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What Are The Hidden Costs Of A Cruise


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Reeta Whisenant



Embarking on a cruise vacation is an exciting and immersive way to explore the world while enjoying luxurious amenities and entertainment on board. From breathtaking ocean views to gourmet dining options, cruises offer a unique travel experience. However, it’s essential to be aware of the hidden costs that can come along with your cruise adventure. While the initial price may seem reasonable, there are additional expenses that can sneak up on you if you’re not prepared.


Booking a cruise involves more than just paying for the cabin. From gratuities and service charges to specialty dining, drinks, and shore excursions, these hidden costs can add up and significantly affect your overall vacation budget. Awareness of these expenses will allow you to plan your cruise experience more effectively and avoid any financial surprises along the way.


In this article, we will explore the various hidden costs that you may encounter when booking and enjoying a cruise vacation. Understanding these additional expenses will help you make informed decisions and budget accordingly, ensuring a seamless and stress-free cruise experience.


Booking Fees

When booking a cruise, you might assume that the advertised price includes everything. However, many cruise lines charge additional fees that are not always transparent upfront. These fees can include a variety of services and amenities that are not included in the base price.


One common booking fee is a non-refundable deposit. While not all cruise lines charge this, it’s important to check the terms and conditions before making your reservation. This fee is typically applied per person and can vary depending on the duration and destination of your cruise.


Another potential booking fee is an administration or service fee. This fee can be charged by the travel agent or online booking platform for their assistance in securing your cruise reservation. It’s essential to clarify any additional fees with your chosen booking method to avoid any surprises when paying for your cruise.


Additionally, some cruise lines may charge a fuel surcharge if the price of fuel exceeds a certain threshold. This can be an unexpected fee that is added on top of your base cruise fare and can significantly increase the overall cost of your trip.


Lastly, cruise lines often offer optional upgrades or add-ons, such as cabin upgrades or beverage packages, which come with an additional cost. While these upgrades can enhance your cruise experience, it’s important to consider whether the added benefits are worth the extra expense.


To manage these booking fees, it’s crucial to research and compare different cruise lines and their pricing structures. Understanding what is included in the base price and what additional fees may apply will enable you to make an informed decision and allocate your budget accordingly.


Gratuities and Service Charges

Gratuities and service charges are an important aspect of the cruise experience, as they ensure the hardworking staff members onboard are properly compensated for their exceptional service. While some cruise lines include gratuities in the overall price, many others automatically add daily gratuities or service charges to your onboard account.


The amount of gratuities or service charges can vary depending on the cruise line and the duration of your voyage. These charges typically cover various staff members, including cabin stewards, waitstaff, bartenders, and other service personnel who contribute to your overall enjoyment during the cruise.


It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the cruise line’s gratuity policy before boarding the ship. Some cruise lines allow you to pre-pay gratuities, while others automatically charge them to your onboard account or give you the option to adjust the amount at the end of the trip.


While these charges may seem like an additional expense, it’s important to remember that they form an essential part of the crew’s income. If you have received exceptional service during your cruise, you may also consider tipping additional amounts as a gesture of appreciation.


To manage gratuities and service charges, make sure to include them in your overall budget when planning and booking your cruise. Being aware of these costs upfront will help you avoid any surprises when settling your onboard account at the end of your trip.


It’s also worth noting that some luxury cruise lines include gratuities in the overall price, eliminating the need for additional gratuity charges. If this is important to you, it’s worth considering these cruise lines in your search.


Specialty Dining and Drinks

One of the highlights of a cruise vacation is the incredible dining options available on board. In addition to the main dining rooms and buffet areas, many cruise lines offer specialty restaurants where you can indulge in gourmet cuisine and unique dining experiences. However, it’s important to be aware that these specialty dining options often come with an additional cost.


The prices for specialty dining can vary, depending on the cruise line and the specific restaurant. Some cruise lines offer à la carte pricing, where each item on the menu has a set price, while others have a cover charge that includes a full meal or a fixed number of courses.


It’s important to note that while the main dining rooms are usually included in the base price of the cruise, specialty dining restaurants are considered an upgrade and require an additional fee. This means that if you choose to dine at these specialty venues, you will have to pay extra for the experience.


In addition to specialty dining, cruise lines also offer various beverage packages for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. These packages can provide unlimited access to certain beverages throughout your cruise, but they also come at an additional cost. It’s important to carefully review the prices and terms of these packages to determine if they are worth the investment for your particular preferences and consumption habits.


To manage the costs of specialty dining and drinks, consider how important these experiences are to you and allocate your budget accordingly. If you’re a food enthusiast who enjoys fine dining, it may be worth splurging on a few specialty meals during your cruise. Alternatively, if you’re more focused on saving money, sticking to the main dining room and complimentary beverages may be a more budget-friendly choice.


Ultimately, the choice of whether to indulge in specialty dining and drinks is a personal one. Being aware of the additional costs will allow you to make an informed decision and ensure that your cruise experience aligns with your budget and preferences.


Excursions and Onshore Activities

Exploring the various ports of call is one of the main highlights of a cruise vacation. From snorkeling in crystal-clear waters to visiting historical landmarks, there are countless opportunities for exciting and enriching onshore activities. However, it’s important to note that participating in these excursions often comes with an additional cost.


Cruise lines offer a wide range of shore excursions to suit different interests and activity levels. These excursions can include guided tours, adventure activities, cultural experiences, and more. The prices for these excursions can vary depending on the destination, duration, and level of exclusivity.


When planning your cruise, it’s wise to research the excursions available at each port of call and their associated costs. This will allow you to budget for the activities that interest you the most and tailor your onshore experiences to your preferences.


Additionally, it’s important to consider that you are not obligated to book excursions through the cruise line. Many ports of call offer independent tour operators and options for exploring on your own. While this can often be a more budget-friendly alternative, it’s crucial to ensure that you have enough time to return to the ship before it sets sail.


Alternatively, if you prefer a more relaxed approach, you can choose to explore the port at your own pace, taking in the local sights, shopping, or enjoying the beaches. Keep in mind that some ports may have entrance fees to certain attractions or require transportation to reach them, so it’s important to factor these costs into your plans.


To manage the expenses of excursions and onshore activities, consider prioritizing the experiences that are most important to you and allocate your budget accordingly. Carefully review the excursion options available and compare prices to ensure you are getting the best value for your money. Remember, the goal is to create lasting memories and enjoy unique experiences, so choose activities that align with your interests and budget.


Spa and Salon Services

For many cruisers, relaxation and pampering are essential elements of their vacation. Consequently, cruise ships often offer luxurious spa and salon services to cater to these needs. While indulging in these services can be a wonderful part of your cruise experience, it’s important to be aware of the additional costs associated with spa treatments and salon services.


The spa onboard a cruise ship typically offers a wide range of options, including massages, facials, body treatments, and more. These services are provided by trained professionals who ensure a level of relaxation and rejuvenation during your voyage. However, it’s essential to note that spa services are not typically included in the base price of the cruise but are instead billed as separate expenses.


Similarly, cruise ship salons provide haircuts, styling, manicures, pedicures, and other beauty treatments. These services are performed by skilled professionals who can help you look and feel your best throughout your vacation. Like spa services, salon treatments incur additional fees that must be paid separately.


To manage the costs of spa and salon services, consider creating a budget specifically for indulging in these treatments. Prioritize which services are the most important to you and allocate your budget accordingly. It’s also worth exploring any spa or salon packages that the cruise line may offer, as these can sometimes provide a more affordable option for multiple treatments.


Additionally, keep an eye out for any specials or discounts that may be available during your cruise. Cruise lines often offer promotions for spa and salon services, especially on port days when many guests are off the ship. Taking advantage of these promotions can help you save money while still enjoying the benefits of pampering and relaxation.


Remember, while spa and salon services can be a luxurious addition to your cruise experience, they are optional expenses. If budget constraints are a concern, consider alternative methods of relaxation, such as enjoying the ship’s pools, lounges, or outdoor spaces.


By being mindful of the costs associated with spa and salon services, you can plan your cruise budget accordingly and ensure a balance between self-care and financial responsibility.


Internet and Communication Charges

In today’s digital age, staying connected while on a cruise has become important for many travelers. However, accessing the internet and staying in touch with loved ones back home comes with additional costs while on a cruise.


Most cruise ships offer internet access, but it is typically not included in the base price of the cruise. Cruise lines often charge for internet and communication services either by the minute or through various internet packages that offer different levels of connectivity and data usage.


These charges can quickly add up, especially if you rely heavily on internet access for work or consistent communication. While it can be tempting to check emails, post vacation updates on social media, or stream movies while onboard, it’s important to be mindful of the cost associated with these activities.


To manage internet and communication charges, consider the following tips:

  1. Research internet packages offered by the cruise line before your trip. This will allow you to budget for the level of connectivity you need without overspending.
  2. If staying connected is not a top priority, consider disconnecting from the internet during your cruise and taking a break from constant online communication.
  3. Take advantage of free or low-cost internet options in port cities. Many cafes, restaurants, and public spaces offer Wi-Fi that you can use to catch up on emails or communicate with family and friends.
  4. Consider using messaging apps that rely on a Wi-Fi connection rather than cellular data. This can help you stay in touch with loved ones without incurring additional charges.

Remember, the purpose of a cruise is often to relax and unwind, so taking a break from the digital world can enhance the experience. By managing your internet and communication usage and being conscious of the associated fees, you can strike a balance between staying connected and enjoying your vacation without breaking the bank.


Casino and Gambling Expenses

For those who enjoy a bit of excitement and entertainment while on a cruise, the onboard casino can be a tempting destination. Cruise ships often feature casinos where guests can try their luck at a variety of games, including slot machines, blackjack, poker, and roulette. However, it’s essential to be aware of the potential costs associated with casino and gambling activities.


While the casino itself may be a thrilling and vibrant atmosphere, it’s important to remember that gambling is a form of entertainment with potential financial risks. Just like any casino on land, cruise ship casinos operate for profit, and the odds are in favor of the house.


When participating in casino activities, it’s crucial to set a budget and stick to it. Decide how much you are willing to spend on gambling and view it as an entertainment expense rather than a money-making opportunity. Treat any winnings as a bonus and avoid chasing losses, as this can lead to overspending.


In addition to managing your budget, it’s important to be mindful of any additional fees that casinos may charge. Some cruise lines require players to obtain a player’s club card, which may come with a membership fee or additional charges. Be sure to inquire about any fees and understand the terms and conditions before participating.


If you find that your gambling expenses are adding up, consider participating in other onboard activities or taking advantage of the ship’s amenities instead. Many cruise ships offer a wide range of entertainment options, such as live shows, sports activities, spa treatments, and more, which can provide enjoyment without the financial risks associated with gambling.


It’s worth noting that some cruise lines offer casino packages or specials, allowing you to prepay for a certain amount of playtime or casino credit. These packages can help you budget and control your gambling expenses while still enjoying the casino experience.


Remember, gambling on a cruise should be seen as a form of entertainment rather than a way to make money. By setting a budget, being mindful of additional fees, and exploring other onboard activities, you can enjoy the casino experience responsibly without sacrificing your financial well-being.


Souvenirs and Shopping

One of the joys of a cruise vacation is the opportunity to explore different ports of call and immerse yourself in unique cultures. As you visit these destinations, you may find yourself tempted by the array of souvenirs and shopping experiences available. However, it’s important to be mindful of the potential costs associated with souvenirs and shopping while on a cruise.


Port cities often offer a wide range of shopping opportunities, from local markets and boutiques to duty-free shops. It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of shopping, especially when presented with enticing products and the allure of tax-free prices.


To manage your souvenir and shopping expenses, consider the following tips:

  1. Set a budget for souvenirs and shopping before your cruise. Determine how much you’re willing to spend on mementos or special items.
  2. Prioritize the types of souvenirs you’re interested in. Whether it’s local handicrafts, artwork, clothing, or food products, focus on collecting items that truly hold meaning for you.
  3. Take time to compare prices and browse different shops before making a purchase. This will help ensure you’re getting the best value for your money and prevent impulse buying.
  4. Consider supporting local artisans and small businesses. Look for handmade or locally sourced items that showcase the authenticity of the destination you’re visiting.
  5. Be mindful of customs regulations and any restrictions on bringing certain items back to your home country. Avoid purchasing prohibited or restricted items that may cause issues at customs.

Remember, while it’s natural to want to bring back souvenirs from your cruise, the memories and experiences you create are often more valuable than physical items. Focus on cherishing the moments and connections you make during your voyage, and view shopping as a way to enhance those memories rather than the centerpiece of your trip.


It’s also worth noting that many cruise ship gift shops offer a variety of souvenirs and items onboard. These shops often have a curated selection of products, including apparel, jewelry, accessories, and branded merchandise. While these items may be convenient, it’s important to be aware that they can come at a premium price compared to shopping in the ports of call.


By being mindful of your budget, prioritizing meaningful purchases, and enjoying the shopping experience as a part of your overall cruise adventure, you can indulge in souvenirs and shopping while still maintaining financial responsibility.


Travel Insurance

While it’s not a hidden cost specific to cruises, travel insurance is an important consideration when planning any vacation, including a cruise. Travel insurance provides financial protection against unforeseen circumstances that may disrupt or cancel your trip, such as illness, injury, natural disasters, or unexpected travel delays.


Cruise vacations often involve a significant investment, including the cost of the cruise itself, flights, and other pre-booked expenses. Travel insurance can offer peace of mind by providing coverage for these expenses in case of unexpected events that may prevent you from embarking on your cruise or force you to return home early.


When selecting a travel insurance policy, it’s important to carefully review the coverage options and policy limits. Some key aspects to consider include:

  • Trip cancellation and interruption coverage: This protects your investment if you need to cancel or cut short your cruise for covered reasons, such as illness, injury, or the death of a family member.
  • Medical coverage: This covers the cost of medical treatment onboard or in port if you become ill or injured during your cruise.
  • Emergency medical evacuation coverage: This provides assistance and coverage for emergency medical evacuations, should you require specialized medical transportation back home.
  • Baggage and personal belongings coverage: This protects your luggage and personal belongings against loss, theft, or damage during your trip.
  • Travel delay coverage: This reimburses you for additional expenses incurred due to travel delays, such as hotel accommodations or meals.

It’s important to read the policy details carefully, including any exclusions or limitations. Some travel insurance policies may have specific requirements related to pre-existing medical conditions, so be sure to disclose any relevant information accurately.


While travel insurance does come at an additional cost, it can potentially save you thousands of dollars in the event of an unforeseen circumstance. The choice to purchase travel insurance ultimately depends on your tolerance for risk and the peace of mind you desire during your vacation.


When considering travel insurance, it’s often recommended to purchase it soon after booking your cruise, as certain coverage benefits may have time-sensitive requirements. Compare insurance policies from reputable providers and choose the one that best meets your needs and offers comprehensive coverage for your cruise and travel plans.


Onboard Photography

One of the common features of cruise vacations is the presence of onboard photographers who capture your special moments throughout the journey. These photographers are often stationed at various locations onboard, ready to take your pictures during formal nights, at iconic spots on the ship, or during activities and events.


While it can be tempting to have professional photos taken to commemorate your cruise experience, it’s important to be aware of the costs associated with onboard photography. Cruise ship photographers typically offer various photo packages, prints, or digital copies for purchase, and these services can quickly add up.


If capturing memories through professional photography is important to you, consider the following tips to manage the expenses:

  1. Set a budget for onboard photography. Determine how much you’re willing to spend on photos and stick to that limit.
  2. Take advantage of photo opportunities during formal nights or when the photographers offer complimentary sessions. This allows you to have some professional photos without incurring additional costs.
  3. Consider purchasing a digital photo package. Many cruise lines now offer digital copies of all the photos taken throughout your cruise for a flat fee. This can be a cost-effective option if you plan on purchasing multiple photos.
  4. Review the photos before making a decision. Cruise ship photographers often display printed copies for you to view and choose from. Take your time to select the photos that truly capture your cherished moments.
  5. Be mindful of any additional charges for prints or specialty photo products. Some cruise lines offer a range of options, such as custom frames or photo albums, which can significantly increase the total cost of your photo purchases.

Remember that onboard photography is an optional expense, and it’s entirely up to you whether you want to invest in professional photos during your cruise. While these photos can be a beautiful keepsake, you can also rely on your own smartphone or camera to capture memories throughout your journey.


If you’re looking to save money, consider asking fellow passengers or crew members to take photos for you. Nowadays, with smartphones equipped with high-quality cameras, it’s easier than ever to capture beautiful moments without the need for professional photography services.


By setting a budget, being selective with your photo choices, and weighing the value of professional photos against the cost, you can manage your expenses while still preserving the memories of your cruise vacation.


Off-peak Season Surcharge

When planning a cruise, the timing of your trip can have a significant impact on the overall cost. Cruise lines often have off-peak and peak seasons, with off-peak periods offering discounted fares to attract travelers during slower times. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential surcharges that may apply during off-peak seasons.


During peak seasons, such as school holidays or popular vacation periods, cruise lines tend to charge higher prices due to increased demand. Conversely, off-peak seasons offer discounted rates to entice travelers during quieter times. While these discounted fares can be appealing, cruise lines may apply surcharges or additional fees to compensate for the discounted rates.


Off-peak season surcharges can vary depending on the cruise line and the specific itinerary. These surcharges may be applied to cover additional expenses or to make up for the lower revenues received from discounted fares.


Before booking a cruise during an off-peak season, it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions and consider the potential surcharges that may apply. You may find that even with the surcharges, cruising during the off-peak season offers significant savings compared to peak season prices.


To manage the off-peak season surcharge, consider the following tips:

  1. Research and compare different cruise lines to determine if they apply off-peak season surcharges and the extent of these charges.
  2. Be flexible with your travel dates. By choosing alternative departure dates within the same season, you may be able to avoid or minimize the impact of the surcharge.
  3. Consider the overall value of the cruise. Even with the surcharge, traveling during the off-peak season may still offer significant savings compared to peak season prices, especially when factoring in other cost-saving benefits such as fewer crowds and potentially lower airfare.
  4. Consult with a travel agent or cruise specialist who can provide insights and guidance on the best times to book a cruise in terms of both cost and experience.

It’s important to note that not all cruise lines apply off-peak season surcharges, and the extent of these charges can vary. By being aware of the potential surcharges and factoring them into your budget, you can make informed decisions and ensure a cruise experience that aligns with your financial goals.


Laundry and Dry Cleaning Services

During a cruise vacation, you may find yourself needing laundry and dry cleaning services to keep your clothes fresh and clean. Cruise ships typically offer these services to cater to passengers’ needs, providing a convenient option for maintaining a wardrobe that’s ready for any occasion. However, it’s important to consider the potential costs associated with these services.


Laundry and dry cleaning services on cruise ships usually incur separate charges, which can vary depending on the item or service requested. Common offerings include cleaning and pressing of garments, as well as self-service laundry facilities for passengers who prefer to handle their laundry themselves.


The cost of these services can add up, especially if you require multiple items to be cleaned or have special care instructions for delicate fabrics. To manage the expenses, consider the following tips:

  1. Pack enough clothing for the duration of your cruise to minimize the need for frequent laundering. Planning your outfits carefully and re-wearing clothes when possible can help you reduce the number of items that require cleaning.
  2. Take advantage of any laundry promotions or packages offered by the cruise line. Some ships may provide discounted rates for laundry services on specific days or offer unlimited laundry packages for a flat fee.
  3. Consider using the self-service laundry facilities if available. While there may still be a cost associated with using these facilities, it is often more affordable than using the ship’s dry cleaning services.
  4. Opt for items that can be easily hand-washed and hung to dry instead of relying solely on professional cleaning. This can help you save money and reduce the need for frequent laundry services.
  5. Be mindful of the cost vs. convenience trade-off. While utilizing the ship’s laundry services may be the most convenient option, it’s important to weigh the costs against the benefits and decide what is most reasonable for your budget.

Ultimately, the decision to use laundry and dry cleaning services on a cruise comes down to personal preference and individual circumstances. Whether you choose to take advantage of these services or opt for more cost-effective alternatives, planning ahead and being mindful of expenses will help you manage your budget effectively.


Keeping your clothes fresh and clean is important for your comfort and confidence during your cruise vacation. By considering the costs of laundry and dry cleaning services and exploring cost-saving strategies, you can maintain your wardrobe without overspending.


Onboard Medical Expenses

While nobody wants to think about getting sick or injured during a cruise vacation, it’s important to be prepared for any potential medical expenses that may arise. Cruise ships typically have medical facilities and a team of qualified medical professionals on board to provide care for passengers in case of illness or injury. However, it’s crucial to consider the potential costs associated with onboard medical services.


Medical services on a cruise ship are not included in the base fare and are considered separate expenses. These services can range from consultations and medications to diagnostic tests and even emergency procedures, depending on the severity of the medical situation.


If you require medical attention while on a cruise, the costs can be significant. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the cruise line’s medical fee structure to understand the potential charges. Some cruise lines charge a consultation fee, while others have different fees for various medical services.


To manage potential onboard medical expenses, consider the following tips:

  1. Review your health insurance coverage before your trip. Ensure that you have adequate coverage for medical emergencies while traveling, including coverage for onboard medical treatment and evacuation if necessary.
  2. Consider purchasing travel insurance that includes medical coverage. Travel insurance can provide additional financial protection and assistance in case of medical emergencies during your cruise.
  3. Take necessary precautions to stay healthy during your cruise, such as practicing good hygiene and getting vaccinated if required. This can help reduce the risk of illness and the need for medical attention.
  4. If you require specific medications, ensure that you bring an adequate supply for the duration of your cruise. It’s important to note that obtaining medications from the ship’s medical facility may come at an additional cost.

It’s worth noting that in case of a serious medical emergency, where onboard treatment is not sufficient, evacuation to a shoreside medical facility may be necessary. Emergency medical evacuations can be costly and may not be covered by regular health insurance. Therefore, having comprehensive travel insurance that includes medical evacuation coverage is essential.


Remember, while medical emergencies are uncommon during cruises, being prepared and informed about potential onboard medical expenses can help you make informed decisions and ease any worries during your vacation. By proactively managing your health and insurance coverage, you can enjoy your cruise with peace of mind.


Additional Onboard Activities and Entertainment

When cruising, the ship itself offers a plethora of activities and entertainment options to keep passengers entertained throughout their voyage. While many of these activities and shows are included in the cruise fare, it’s important to be aware that certain onboard experiences may come with additional costs.


Some cruise lines offer specialty activities or experiences that require an extra fee. These can range from wine tastings and mixology classes to fitness classes or art workshops. Additionally, certain entertainment options like onboard theater productions, comedy shows, or special guest performances may have premium seating options or require tickets for access.


It’s important to carefully review the cruise line’s offerings and pricing structure to determine which activities or entertainment options come with an additional cost. This will help you manage your budget and allocate your resources to the experiences that are most important to you.


To make the most of additional onboard activities and entertainment while managing costs, consider the following tips:

  1. Plan ahead and research the specific offerings and experiences available on your cruise. Take note of any additional fees associated with the activities or shows that interest you.
  2. Determine which activities are worth paying extra for and prioritize those experiences. Consider your personal interests and preferences to identify the activities that will truly enhance your cruise experience.
  3. Look for value packages or discounts that cruise lines offer. They may bundle certain activities together or provide discounted rates if you book multiple experiences in advance.
  4. Take advantage of the complimentary activities and entertainment options included in your cruise fare. Cruise ships typically offer a variety of free activities, such as poolside games, trivia contests, cooking demonstrations, and fitness classes.
  5. Consider exploring the port cities and participating in local activities or excursions, which may offer unique experiences at a lower cost than onboard offerings.

It’s important to strike a balance between participating in additional onboard activities and entertainment while managing your budget. By researching, planning, and prioritizing your preferences, you can make informed decisions about which experiences are worth the additional cost and create memories that align with your desires and financial goals during your cruise vacation.


Discretionary Spending

When it comes to budgeting for a cruise vacation, it’s important to account for discretionary spending – those extra expenses that are not essential but can enhance your overall experience. Discretionary spending includes various onboard purchases and activities that are not included in the base fare but can add value and enjoyment to your cruise.


Examples of discretionary spending on a cruise can include the following:

  • Alcoholic beverages: While some cruise lines include certain beverages in the base fare, others charge for alcoholic drinks. Enjoying cocktails, wine, or beer onboard can be a part of the cruise experience, but it’s important to consider the cost and budget accordingly.
  • Specialty coffees and soft drinks: Cruise ships often have coffee shops or lounges that offer specialty coffees and teas for an additional fee. Similarly, purchasing soft drinks or soda packages may come at an extra cost.
  • Casino gambling: If you enjoy gambling, budgeting for casino expenses is important. Playing in the onboard casino involves discretionary spending, as the odds are in favor of the house and it’s crucial to set a limit for yourself.
  • Spa and beauty services: Pampering yourself with spa treatments, massages, or salon services can be a delightful part of the cruise experience, but they do come with additional costs.
  • Shopping and souvenirs: Exploring onboard shops or purchasing souvenirs during port visits can be a tempting way to remember your cruise. However, it’s important to stay mindful of your budget to avoid overspending on unnecessary items.
  • Photography packages: Professional onboard photographers capture memories throughout your cruise, offering photo packages for sale. While these can be a beautiful memory keepsake, they are discretionary expenses that should be factored into your budget.
  • Additional dining options: While the main dining rooms are typically included in the cruise fare, specialty dining venues may require an extra fee. These restaurants offer unique dining experiences that can enhance your culinary journey while onboard.

To manage discretionary spending, it’s crucial to set a budget and prioritize what is most important to you. Carefully consider which experiences or purchases will truly enhance your cruise experience and allocate your funds accordingly. Being aware of these discretionary expenses upfront allows you to plan and make informed decisions, preventing any financial surprises.


Remember, discretionary spending should be approached with caution and thoughtful consideration. It’s all about finding the right balance between enjoying the amenities and experiences that enhance your cruise while staying within your budgetary limits. By practicing mindful spending, you can have an unforgettable cruise vacation without breaking the bank.