Free vs Fee Tipping – What Are You Paying for in Cruise [2018]

The price of a cruise is not a one-time fee to cover all your expenses during your vacation. It does cover the major expenses such as meals and accommodation, but there are other expenses that you have to pay yourself. This article, Free vs Fee – What are you paying for in Cruise, will provide the insights on your cruise vacation.  Before getting on your cruise, you need to set aside some cash to cover the extra expenditures so you can enjoy the full cruise experience. If you are planning a cruise vacation for you and your loved one and you are wondering about the cruise pricing for 2, you need to understand that cruise prices are more like plane tickets than a hotel room. Rather than calculating the cost per cabin, they calculate the price per person.

Here is a breakdown of the items that are “free” and those you must pay while on your cruise.

Food and drinks

Most cruise ships will offer free dining for all passengers. Your cruise fare covers major meals; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Passengers will get their meals served in the main dining room or the buffet venue. However, for upscale or specialty restaurants, you will have to pay extra. The extra fee can either be a flat rate or per item ordered. When it comes to drinks, different cruise lines have different policies regarding beverages. Taking the Carnival as an example, non-carbonated beverages are free during meal times, but after meal time you have to pay. Alcoholic beverages and soda are also not free on most cruises.

Gratuities or tipping

Tipping policies vary from one cruise line to the other. Most of them will charge a fixed amount per person per day. The amount is then divided equally among the crew members that offer key services. Management also charges a 15% gratuity for bar tabs and spa services. When calculating the cruise prices for a couple on the Royal Caribbean, remember to include some extra cash for tips.

Shore excursions

Shore excursions should be many parts of your cruise experience as enjoying the different onboard amenities. Half the fun of going on a cruise is getting to explore new and exciting places. When enhancing port visits for passengers, most cruise lines will organize shore excursions with a trained tour guide at a fee. You can opt for ship-sponsored tours or arranges independent shore excursions. If you are looking to save some money, you should probably book shore excursions on your own.

Onboard activities

Most onboard activities such as live performances, lectures, and production shows are free, but there are some you must pay. An example is fitness classes such as yoga, Pilates, and spinning for which you incur an extra fee.

Going on a cruise is an experience like no other. However, if you want to make the most out of it, you need to carry some cash with you to pay for the extras. As you have seen, when calculating how much a 7-day cruise is, do not stick to the cruise price but rather account for the extra charges.



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