What Is Always Included In Your Cruise
There isnt actually a lot that is going to be guaranteed on all the major cruise lines and ships with only a few aspects that you can be sure of. One of those is your accommodation and another is obviously sailing on the ship from port-to-port, as you will be able to go to all your incredible destinations without worrying about planning or cost.
You can be fairly confident that youll have a wide variety of meal options that will be included in the price of your cruise too and if you chose to, you wouldnt have to spend anything on food or drink for the duration of your journey on the ship.
As for guarantees, that is more or less it. There will be plenty of other aspects of ship life that are going to be free though but the cruise costs will vary from one cruise line to the next. This can make it confusing when trying to pick the right cruise line for you but thankfully the information is all here.
Cons About Adding Airfare Through The Cruise Line
Adding airfare through the cruise line is not always the most enjoyable option, however, and there are several detriments to this course of action.
- The cruise line is not responsible for seat assignments: passengers must contact the airline for special requests.
- Most flights will be the day of the cruise’s departure, making them very early days. In the case of longer flight travel, passengers may fly a day or two before or be required to take redeye flights.
- Frequent flyer miles are frequently not applicable when purchasing airfare through a cruise line.
- Flights may be more indirect and require more layovers than if booked separately.
For passengers who are flexible with their travel options and prefer to maintain the convenience of having the cruise line handle their arrangements, these restrictions are not as significant and need not typically hamper vacation plans.
How Much Does It Cost To Go On A Cruise
A cruise can cost anywhere from $50 per person, per day, with a budget cruise line like Costa Cruises to well over $1,000 per person, per day, with an ultra-luxury cruise line like Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The average cost of a cruise is $161 per person, per day. This equates to $1,127 for a 7-night cruise.
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Why Are Msc Cruises So Cheap
MSC Cruises are cheaper than others because they have a lower space-to-guest ration and a lower crew-to-guest ratio. Plus, MSC Cruises charges extra for things that other cruise lines include for free.
Before you consider booking a cheap MSC cruise, I recommend that you read my full guide to why MSC Cruises are so cheap.
Things You Need To Know About Booking Airfare For Your Cruise
When it comes to purchasing airfare for a cruise vacation, travelers have many questions. There are a lot of factors to consider and once in a while, you’ll see an air-plus-cruise deal thats so obviously outstanding, it’s a no-brainer.
A few years ago, I got an email from Seabourn Cruise Line announcing a one-week September cruise in the Mediterranean that included economy-class airfare from the East Coast for $2,199. Checking the airfare to and from the ports, the best deal for those dates I could find was $1,600 in economy class. Do the math: Thats a luxury cruise for a mere $599 per person. But deals like that are rare. The best way to learn about them is to sign up for every cruise line’s email announcements. Do that, and then consider these five tips on how to get the best airfare for your cruise vacation:
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What Is Included In Your Cruise Fare
Booking any type of vacation can be a confusing process. There can be countless different fees that are charged and you can end up wondering exactly what you are getting for your money. This can often be the case with a cruise fare too, as you can be left wondering exactly what is included in your cruise. Part of this confusion can come from the fact that every cruise liner operates a little differently when it comes to their cruise fare. They will often have different banding levels too, which can further add confusion when it comes to picking the best liner for you.
Here we will make all the information as clear as possible to give you confidence when it comes to booking your cruise trip. We will breakdown what each of the major companies offer in their cruise deals and what that means for you and your enjoyment.
How Much Does A Cruise Cost
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How much do cruises really cost? To work out the real cost of a cruise you should consider not just your cruise ship ticket price, but anything else youll need such as flights to the port, shore excursions, drinks and gratuities.
This article looks at the cost of various cruises and what you actually get for your money.
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Up On The Cruise Deck
The sun deck is the place where you go to relax, grab an ice cream and soak up the sun while you are on the ship. The vast majority of this is going to be free but there could well be certain areas where you are going to have to pay extra.
This could be due to activities or it could also be the likes of a child-free zone for any adults that want a bit of peace. Youre always going to be able to have a nice place to sit and relax while you are out on the sun deck though.
Laundry / Spa / Gym Services Involving Cruise Staff
Its easy to group these three together as they generally follow the same rule that if a member of staff is involved, then there is going to be a charge. Self-service laundry, the sauna/steam room and gym equipment are usually free of charge.
Using a laundry service, having spa treatments or getting a gym class will often incur a charge though but there are some exceptions to this. Other services, such as using a salon costs extra.
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Considerations For Booking A Cruise Including Flights
Not all flights included with cruises are the same. Some flight packages have a tight connection or arrival time that can make you nervous about getting on board in time to sail. Carnival and Princess offer protection guarantees that will get you to the ship at the next port. Choice of travel time may also be limited, which could mean red-eye flights that leave you bleary-eyed and weary at the start of a vacation. Those wanting a more flexible schedule to enjoy the origination city for a day or two might want to pass on cruises that include flights.
Pros To Booking Flights Through Cruise Lines
Its less work up frontThe long and short of it is that if someone else is booking your airfare, it saves you the hassle of having to find flights that work with your cruise departure and return.
Cruises have access to bulk fares, which can be cheaper than what you can findEvery major cruise line has contracts with airlines for specially negotiated deals called bulk fares, which can be cheaper than the prices youd see if you booked individually. That said, theyre not always cheaper, so its key to do some independent research before you commit. Royal Caribbean, it should be noted, has a policy in its Air2Sea program that guarantees that youll pay for the lowest airfare possible, with a 110 percent refund of the difference if you find a lower pricein shipboard credit, though, not cash.
You may score a business class flightIf airfare is wrapped into the price of your cruise cabin, you might really find yourself in great seats on your flight. Regent Seven Seas Cruises, for instance, offers free business-class airfare for certain long-haul flights to all passengers booked in suites, which is particularly important if youre flying from, say, New York to Sydney for your cruise. Many other cruise lines, including Seabourn, will offer premium economy or other upgraded flights. Just know that the price of your cabin may be higher to compensate for these packages, so you’d be wise to separate research airfare on your own to gauge the value.
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Include The Costs Of Shore Excursions
Ziplining in Belize –
Unless you plan on exploring independently, signing up for the ships group tours can set you back anywhere from $30 to $400 per person, per day. The cheapest excursion options are generally walking tours, and the most expensive are flightseeing excursions in helicopters and specialty tours that involve private meals, wine tastings, and adventures like hot air ballooning or watching the Grand Prix in Monaco. Sure, these may be once-in-a-lifetime adventures, and were not suggesting skipping them just be sure theyre part of your budget from the beginning so there’s no sticker shock when you see your credit card bill after the cruise.
Estimated Cost: $120 – $1000
Cruise Line Air Packages: Pros And Cons
Should you or shouldn’t you relinquish control of booking your pre-cruise flights? The deals and the simplicity of booking your cruise and flight together via cruise line air packages certainly look tempting, but there’s always that nagging question of whether one-stop shopping is the right way to go. We scoured cruise line air policies and stacked up the pros and cons to help you make the decision that works best for you.
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Guaranteed Arrival To The Ship
This is the biggest benefit of booking airfare through the cruise line. If your flight is delayed or canceled for any reason, the cruise line will take care of all costs to get you to the ship.
You wont miss your cruise if you book your airfare through the cruise line. This gives you added protection and peace of mind.
Recap: 6 Reasons To Book Cruise Line Air And 3 Reasons You Want To Book Your Own Flights
With cruise lines enhancing their cruise line airfare programs, the peace of mind and other advantages that come with this option are good reasons consider booking cruise line air. Even if you havent opted to book your flights with your cruise line in the past, due to changes over the last couple of years, it may be worth another look.
Have you used cruise line air? If so, what tips can you share to make things go as smoothly as possible?
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Whats Included In A Cruise
Cruise tickets generally include accommodation, meals, some drinks and entertainment. Youll pay extra for speciality dining, alcoholic drinks, gratuities, spa services, casino, wifi, flights, transfers and excursions.
Whats included in your cruise varies for each cruise line. Some cruise lines include gratuities in the ticket price. You may also get a drinks package included at no extra cost. Sometimes, cruises come with free onboard credit, which you can spend on the ship.
If you plan your cruise carefully, its perfectly possible to not spend anything extra on top of the price of your cruise ticket.
No Surprises On Your Bill
For a luxurious vacation at sea that wont deliver a shocking bill on disembarkation day, focus your search on all-inclusive cruises. While most of the best cruises can, at times, feel all-inclusive if you eat in the main dining room and drink only tap water on the rocks, thats not always the case. Many restaurants on the bulk of cruise ships, even on the most trusted cruise lines, carry an extra fee , and soda, wine, beer, and cocktails are going to cost you. And if you want to try a spinning class in the fitness center or do yoga on the deck, expect to see a charge added to your folio.
True all-inclusive cruises, on the other hand, offer guests nearly everything they could dream of while at sea . Of course, the per person fare will be higher than your usual stateroom on the big cruise ships, but youll get so much more included and have no surprises on your credit card statement. How much higher will depend on the specific ship and how luxurious it is!
If youre traveling as a family, consider one of the best cruises for kids, but for an all-in grown-up experience, try these all-inclusive cruises that cover all meals, even at the specialty dining destinations on board, as well as all activities. Many of them will also cover your alcoholic drinks, gratuities, laundry, shore excursions, airfare, and more. Read on to find out whichand to book your next trip! If you decide that youd prefer to be pampered on land, head over to this list of the best all-inclusive resorts.
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Does The Price I’ve Been Quoted Include All Taxes And Other Fees
It depends on the source of the quote. On cruise line websites taxes, fees, port charges and miscellaneous charges are typically not included in U.S. cruise fare quotes, but are included in U.K. fares. You may also find online booking websites or travel agents that include some or all of the mandatory fees and taxes in their initial price quote. In order to compare fairly across suppliers, you must read the fine print for each quoted fare.
You Still Have To Deal With The Airline
This isnt really a disadvantage, however something to be aware of. Once youve booked your air, you still deal with the airline and their luggage policies and other requirements.
Youre also responsible for pre-boarding online check in, just as if you have booked with an online travel website or directly with the airline.
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What Is The Total Cost Of A Cruise
Each cruise liner is different in regards to what exactly they are going to offer. Food is a good example, as there will be standard meals offered as part of your cruise ticket price but then there will be other areas such as specialty restaurants and snacks where you might have to pay.
Drinks also change a lot with different companies and unless you stick with the same cruise company every time, it can be complicated keeping track of them. There can also be aspects like a beverage package where money can be saved and these can differ too.
Here we will go through all the different aspects of cruise life and also all the main companies to see exactly what they offer when compared to other liners to give you a better idea of exactly what is going into your fare.
It can seem at times that some companies are more expensive than others when it comes to the fare but a company like Regent Seven Seas, for example, has almost everything included while a company such as Celebrity Cruises offers very little with their ticket. Besides all-inclusive cruises, there are also some cruise lines where you pay extra for a lot of things. Thats why you should not just take the fare on face value but also think about whats included too.
Add In Transfers Between The Ship And The Airport On Both Ends
The cost of the shuttle can vary depending on the length of the trip. –
Factor in the transfer costs of the bus or taxi to get you between the airport and the ship for both embarkation and disembarkation. The cruise lines bus transfer makes sense if youre traveling alone or as a couple if youre a group of three or four, a taxi or Uber/Lyft may be your cheapest and quickest option. Driving to the port? Figure in parking charges instead.
Estimated Cost: $20 – $100 per person
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Is A Cruise Fare Similar To A Hotel Room Price Or Airfare
In one very important way, cruise prices have more in common with airfares than hotel prices, as prices are quoted per person and not per room . Also akin to airlines, the least expensive fares get you the least desirable space on the vessel. A cheap fare will typically get you a cheap cabin — inside and on a low deck. Want a sea view or a balcony? You’ll have to pay more.
Another way cruise fares are like airline fares is that they can change daily, based on complicated algorithms of supply and demand, as well as time-sensitive sales, so you’ll want to do some research or watch prices for a few weeks to know what’s a good deal.
Advantages Of Booking Flights Through Your Cruise Line
Imagine sitting at the airport because a flight was delayed due to weather or mechanical issues, or you were bumped from a flight. Trying to make alternate plans to get to your cruise on time could be overwhelming and potentially cost more. When you book the flight along with your cruise, most cruise lines guarantee to get you to the next port at no cost to you and supply a complimentary hotel room in the meantime. Cruise lines often offer the lowest rate on base airfare. They can do this because they negotiate bulk contract fares with certain airlines. However, some cruise agents say that fares for short flights usually compare to what you’d get if booking yourself, with the most savings on long-haul flights.
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