Cruising aboard the best cruise lines can be a wonderful way to see many different cities without constantly packing and unpacking. The best cruise deals can be great bargains, especially when you take into account that a luxury cruise provides transportation, lodging, entertainment and great food for one price.
And yet, to really understand the best cruise prices you need to look beyond the quoted cruise prices and compare the total cruising costs in order to to get the best cruise deals on the best cruises.
Here are the other factors to think of when you are looking for cruise travel deals:
Trips ashore from the ship are call excursions, and they usually cost extra. So, you will want to add these costs in to your budget. If you are only cruising to different beach towns, you might just decide to go ashore yourself (which is usually free of charge) or get a taxi.
But if you are going to a tourist city with many sites to see (museums, ruins, etc.) then your excursion package may include bus travel, meal charges and admissions fees to attractions. One of those types of excursions could possibly be hundreds of dollars per person (or more). While it is certainly o.k. to pay for the value that you receive, be sure to include those charges when you are calculating your cruise budget.
Tipping on a cruise can involve a substantial amount of money. Be aware that there are some cruise lines will automatically charge a large tip on your bill for your restaurant waitstaff, cabin stewards, and others, and some cruiselines will not really make it clear that you will be charged.
On the other hand, some cruise ships permit each ship staff member who comes in contact with you to ask for a tip. But the best cruiselines are clear about their tipping policies and do not have staff sticking their hands out for tips all during the cruise. Some cruise lines, such as Holland America, will leave it up to you and only have tipping take place in envelopes on the last day of your cruise.
Cruise Ship Cabin Cost Factors.
It is a fact, outside cabins almost always costs more than inside cabins. However, one benefit of an inside cabin that many people don’t realize is that in rough seas you don’t really notice the rocking of the ship as much on the inside of the ship. Think of holding the middle of a pencil in your had and moving the pencil back and forth — the ends travel much farther up and down than the center.
Outside cabins end up moving more as that ship moves from side to side. Also, if you’re going on excursions most days (which may start around 8 a.m. and return right before dinner) and enjoying the ship’s amenities (shows, pools, nightlife, etc.), you aren’t really in your cabin that much. Therefore, an inside cabin can be a nice way to cruise on a budget.
Cruise Schedule Cost Factors.
Another cost factor involves the dates of the specific cruise schedule that you choose. You can find super deals on some of the best European cruises, like Mediterranean cruises, late in the off-season (October-November). However, be aware that the Mediterranean Sea sometimes gets a bit rough during this time. Besides price, another upside of a fall cruise schedule is that the cooler weather can be better for all of the outdoor walking that you may do on the more active excursions.
Most cruise ship musicals, plays, shows, and other live entertainment are included in the price of your cruise. But you may want to confirm this ahead of time. Other than that, cruise ship casino gambling is obviously at an extra charge to you. Also, don’t forget to figure in the high costs of cruise ship telephone connections and cruise ship internet charges that you might incur (these can be pricey) if you need to call home or check your email during the cruise.