Ever hear someone say: “Nickel and dimed?” It’s an old expression meaning to be hit with lots of extra or hidden charges. Remember buying your first flat screen TV? The TV might have been a Black Friday deal, but the HDMI cable cost a bundle.
The airlines might have “unbundled” and now charge you for extra luggage and choosing a better seat, but cruise lines still offer basically an all-inclusive package.
- Gym access. Back on land, if you want to exercise, you join a gym. This costs money. Some hotels charge for gym access if the gym is run by a third party. Hotel gyms are often on the small side. Cruise ships tend to have enormous gyms.
- Self-service laundry. Cruise ships offer dry cleaning and laundry services, but these come at a price. Ships also have self service laundries equipped with washers, dryers and ironing boards. The soap is free! FYI: These are pretty popular, especially on long cruises.
- Shuttle bus to the town center. The cruise line does not want you wandering unaccompanied around the docks. The pier is often a secured area. Although the escorted tours have a cost, most cruise lines operate a continuous free shuttle service for passengers to and from a central location.
- Port lectures. This is your first time in this port. What is there to see? It would be a shame if you walked down the main street, had lunch and headed back to the ship without experiencing what makes the town special. The ship holds orientation lectures for each port. These are usually filmed and rebroadcast on TV.
- No baggage limits. The airlines can be strict concerning the size and weight of your luggage. Cruise ships have no problem! Bring as much as you can carry! They have staff onshore who collect your luggage from you and additional staff onboard who deliver your luggage to your cabin. There is no charge for either service.
- Luxury toiletries. Cruise lines put a lot of thought into shampoo and soap. Your bathroom will be stocked with brand name toiletries. When you use them up, the bottles will be replaced. Many passengers take them home as souvenirs.
- Towel change daily. You might do laundry once a week at home. When you are on vacation, your cabin steward will collect your soiled towels and replace them with fresh ones. If you prefer to help the environment and reuse your towels, there is likely an instruction card telling you how to proceed.
- Free movies. At home you pay for cable TV access. You might have one or more streaming services. There is a cost for home entertainment. Once onboard, your cabin’s TV has access to a variety of movies, TV shows and music. News might be in real time and films are on demand.
- Post office services. People still send letters and postcards home. Getting mail with a foreign stamp and postmark is cool! I would write to my young godson whenever we went on vacation. He saved all the envelopes and attached them to his bedroom mirror. He told his parents he thought I was a spy! Your cabin should have letterhead and postcards inside the binder in your desk drawer. The Purser’s office will sell you stamps and mail your letters. Do this before the ship leaves the dock!
- Dance classes. Most ships offer dance classes on sea days. They also offer exercise classes like Zumba that involve dance. If you want to learn or brush up on your dancing, now is your chance.
Back at home, you sometimes feel you need to pay for everything. When you are at sea, a lot of your fun is included in your cruise fare.
Ed. Notes: CruiseCompete and its member travel advisors provide many curated cruise and land deals, offers and amenities on over 50 cruise lines with over 500 cruise ships sailing all around the world. Browse Cruise Ships and Cruise Lines
Cover photo: International Cafe, The Piazza Horizon Court Buffet ©Dennis Cox/WorldViews
Dennis Cox is All Things Cruise Writer and Official Photographer View Dennis’ blog