Travel and cruise questions are some of the frequently asked items that come into our inbox. Recently, I answered this question on air with a Baton Rouge area news station. One thing I realized during the interview is that the time was way too short to get all the juicy details mentioned. If you’re planning your first cruise, these tips may help save you a few dollars.
Q: When travelers book a cruise, what exactly are they paying for?
Every cruise line is different, but most include the same basics – your cabin, meals (at certain restaurants and some cruise lines include room service), taxes, tea and water, some entertainment and limited child care. You can opt to book your shore excursions in advance and pay for gratuities ahead of time. This eliminates the bulk of your cruise costs so your can relax and not have to worry about major expenses.
Q: What are some common mistakes people make when cruising?
Sitting by the pool and ordering drinks can really add up. So can the professional photo ops located around the cruise ship.
Q: Some families bring their kids on a cruise. What about childcare and kid’s activities?
First, be aware that all cruise lines (except Disney) do not change diapers, so if you’re little one isn’t potty trained, you cannot use the childcare onboard. Also, be sure to check with the cruise line before booking, but most do not allow children under 6 months of age to cruise. Kids clubs vary by cruise line, but those most conducive to families are Carnival Cruise Line (Camp Carnival), Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean. On sea days, kids activities are included in your cruise rate, but during the evening hours and port days there will be extra charges for the under 12 age group. Read what my teen and tween had to say about kids cruising on the Carnival Fantasy.
Q: Do you have any advice to help travelers save money or any tips when cruising?
Again, watch the alcohol intake. Check individual cruise line rules, but you ARE allowed to bring aboard a certain amount of soft drinks, bottled water, and limited bottles of wine or Champagne per cabin. Set charging limits for your children (or even yourself if you’re worried about overdoing it). For couples wanting to AVOID kids, choose a cruise line such as Princess (the Love Boat cruise line) for a romantic cruise or cruise when school is in session. A secret term in the industry is Dead Week – the week after Thanksgiving and the week after New Year’s. These are some of the best times to cruise as there are free upgrades, onboard credit specials, and all around deals. Be sure to check out ThemeParkMom’s tips for saving money on a cruise.
Q: What are some other resources for cruise tips?
Besides TravelingMamas.com, my two favorite cruise sites are CruiseDiva.com and CruiseCritic.com. If you’re searching for a way to give back while on your cruise, be sure to check out TogetherforGood.org and Cruise4Haiti.
Previously published on Traveling Mamas.