How to budget for a cruise. Tips, tricks and advice
Add-on items can make a significant difference to the total cost of your cruise and you need to spend time carefully budgeting the real cost of your vacation. CruiseMarketWatch.com who report cruise statistics, estimate that typically passengers spend half their fare again in on-board expenditures. Because of this, I recommend you track expenditure during the trip frequently either by asking reception for a print-out of your on-board bill or reviewing it on the in-room television.
There are three areas to focus on when budgeting for your cruise:
1: Inclusions and exclusions in your fare
Make sure you understand exactly what your fare covers. I recommend you check the following as a minimum:
- Cost of getting to and from the ship such as flights and transfers.
- Gratuities. These could add $5 to $20 per day, per person. Only ultra-luxury lines usually include them in the fare while the others will either add them to your on-board account at a level they set, or expect you to pay them in cash to crew members like the waiting staff and cabin attendants. They are usually added onto all bar and drinks bills.
2: Costs before your cruise
These include items like travel insurance, visas, inoculations,
3: Costs while on board
The major items to budget for include:
- Excursions. These could add between $50 and $150 per person. Even if you do not go on tours you need to allow for the costs of taxis, entrance fees and meals off the ship while touring ports. You may also need to pay to use the shuttle buses into town.
- Additional gratuities for outstanding service and tour guides.
- Drinks, including soft drinks, alcohol, and teas/coffees.
- Specialty dining charges: While your cruise fare will include meals in at least one venue, cruise lines have added specialty restaurants and charge a fee to dine there. Charges can range from a modest $5 to a more substantial $75 per person.
- Photographs: Every time you board or go to an event, and even at some meals, you will have your photograph taken. They can cost $15 or more each if you decide to purchase them.
- Internet access: Access to Wi-Fi will cost anywhere from $0.25 to $1 per minute. Most cruise lines will sell discounted packages of Internet access.
- Telephone calls: Including mobile phone roaming and usage charges.
- Spa: Treatments can cost from $80 and up per session.
- Fitness classes: Many of the larger cruise ships run Zumba, yoga, and exercise classes at an additional cost. This could cost around $50 for a seven-day cruise.
- Gambling and gaming costs: You may want to play in the casino, bingo or go on the 3-D simulator rides.
- Laundry and dry cleaning: Costs will be comparable to those on land. Most cruise lines offer free self-laundry and ironing rooms.
- Shopping: Including art auctions, jewellery, tax-free items and souvenirs.
- Workshops and classes.
Do you have any other tips and tricks on budgeting?