Avoiding Cruise Add-Ons

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Like the airline industry, it seems that cruise companies have started developing new ways to relieve you of your money. It was always the case that an outside cabin cost more than an inside and the closer you were to the top of the ship the more expensive it became. But most people looked on cruising as an all-inclusive holiday. When you paid you had little more expense to consider other than how to tip and how much. And even that started to be priced in so you paid for it at the point of purchase. That is changing. Now there are add-ons. And most of them are little things but which add up to big money for companies.
But the new updated,Douglas Ward book, Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships for 2011, (not the snappiest title!) highlights some of the things you should beware of. Like restaurants on land, although the tip might already be added on, they still leave space for you to add a tip so, to the unwary, they can make on this twice.
Take visits to the bridge. I remember being taken to the bridge of the old Sitmar line ship, “Fairsea” when I was about 11 but I don’t remember my father moaning at the cost. (so, probably, it was free) The guide tells us that Princess Cruises charge a whopping $150 to do this.
Tour operators tend not to charge for transfer coach travel from the airport to your accommodation and back again. And, in fairness, some cruise companies don’t either. Others seem to charge almost taxi like fares. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as though Ward tells us which ones but since the book isn’t published until October this may not be true (why publicise the book so far in advance?)

One of many pet hates is the price of bottled water. Supermarket prices can be quadrupled by some outlets and cruise companies seem to be no exception. On the ship it’s covered. Go ashore and they “offer” you water but at a far from cheap price. Ward suggests you buy it when you get on shore. And preferably at a supermarket.
But on the plus side, Ward says that basic cruise prices are as low as they were 30 years ago so that might explain why it is so popular and why more and more people take this type of holiday.

There are just a few things that he points out. Just as you can now tell from the airlines how much they earn from ancillary revenue, (add-ons) maybe we’ll find that out too from the cruise companies.

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