Saturday, March 8, 2014

Cruise Recap : Purchases : Is it worth it?

To read other posts in this series, start here.

Cruise lines have this vacation thing down. They sell you a "ticket" that includes your room, travel costs, and food for your vacation. They will take you to these great Ports of Call, and you can relax to your hearts content. But how do cruise lines make their money? By adding "specialty" things. 

First up is alcohol. If you choose to drink, you will pay a pretty penny for it. Though RCI has a beverage package which allows you to purchase a package at the start of your cruise for unlimited drinks. There are of course a few "catches" to it, so be sure to read the fine lines. For C and I, the package was not worth it because we are not huge drinkers. We bought drinks just by the glass. 

Alcohol isn't the only drink you will pay for. If you drink soda, be prepared to pay for that as well. If you are a major soda drinker, you might consider buying the soda package. On Freedom of the Seas, they had the Coke Freestyle machines, so you were able to refill your specific cup up every 15 minutes. We bought one of these, and it was worth it for me because I was a constant soda drinker last year. 

Specialty coffee is also a cost. The Freedom had Starbucks, so you had to pay for it. There were other speciality restaurants like a cupcake shop, and Ben & Jerry's that you are charged for. We didn't use any of these 3 while on this cruise. 

Speciality restaurants are up next. Freedom has 3, Portifino's, the Italian place, Chops, the steak house, and Johny Rockets, the burger joint. All 3 are charged at a flat fee. We ate at Chops, and it was so worth it. The food was amazing, and I high recommend that you order the red velvet cake. Holy yummy.I believe it was $35 a person. We also ate at Johnny Rockets. It is all you can eat. The charge for it was about $5 a person, so we ate there several times. For us, both of the speciality restaurants were totally worth it. If you are celebrating a special occasion, I really suggest going to a speciality restaurant if you can afford it. 

Obviously excursions are an added cost. We didn't do any on this trip, but we plan to on the next one. They are a little costly. Several people suggest booking an excursion through someone other than RCI. I personally do not agree. I would prefer to make sure I have proper transportation to and from the excursion and know that the people in charge know about the times of leaving ships. I personally will probably only book through RCI for excursions. 

Photos are a huge cost. There will be someone with a camera every time you turn around. They charge crazy prices for pictures. Though RCI now does digital pictures. C and I took our picture every chance we got so at the end of the cruise we had 270+ and we bought the unlimited digital prints for around $300, which is about what it would cost if we had professional pictures done at home, only it would have been for a few hours and we wold only get like 20 images. For us, it worked out to be a great cost saver. We plan on doing this for all future cruises. 

There is a chance to spend money every time you turn around. From RCI gear, to the shops on board. For us personally, some things were worth it while others weren't. It is really based on your preference and what you feel you can afford. I will suggest to beware of the $10 sale that most ships have. The jewelry that they sell is not the greatest quality and can quickly break. My thoughts are pack half as many clothes as you think you will need and twice the money. 

1 comment:

  1. I've never been on a cruise but these are some great tips to keep in mind! We are going to Jamaica in a week and I am so looking forward to the fact that it's all-inclusive so hopefully we won't spend hardly anything once we're there!



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