Part of my preparation for any trip is making out a budget. I include every known cost and allow a generous amount for “miscellaneous” items. As a Virgo, I can be pretty compulsive about keeping track of all expenses.
|Celebrity Silhouette cruising the Adriatic Sea|
|Meals in the main dining rooms are usually very good.|
Meals in the main dining room, snack-bars, buffets, and sometimes room service are included in the cost of a cruise. While this is more food (and generally very good) than most of us can/should consume, many cruisers opt to dine in specialty restaurants on board. These can be pricey (upwards of $75 per couple), but their popularity has inspired ships to add more options.
Almost all ships—especially the larger ones--provide an included selection of quality entertainment such as live musicals and production shows or comedy and magic performances. A variety of groups play music throughout the ship for your listening pleasure or dancing the night away. Games, movies, competitions, and classes on board are provided to keep you busy and entertained.
|Acrobats perform in the Atrium of a Princess ship.|
|Climb the rock wall, a feature of all|
Royal Caribbean ships, for exercise.
If you drive to port, expect to pay for parking. Some cruise lines will pick you up from the airport and bring you to the ship, free of charge, especially if you’ve also booked an add-on hotel stay either before or after the cruise. Others provide pre-arranged transfer services for a fee. Sometimes hotels near a port will allow guests who stay there prior to the cruise to leave their car in the hotel parking area while on the ship.
Although some high-end cruise lines include shore excursions, most provide this option a la carte. Choose when, where, and what you want to do, paying only for excursions that fit your needs. You can purchase excursions arranged by the cruise line online prior to departure or book city sightseeing tours or snorkeling adventures on your own.
|Modern ships are visual delights and provide many opportunities|
for scanning the landscape.
Got a bigger budget? Casinos, bingo games, and a variety of shops featuring plenty of special sales entice passengers to spend more. You can keep track of expenses by checking your account daily, either online in your cabin or in person at guest services. If you have onboard credit (another popular package incentive), you’ll know when it has been used up.
|Ships are large enough that you won't feel crowded, even|
with thousands of passengers on board.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier