Several clients have recently asked me how cruises are priced. To start, when I provide a quote for a cruise, I will provide you the price that includes the base price of the cruise, the port charges and taxes. This price is the base of what you pay to secure a cruise. I will also provide you with the price to obtain travel protection for your cruise should you decide to purchase insurance. Here I will breakdown what is typically included and added to a base cruise price.
Base Costs :
- Cruise fare – This is your base cruise price and typically the price that a cruise line will advertise. One thing to note, most cruise advertisements display the “starting at” price which is typically the cheapest room they have on the ship (inside cabin).
- Port charges and taxes – When you purchase your cruise, you will pay both the cruise fare and the port charges and fees. These fees vary based on the ports you visit and the price of the cruise.
- Gratuities – Gratuities are typically charged at the end of your cruise. The amount of your gratuities varies depending on the cruise line and length. You can choose to pre-pay your gratuities ahead of your cruise so that you don’t have to worry about it on your vacation. If you would like to do this just let me know.
- Dining – It is very true! The food is amazing in flavor and amount. You will have all of your meals taken care of, typically in various different restaurants. Everything from full service dinners to buffet lunches will be available almost 24 hours a day. Don’t eat too much.
- Fitness Center – If you are one of those people who exercises on vacation, there is typically a full fitness center on board available to guests. Additionally, there are pools and hot tubs for your enjoyment.
- Entertainment – Competing with the food for the best benefit of cruising is the entertainment. From broadway style shows and comedy shows to basketball and shuffle board, there are games and shows galore. You will have to choose wisely. Thanks to the Cruise Director, there is no way to enjoy everything, even if you don’t sleep.
- Kids clubs – Most contemporary cruise lines have some sort of kids program from Royal Caribbean’s DreamWorks partnership to Norwegian’s Splash Academy, children are provided with age appropriate programming throughout the cruise, giving the big kids some time to themselves. Of course the cruise line that takes kids clubs to the extreme is non other than Disney!
- Stateroom – Of course it is assumed, you do also get a room. No matter what category you have, your room is cared for at least twice a day. You will want the staff to come home with you to make up your bed in the morning and turn down your bed at night – with chocolates and funny towel animals.
Optional Items : Below are some of the optional items that you can choose to add to your cruise vacation. Many of these items can both be purchased before or during your cruise, but if you have On Board Credit (see post on On Board Credit for more information), you will want to wait until you are on board. It is important to note that many of these items are included in the cruise price of some luxury cruise lines.
- Dining – You can take a cruise and never pay any additional for dining. You will be fed, typically more than you can eat, throughout the day. However, if you have a special occasion or would like to add to your cruise experience, you can choose to add specialty dining.
- Shore Excursions – Again you can hang out of the ship and walk around the port without paying for shore excursions. More often than not, cruisers choose to take at least one shore excursion during their cruise.
- Beverages – most cruises provide water and tea with your meals. If you would like other beverages like soda or wine, you can either pay each time you want a beverage, or if you want to have unlimited beverages you can purchase a beverage package.
- Internet – In this day and age, many people like to post, tweet, snap, email – you know want I am talking about. Internet becomes very important, if you plan to share while you are away. Most cruise lines offer a cyber cafe with a couple of computers, but to have the freedom to share at anytime will require an internet package.
- Spa treatments – You are already on vacation, going to the spa is just the icing on the cake. Everything from massages to facials and anything in between are available at the ships spa. If you are not interested in shore excursions, there are often times discounts and a lot of availability while the ship is docked.
With so much to see and do, you will be able to tailor your vacation for your needs at every turn. As your Vacation Specialist, you can just tell me what you enjoy and I can help point you in the right direction.