I consider myself an educated traveller. We research before we travel and we compare prices and we try always to get the best deal for our family budget. I read reviews and I read blogs and I ask friends about their travel experiences before I book. Sometimes I find the best possible travel deal and then I take that to an agent to have her double check I am not missing anything and I always use travel rewards cards to generate the reward points on these big purchases. I pay off the cards immediately and keep the rewards and that makes me happy. Cruising can be affordable and it is jam packed fun for the entire family. In fact I would definitely take another cruise next year. But, there are a few things you should really know about before you go. There are a few cruise hidden extras that you might not factor into the budget if you didn’t know about them. So, here are my Six Cruise Hidden Extras that are manageable if you remember to budget for them ahead of time.
Six Cruise Hidden Extras:
1. Tips – the gratuity is added into the final bill so be warned. For a family of four like ours that added $80 a day. So it’s up to you of course if you tip over and above that, but frankly remember that at the end of your stay you will receive a bill with the additional gratuities on it. Be prepared. This will be your biggest of the cruise hidden extras that you might not know about.
2. Excursions: Of course the extra sight seeing trips and adventures in ports of call are part of what makes this style of family travel so memorable. BUT, remember that you can’t possibly do everything if you are on a budget. We did a cruise recently over the Christmas holiday and we added two big excursions to the time there. Our kids love to explore and they were involved in the choosing. We did a Grand Cayman snorkel, swim, explore the city by bus and visit a turtle hatchery which was amazing and the grand total on that day was about $300 at most for all four of us. (children under a certain age are less expensive than adults on these excursions.) Belize was a snorkel the reef, have lunch and swim with stingrays and nurse sharks adventure which was worth every penny. That one was our most expensive adventure ringing in around $400 that day. Again, it was completely worth it because it was an amazing adventure we all did together. The kids snorkelled the reef off the coast of Belize and we all saw stingrays, sharks, tropical fish, dolphins, sea turtles, and sea urchins as well as poisonous coral! Stunning! Budget some extra for these and then stay within your budget. You can always come back and do another cruise another year with your family.
3. Extra beverages: Alcohol is extra on a lot of cruises. Plan to spend a bit more there to celebrate your vacation. Also virgin pina coladas and such are extra. But the kids need to celebrate too so let them have a speciality drink once in awhile and then watch carefully to be sure the bartender doesn’t accidentally get your drinks mixed up.
4. Late night after hours kid’s club. The kid’s club is included with your cruise most of the time. It was included on ours. I paid an extra $10 on New Year’s Eve so that my younger daughter could hang out in kid’s club with friends, watch a movie, make crafts and stay up until 12:30 a.m. That money was well worth it. It was the only meal my husband and I got without children.
5. Extra events like a Dr. Seuss breakfast might cost a wee bit more. The Dr. Seuss breakfast was $5 each person. There was also a parade, but that part was free. Also the extra restaurants aboard will sometimes cost more money. If we had booked a dinner at David’s Steakhouse then we would have paid extra for that.
6. The cruise photographer. There will be a professional photographer popping up at random moments to shoot candid shots of you, and/or your children. You will likely tell yourself I won’t pay extra for photos, but when you see a gorgeous shot of your two kids together at dinner all dressed up and clean on New Year’s Eve, you will fork out the extra $14 for a 5 by 7 photo so that you can frame it and always remember the beautiful time you had on your cruise when they were young.
If you plan ahead, your cruise can be affordable and you can also avoid feeling blindsided or surprised by cruise hidden extras. For more information about cruising, and why we loved our first family cruise, or what you need to know about family cruises you can read any of the posts I have recently shared here.
This post is also part of my Travel Tuesday link!! So share your travel posts and I will comment on each. This is a perpetual link and your link remains here for months!! Happy Travels!