Not Included: Three Cruise Travel Hacks That Still Work

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So you got a great deal on that Caribbean cruise. Scouring the Internet, checking with a travel agent or booking directly with the cruise line, you saved a pile of money on the cruise fare.  Happy that price includes port charges, taxes and fees, you can now board the ship.  Doing anything onboard?  That’s another story.  That will cost you but not have to break the bank.

Booze! – No Smuggling Needed
Cruising Sober

Cruise CompeteMost cruise lines allow guests to bring aboard a bottle of wine to celebrate a special occasion.  While replacing that cheap grocery store wine with vodka probably won’t work (but it might be worth a try), there are real vintages that are ‘better’ than others.  If ‘better’ means maximizing the effects of alcohol on your human body, skip the grocery store and go to a wine store.  Ask for wine with a higher alcoholic content to use in wine cocktails.  There will be plenty of choices. The standard 750ml wine bottle holds about 19 shots of liquid.  Do the math.

 

Better Service With Cash In Hand

Money
Most big ship cruise lines automatically add the suggested amount of gratuities on a daily basis.  At the end of the cruise, those are supposedly divided up among the crew members.  That’s fine, allow that if you want to or feel the need, but be aware of the flexibility possible with this system.   Because this is still called a gratuity, you can still have them removed, choosing instead to tip the crew as you feel necessary.  Start that process on day one, tipping as you go to room stewards, bartenders and waiters.  Money still talks.

Play Their Game Or Get Off The Ship

A waitress aboard the Carnival Magic presents gastronomical offerings in the ship's Prime Steakhouse Photo by Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines

Those new to travel by cruise ship really have nothing to compare to.  It’s the old timers who have sailed for ten or more years that fondly remember the olden days when more was included in the price.  A better mindset: it is what it is.  If a more inclusive experience is what you want, there are a number of cruise lines doing that.  Some offer inclusive pricing that often totals up to not all that much more than your inexpensive nothing-is-included cruise fare + what you paid onboard.

While it is indeed possible to walk on a big ship cruise and not spend one cent more on the experience, most travelers do.  Actually, an increasing number of cruise travelers spend as much or more onboard than they paid for the ticket to board.  What used to be called “nickle and diming” us to death is just business as usual these days.  


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