At first glace, the price of a cruise holiday sounds incredibly cheap compared to staying at a land-based resort. Having every desire satisfied while cruising on an enormous ocean-going pleasure palace is an appealing prospect for people contemplating a cruise vacation. The price and duration of cruises are structured to satisfy any holiday budget, with the opportunity to pre-pay for many onboard facilities and extras.
In all the excitement of an upcoming cruise, the budget could quickly blow out, so most passengers combine the full spectrum of free onboard deals with the occasional splurge on pampering, dining upgrades or port stopovers. Some cruises, especially those that attract a wealthy clientele, can boast ‘almost’ all-inclusive fares, but there are always additional temptations that come at a cost.
Savings on a cruise
Although not often all-inclusive, cruise vacations are self-contained, with entertainment, accommodation and meals all included in the price. Upgrades and extras are available all over the vessel, but the basics are covered in style for the majority of passengers. Plus, you won’t need a car, additional flights, or holiday down-time wasted between transit points. Cruising literally means you can relax and enjoy the ride for every second of the vacation.
Free activities and entertainments
Traditionally, your fare will include accommodation, meals in select eateries, some non-alcoholic beverages, kids programs, pool use and stops at attractive destinations. Newer ships in the cruise industry also provide free water parks, ropes courses, rock climbing and other activities.
Entertainments are also free, including Vegas-style shows, Broadway musicals, magic acts and comedians. Every cruise line strives to provide original activities for audience participation and appreciation. Most bars and onboard nightclubs are also free to enter, and it doesn’t cost anything to dance the night away.
Keeping costs down
Regardless of all the free stuff available, some passengers like to upgrade their ticket to include things like alcoholic beverages, shore excursions and increased dining options. However, despite the many choices available, an enduring feature of cruise ships is the camaraderie between passengers from all walks of life. Much of the space on cruise vessels is dedicated to shared facilities and open areas for everyone to gather whenever they like. Social barriers are loosened on a cruise, as holidaymakers enjoy a shared journey of discovery and entertainment.
Ultimately, cruise value for money will be determined by your budget, plus the spending habits of your tour group or family. If everyone is informed about associated costs, additional expenses can be kept to a minimum. A discount cruise fare can soon become a financial liability, for example, if at-sea mobile phone and internet use isn’t properly understood.
Depending on your port stopover, you might prefer a self guided walk around town instead of an official tour. This will save money and provide the opportunity for interaction with the locals. Cruise ship staff can be a wealth of knowledge about everything from must-see attractions to bargain priced internet cafes.
Pay only for what you want
When planning a holiday, the price is one of the first things to consider. Cruising remains great value in the vacation-style marketplace, as evidenced by the millions of people who cruise every year. Profit margins are slim for cruise companies, and they do all they can to keep prices at a minimum while maintaining maximum customer satisfaction.
All inclusive cruising options are available, but not always required. There are limits to how much we can eat, drink and party even on a cruise ship, and paying for occasional extras could be the cheaper option. The average cruiser factors in another 50% above the ticket price to cover all additional expenses, which still makes cruising incredibly good value for