What is included in cruises?

Jan 5th, 2011, 04:35 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 256
What is included in cruises?

I usually have a decent idea of the amount of money to take with us when we go on vacation. But since the 7-day Caribbean Cruise (Ruby Princess) will be our first such excursion, I need some help knowing what's included in the price we paid for the cruise.

Meals-- what is included?
I gather the buffets are included, but specialty restaurants aren't?

Tipping is a fee they are going to charge us, regardless?

Any other thing we might budget for, please let us know.

magnumholmes is offline  
Jan 5th, 2011, 06:00 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 8,201
Eating in the Main Dining Room is also included.

Yes, you will be charged the service fee, aka tip.

You will pay for alcoholic drinks and soda, photos, bingo, excursions, spa treatments.
abram is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 05:08 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,085
All meals in the regular dining room and buffets as well as the regular pool grill are included, as are your room and use of the gym (but not classes or sometimes the steam/sauna area), and almost all entertainment.

Specialty restaurants are not and usually cost $10 and up, depending on the restaurant (not sure about specific prices on Princess).

The tips are not included and are usually about $12 per person per night.

As abram said, alcohol and soda are not included, and soda usually costs about $1.50 per can; drinks are about what you'd pay in a bar or restaurant in a mid-size U.S. city like Kansas City, though not generally as expensive as in a big city like NYC. You can usually buy some kind of wine or soda plan to get cheaper per-drink charges.

The extras like spa treatments and even specialty ice cream and coffee, among many, many others, are also not included. And depending on the island you'll usually find that it's cheaper (though not as much as you might think at first) to go it alone for shore excursions than to book them through the ship. But it's hard to book some activities on your own, so it's sometimes advantageous to pay the fee.

One thing that may or may not be included are your airport transfers to and from the ship. I don't know what Princess's policy is, but some lines (such as HAL) offer free airport transfers if you book them ahead of time even if you don't buy air from them. But you're then stuck waiting for a bus to fill up.

When I go on a cruise, I usually budget about $300 or $400 for my extras, but I also usually go to the spa. I'd say a minimum of $150 to $200 (which would include tips, a few drinks, and airport transfers) per person.

My Dad was very happy that he had absolutely no extra charges other than tips on his last cruise. So I know it can be done.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 01:28 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,813
Are you asking how much in cash, or how much to budget? Like you would check into a hotel, they swipe your credit card, and give you the cabin key that is also your charge card for the duration of the cruise.

Tips will be charged to your credit card. Breakfast, lunch, dinner in the restaurant are free in addition to the buffet. Room service is free, additional tipping expected (cash).

Drinks: tea, coffee, breakfast juices, lunch lemonade included. Soda is charged to your cabin card.

Souvenirs bought on the ship are charged to your cabin card. So are tours if you buy them from the cruise company.

Shows are free, bingo is not. If you play casino slot machines, you may use cash for it. Alcohol is charged to your cabin card.

Bring small bills to buy souvenirs on shore and to tip the local tour guide if you take local tours.
Dayenu is offline  
Jan 8th, 2011, 05:15 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 256
Thanks. Lots of good info. Appreciate the help. Very informative.
magnumholmes is offline  
Jan 8th, 2011, 08:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,981
Just let me add something about shore excursions. We have cruised 9 times and we choose our cruise depending totaly on what ports the ship will visit. For us, shore excursions are what is the most important factor in cruising. Our ship is just great transportion to see a place we have never seen before. I spend a great deal of time on CrusieCritic reading about tours that others have taken and many times I contact the local people that have been recommended there and schedule tours thru them. I do recommend you become familiar with CruiseCritic, it is a valuable tool. I also spend a lot of time going over the ships excursions from their website, and choose many of theirs. We sometimes spend more in shore excursions than on our tickets but these are the memories we bring back of far away lands that last a lifetime. You're in for a great time!
cd is offline  

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