The good news about cruising is that tickets have been getting less expensive as cruise lines fight to stay competitive in the industry. The bad news, though, is that those cruise lines have been coming up with creative extras to get passengers to part with more money once they are onboard. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to a few extras on your next vacation, but try to avoid the following five things if you don’t want to end up paying double your original ticket price by the end of the trip.
Many cruise lines have on-board casinos that are strategically positioned so that you have to walk by them—or even through them—on a regular basis. While spending time in one of the casinos might seem like a good way to kill some time on a leisurely afternoon at sea, these casinos are not any more generous than on-land casinos with their payouts. Anecdotes on some cruise forums suggest that cruise casinos may pay out at an even lower rate than their Vegas or Atlantic City counterparts.
Much like airport retailers, cruise retailers have the benefit of a captive audience. While the ship is at sea, there’s nowhere else you can shop, and when you have lots of free time on your hands, you are more likely to be tempted to browse the cruise shops and pay for overpriced items. Instead of falling into this trap, look for on-board activities that are already included in the price of your ticket.
Forgetting to Pack the Basics
Although you certainly do not want to overpack and lug around a heavy suitcase on your trip, you also need to make sure you are packing all the basics (so that you don’t end up having to pay a marked-up price on the ship). Make sure that you bring things like extra batteries for electronics, any power cords and adapters you may need, aspirin or another remedy if you are worried about seasickness, your swimsuit, and at least one somewhat formal outfit in case the cruise has a fancy dinner night. And do not forget the sunscreen—even if you are cruising somewhere in the northern hemisphere, like Alaska, you can still get burned.
Overdoing it with Expensive Drinks
Many passengers want to relax and enjoy a few drinks on their cruise, but the per-drink cost on cruises is high, and most cruises are very strict about passengers bringing their own beverages (you might be allowed to bring one bottle of wine but have to pay a corkage fee, for example). It is possible to get all-you-can-drink packages on some cruises, but this may not be a good deal unless you drink a lot—and if you drink a lot you are putting yourself at a greater risk for injuries and hangovers.
Cruise Line Shore Excursions
In fairness, there are several good reasons why you might want to go on a shore excursion put on by the cruise line. You might feel uncomfortable traveling in a port city on your own, or one of the shore excursion options might sound like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you. However, there are several issues with these shore excursions—they are often more expensive than excursions that you can book from on-shore vendors, you probably will not get a refund if the cruise has to miss that port or cancel the activity for any reason, and the cruise line often uses the excursion to promote on-shore retailers who pay them for the plug. And if you think that a cruise-sponsored excursion will at least have you covered in the event of an injury, think again. Most cruise excursions require you to sign a contract relieving the cruise line of liability.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of The Law Office of Andrew Winston. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and was recently voted by his peers as a Florida “SuperLawyer”—an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state—and to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite.”