12 Places You Spend Money at Sea & Why It’s Well Spent

Remember Club Med? The all-inclusive vacation? You paid for drinks with plastic beads you wore around your neck. After our one experience, I realized “Everyone was treated equal.” On a cruise, “Everyone is treated like a king or queen.” There’s a difference. You will be spending some money along the way.

Some people you meet aboard ship might come across as “cheap.” Let’s be gracious and say they were unprepared. Here are 12 areas you will likely be spending money. As an example, when my wife and I cross the Atlantic, we tend to spend $ 1,000+ over seven nights.

  1. Tippking: It’s not a 9 to 5 work day for your cabin steward. You waiter doesn’t get weekends off. They work long days. They are always busy. Their pay scale is different. To earn money and provide for their families, they are choosing to be away for long periods. Tip the recommended amount. Then tip them some more.
  2. Drinks you buy at the bar. Your trip is a continuous party. It’s a vacation. You will be drinking more. Save those receipts. Keep a list in your cabin of what you’ve spent. Why? So you are aware. The prices aren’t outrageous, because you are in an environment free of the local taxes you pay at home.
  3. Dry cleaning. Laundry too. There are often free washers and dryers for passenger use. I’ve found the dry cleaning prices are comparable to home. You want to look your best. Spend a little extra.
  4. Toiletries. You will discover your antiperspirant is almost empty. You will break your reading glasses. There’s a tiny shop carrying all this stuff. Prices are usually comparable to those back home.
  5. Wine you buy in the dining room. Wine and food go together. Someone at your table buys a bottle and shares it. You will return the favor. If they aren’t a sharing crowd, you’ll buy a bottle and consume it over a few evenings.
  6. Shore excursions. They are usually well organized and not that expensive. You can even book through third party providers before your trip. If this might be the only time you will ever visit this place, pay to get a good tour.
  7. Airport transfers. Thousands of passengers disembarking can mean long taxi lines. The ship’s transfer buses are usually well organized and reasonably priced. You might even get off earlier than expected.
  8. Duty free liquor. You visit the shop several times and finally figure out what’s a good deal. It might be a gift for friends back home.
  9. Gifts. Someone watched your cat. Collected the mail. Kept an eye on your house. Gave you a lift to the ship or airport. You will need gifts. There’s a shop for that.
  10. Monogrammed clothing. How will you and another cruise lover spot each other back home if you don’t have the hat or polo shirt? You buy at least one.
  11. At least one professional photo. They have professional photographers on board. They make you look good.
  12. Wine tastings or special events. OK, so I sign up for the single malt scotch tasting. The wine and food pairing lunch. Maybe the martini mixology class. If you have a passion, it’s fun sharing it with like-minded people.

There are things you will want to spend money on, once the ship leaves the dock. Bring that mindset along with you.

Cover photo: International Cafe in Piazza Horizon Court Buffet on the Grand Princess ©Dennis Cox/WorldViews


Editor’s Notes: See Cruise Costs & All Inclusive Chart

See the All Things Cruise chart detailing what’s included by cruise line on an All Inclusive Chart at https://allthingscruise.com/all-inclusive/

On CruiseCompete, most cruise quotes include taxes and fees and in come cases include packages: See Understanding Your Cruise Quote at https://www.cruisecompete.com/understanding_your_cruise_quote.php

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