When looking for a cruise how do you know whether the deals you have seen are good value for money or not?
Booking a cruise can actually be a bit of a minefield, with some cruises costing two or three times the price of others for similar itineraries. So, are these luxury cruises worth it? Well, to work that out you need to remember that your cruise ticket only pays for part of your vacation. There will undoubtedly be other things which will be added to your bill at the end. Whilst the ticket cost may be much higher for an ultra-luxury cruise, the total cost of your vacation might not be that much more.
The Basic Inclusions
Every cruise ticket includes accommodation on the ship and meals. Cruisers always have a choice of eating in the main dining room or buffet restaurant. Other restaurants, known as speciality dining restaurants, are also available. These will not cost you any extra on luxury cruise ships, but on mainstream cruise ships you will have to pay a small supplement to dine here.
On ultra-luxury cruises with cruise lines such as Scenic, unlimited drinks are included. However, cheaper cruises do not include drinks and these must be paid for either individually or by purchasing a drinks package. Cruise ship drinks can be very expensive, so if you like to drink a lot then an all-inclusive cruise can offer great value for money.
Cruise ship entertainment is always free of charge and great quality, no matter cruise line you sail with. The only exception may be certain shows like Cirque du Soleil, which will cost extra.
Many cruise ships allow parents to enjoy some adult time whilst their children are looked after in the kids’ clubs, with no charge. On Cunard cruises, for example, children as young as two can be looked after from 9AM – 11PM. Babies under two years old can be left in the nursery to sleep from 6PM – 11PM. Most luxury cruise lines, on the other hand, are either adult-only, or do not have any facilities for children.
On luxury cruises, tips for staff are neither required nor expected. However, many mainstream cruise lines add tips on to your bill at the end of your cruise as a set daily fee of $10-15 per person, per day. This can add up to a substantial amount and it is important that you know whether or not tips are included when you book your cruise.
Adding It Up
So, whilst luxury and ultra-luxury cruises tickets do cost more, they also include more. It is entirely possible to receive an empty bill at the end. However, on mainstream cruises the cost of things like drinks, tips and dining can quickly mount up. Be sure to consider exactly what is included when deciding which cruise is the best value.