While the advertised cruise states that tipping is not allowed, don't misunderstand. You will be tipping all of your service staff, but it won't be done throughout the week. You'll be billed a per day service gratuity for each passenger on the cruise, and that bill will come at the end of the trip. The average is $10 per day. This fee applies to children as well, requiring children to give a full tip the dining room staff who may or may not have served them depending on their age. At a time, the cruise lines allowed guests to alter these amounts, but the trend is turning towards a flat fee applied to the account with little say from the traveler.
Whether it's the ride from the hotel to the ship, the airport to the ship, or from the ship to shopping in ports of call, you're on your own when it comes to transportation. While in port, you most likely will book an excursion which takes you sightseeing and shopping, but some leave you in town to shop and ask that you pay your own way back to the ship. Take some extra money for cab fares on islands as well as at the airport. Your best bet is to work with a hotel that offers transfers to and from the boat and/or airport; their rates are usually much less if at all.
If you're looking to do anything more than walk off the boat and cross the dock to visit a few shops, you'll have to purchase excursions. Some come in under $30, but most sit around $65-$150. They're once in a lifetime opportunities, and the cruise lines guarantee them to be what they advertise. However, if you want everything paid before you go, budget another $500 for excursions for the entire family and pre-book them online.
On board shopping is hard to resist. You walk past the same shops day after day, and they advertise specials in ways that even a hard core budget shopper can't resist. Jewelry, liquor, and cigarettes are all duty free, meaning there is no tax. They are also sold at nearly 60% of their normal cost. It's a great deal if you've been eying up a new watch or planned to invest in some gemstones. There are reasonably priced luxury items and jewelry on board as well, and you're fooling yourself if you think that you're not going to purchase something.
Bingo, raffles, lottos, slot machines - cruise ships have them all, and they cost. Raffle tickets can be $5 a piece, but bingo cards promising $250-$10,000 for each winner cost $20 each. It's another temptation that's hard to resist, especially if you're feeling a little lucky.
About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines and has written a history book for middle readers. Visit her website for writing help, lesson plans, history fun, or work for hire at http://www.kellybutterbaugh.com
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Cruises are not a ripoff. You just have to be aware of the extra costs. I encourage everyone to take at least one cruise in their lifetime. The food that the cruise lines serve are delicious and the best that my husband and I have even eaten. You can eat all that you want. Their chefs are trained in the best culinary schools around the world.
This is a good article, but all it is meant to do is make you aware that you will be spending on other items. No one needs to buy raffle tickets or gamble, and anything that you buy as a souvenir. luxury items or a bottle of wine -- naturally you would pay for it. I am sure if you read the literature for your cruise, you will understand that there are costs associated with going ashore. Why wouldn't there be? Some people don't go ashore, they sit on the ship and drink and gamble! A cruise is not a ripoff.
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