to buy a beverage package?

You are not required to buy a beverage package; if you decide against it, then you will simply pay for your drinks as you get them. So now comes the question is it worth it to buy a beverage package? This all depends on who you are an how much you drink on vacation.

Average drink prices onboard:

Beer: Average 6-9 per bottle Wine 9-12 per glass Martini: 12- 15 per drink Mixed Drinks: 10-12 If you drink one drink at dinner and maybe one after then do not get the drink package. If you drink all day while on vacation then you would be silly not to.

3. Onboard "Extras"

Some cruise lines such as Norwegian and Princess will charge you a certain amount per day or cruise to reserve a lounge area to guarantee you a spot in the solarium or adults only area. Yes, that's right some lines will charge you more to have a cushion lounge chair (literally that's it). How much are these guaranteed chairs?

Princess: $20 per person for a half day or $40 per person for a full day. Norwegian Cruise Line: Vibe is a small adults only area where you can rent chairs or cabanas( on some ships). Vibe is available onboard Breakaway and Breakaway Plus Ships at a rate of $25.00 per person per day with a $30.00 food and beverage credit to be used in vibe or $99.00 per person for a week with a $100 food and beverage credit to be used in Vibe.

Not So Hidden Fees

1. Specialty Dining

Food is available 24/7 and included with the price of your cruise however you do have the choice to spend more and dine in some specialty restaurants. Every cruise line is different when it comes to how many specialty restaurants are onboard with different cuisines etc. and they all vary in price. The question is, are they worth it? Yes, take it from a longtime cruiser who only wants to dine in specialty restaurants now. I have never been disappointed in a specialty restaurant onboard. This is an expense that you don't need, and if you do not want to take on the extra cost then you have more than enough included dining options to choose from!

To learn more about specialty dining onboard Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line click here to sign up for our FREE member portal where you can learn more about dining onboard!

2. Spa

This goes without saying that all spa treatments are of course extra. On some cruise lines, packages are offered for full access to the thermal suite which includes access to saunas, steam rooms and hotbeds. Prices vary per line typically you're looking at $100 per person for the length of your cruise on 7-9 day cruises.

3. Onboard Spending It goes without saying that you should budget for some onboard spending. Onboard you will find designer stores, logo stores, liquor stores, crazy $10 T-shirt sales. It's like going to a mall only it is tax-free so it is worth picking up your favorite bottle of liquor which no you cannot drink onboard but it will be stored safely until the last day.

So there we have it the hidden and not so hidden fees of taking a cruise! Even with these hidden fees cruises are still 25- 40% cheaper than on land vacations and are worth every penny!

Find out for yourself why cruises are "all the rage" and talk to one of our agents to plan your next vacation!

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