When booking a cruise vacation, the experienced cruise traveler knows that the final cost is never truly the final cost. From shore excursions to spa treatments, there a number of additional options and added on activities that can be included in every cruise vacation.
To learn about the basics of shore-side activities, keep reading for great tips on how to enjoy optional side trips and save money on your next cruise.
Getting to Your Cruise
Your first "add-on" is going to be the actual transportation to the ship and your port of departure. Sometimes, booking a flight as part of a cruise package will save you money and other times, it will not. Therefore, it's important to compare the cost of your cruise with a flight package against your own flight prices and various airline deals. Or if you are geographically close enough, you might consider driving to the port.
Many cruise lines offer a shuttle service from local hotels or airports in their departure city. To save money on a taxi to the actual ship, call ahead and ask.
Almost every cruise ship offers port excursions at an additional cost. These can range from basic guided tours to fully-outfitted scuba diving expeditions. The majority of these excursions will cost money. You can review and book these excursions in advance, allowing you to not only budget your activities accordingly, but also to look for destinations and ports-of-call where you can explore on your own.
For example, you may want to indulge in some structured wine-tasting when your boat docks in France, but explore Athens on your own with little more than a guide book and a shuttle back to the ship at the end of the day.
Additional Activities On-Board
Not everything is free on a cruise ship; from spa treatments to rock climbing to golf courses, many of the activities on a cruise ship are available at an extra cost. To be sure you understand all the costs associated with your next cruise vacation, read through your passenger materials thoroughly. And read the fine print!
For spa treatments and tee times at the driving range, book early as these tend to fill up fast.
Extra Cabin Amenities
Cruise ships offer a number of additional cabin amenities like a departure gift, champagne on arrival, laundry service and room service. All these extras come at additional cost. Again, before you book and as you budget, be sure to take into consideration the extra expenses associated with additional cabin amenities.