Every cruise has the potential to be the vacation of a lifetime. When booking your vacation, it’s important not to see the base fare and think “That’s what this vacation is going to cost.” You need to look at the big picture. We aren’t talking “hidden fees,” but additional costs that don’t immediately come to mind. Here are some pointers in considering the total cost.
What I’m Excluding, What I’m Including
Let’s skip everything you spend onboard. Your drinks, tipping and land packages are extra. You knew that ahead of time.
- Taxes. It’s spelled out up front. There are some extra charges for port taxes, etc. They might have a fuel surcharge. These aren’t big numbers.
- Flying to the ship. If your ship is sailing around the Mediterranean, you need to get there. Cruise lines have pretty competitive airfare packages. You can shop around and find your own, but unless you are using frequent flier miles, they offer a pretty good deal
- Airline extras. Airlines discovered unbundling years ago. Unless you have frequent flier status and are flying your favorite airline, you might have a charge for getting a seat assignment, another for a better seat and possibly a charge for checked baggage.
- Getting to the ship from the airport. The transfers are another cost. You can research this on your own, but the ship likely offers a service for a fee. There might even be a person holding a sign, grouping your fellow travelers together.
- Getting to the airport from the ship. This is the above example in reverse. There might be a taxi line at the pier when you disembark, but thousands of people looking for a taxi is an experience you want to avoid. The ship has a service. It might be worth checking alternatives. Port Everglades is so close to Fort Lauderdale airport, you might almost think you could walk it! You can’t, but it means it’s a short taxi ride.
- Extra hotel night. You sail in January. It’s winter. You don’t want to plan to arrive the day of your cruise. What if there’s a snowstorm on either end? Play it safe. Arrive the day before your ship sails.
- Driving to the ship (or airport). Good news! You are sailing from your own city! If you drive your own car, you pay for parking at the pier. It’s an expense, but there’s the luxury of seeing your car from the deck of the ship as you arrive. You might take a taxi or Uber instead. You might get a friend to drop you off and pick you up.
- Pet sitting. You will be away for a week or two. Your dog goes to puppy camp. Someone visits your house, feeds and plays with your cats. These services have costs.
- House sitting. Some people don’t want to leave their house unoccupied. They pay someone to live in it or visit every day and collect the mail.
- Dry cleaning. You don’t cruise with dirty or unpressed clothing. You send it out before the trip.
- Health Insurance. Your health insurance policy likely doesn’t over you overseas. Your cruise line or credit card company likely has reasonably priced coverage.
These aren’t hidden costs. They are practical expenses you need to consider when calculating the total cost of your trip.
Editor’s Notes: See Cruise Costs & All Inclusive Chart
On CruiseCompete, most cruise quotes include taxes and fees and in come cases include packages: Understanding Your Cruise Quote at https://www.cruisecompete.com/understanding_your_cruise_quote.php
And on All Things Cruise, see great chart detailing what’s included by cruise line on an All Inclusive Chart at https://allthingscruise.com/all-inclusive/