"" Writer's Wanderings: How Not To Overspend On A Cruise

Thursday, March 29, 2018

How Not To Overspend On A Cruise

It can be overwhelming. The moment you step on board your ship you are faced with all sorts of options for dining, drinking, relaxing and being entertained and many of them are at an extra cost. If you want to throw caution to the wind and not be bothered with worrying about what you are spending, just sign up for all of it. Understand though that when that last night of the cruise comes around, the bill may be overwhelming.

A better plan is to decide ahead of time what things you truly want to take advantage of and what you can pass up without feeling deprived. For those who indulge in wines and bar drinks, a package deal may be good but if you are not one who is going to drink that much or want to keep a rein on what you are imbibing, you may want to pay as you go. The same goes for soft drink packages. There is no way the two of us could ever drink enough Diet Coke to use up the package cost. We have however enjoyed a couple of specialty coffee packages on some of our cruises. Know yourself, your habits and your limits.

While specialty restaurants are fun and often a nice evening out and away from the main dining area, they can get pricey. There have been times though we have found that the main dining room food has been as good or sometimes better than the specialty restaurant. Note that many of the specialty restaurants are turning to ala carte charges or charging extra for the more expensive items like lobster or premium steak in addition to the service charge.

And then there's the spa. Not only will you pay for the massage, mani-pedi, facial, etc., but you can be sure that you will be coaxed into buying those products that will continue to make your body feel so much better and skin look so much younger. Be strong--unless you really think you need it and you can afford to include it in your cruise bill.

Beware the automatic gratuity. We are so used to tacking on a tip for services on land that sometimes we forget that there are automatic gratuities added to your bar bills and spa bills on board. I got a manicure once before I wised up and didn't pay attention to the bill I was signing. When I saw the tip line, I automatically filled in a 15% gratuity. Later I realized that they had already added an 18% gratuity on the bill so I had tipped on the whole thing! No wonder that little girl was so friendly every time I saw her around the ship.

It also goes without saying that the retail and casino area of the ship can be dangerous for those with a penchant for shopping or gambling. No one really wants to worry about budgets on vacation but then no one wants to live with regret and have to pass up the next cruise because you overspent on the first one.

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