When you cruise, your fare includes everything you really need: your stateroom, dining, entertainment, and the use of many shipboard amenities. In addition, most cruise lines offer additional amenities – at a price. Which of these extras will add to your cruise enjoyment? Here are some to consider.
On a cruise ship, tap water, coffee and tea are usually gratis, but a bottle of water or glass of fountain soda can be $2 or more. A glass of wine starts at about $7. Most cruise lines offer pre-paid beverage packages that include some combination of bottled water, soda, juice, wine, and spirits at a reduced cost versus what you would spend buying one drink at a time. Give them a careful look.
When your ship is in port, your cruise line will offer a variety of fun excursions on shore. Unless you’ve been to the destination before and know what you’d like to do, it’s probably best to choose and pay for an excursion in each port. You’ll have the security of knowing that the excursion is provided by a trusted operator and that it will get you back to the ship on time.
Cruise ship food is delicious and you can eat well at standard shipboard dining venues like the main dining room and the lido deck buffet. But for a special experience, look at your ship’s specialty or alternative restaurants. There are surcharges, typically from $10 to $50 per person, which is most often worthwhile payment for high-quality, gourmet cuisine served in sophisticated surroundings. Specialty restaurants require reservations, which tend to go quickly, so make yours as soon as you can.
Some cruise passengers want a few minutes of Wi-Fi access each day to post photos on their social media pages while others need more access to keep up with work, school or friends and relatives. Many cruise lines now offer cruise-long Internet packages that provide a much better value than buying an hour of access at a time.
Finally, note that the fare for a cruise on a luxury line will include some or all of these extras, making a luxury cruise a better value than you might think. Ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, to help you compare mainstream cruises (plus extras) and luxury cruises.
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