These Mistakes Might Be Costing You Big Bucks on a Cruise

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Stephanie is a cherished member of the Sampling America writing team, dedicated to crafting captivating narratives that transport readers to thrilling adventures across the country and beyond.

Cruises are often touted as a way to save money on a vacation. They say that booking an all-inclusive cruise lets you see the best destinations in the world without spending significant money.

But often, newbie travelers can fall victim to these easy mistakes that might cost them more money. Follow our tips and tricks to avoid these financial blunders on your cruises.

Buying Too Many Shore Excursions

Winery in Italy
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Most cruises will stop at a port for at least half a day and up to two days. While it might be tempting to get off the boat for the entire time and jam-pack the schedule with museum visits, hikes, and tours, they can often get a little redundant.

For example, when stopping in Italy, the wine tasting can be extensive and full of knowledge. Instead of trying to visit multiple wineries in a rush and paying the fees at each one, pick one winery and take your time sipping and exploring the vineyards.

Save your cash and stick to one main activity for each destination. 

Buying a Drinks Package

People Drinking on a Cruise Ship
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Buying an expensive drink package is worth it. On the first day of a cruise, it can be tempting to dump your bags and head straight to the aft deck for drinks and popcorn shrimp.

But beware, the packages can run anywhere from $65 per day per person on a Carnival Cruise Line to $138 per person on a Norwegian Cruise Line, not including the gratuity and tip. When a single beer costs as much as $6.50, some people would throw their money away by paying for a drink package.

Especially when factoring in going off the boat during stops to explore the local food and drinks, a drink package might only be worth it for a day or two on board.

For those who don’t partake in alcohol, they can consider saving even more by participating in a booze-free cruise

Buying a Soda Package

Teens Drinking Soda
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On a cruise, pop and soda packages are usually a massive waste of money. At upwards of $15 a day for unifiable refills, this is too much sugar for one kid.

A single soda will cost around $3, so consider giving your kids $15 each at the beginning of the cruise to purchase their drinks at their discretion. This way, they’ll most likely ration the money and keep the sugary drinks to a reasonable amount.

Forgetting Toiletries or Essentials

Suit on a Cruise Ship
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Unlike hotels that will provide their guests with freebies like toothbrushes, razors, and even hair tools, cruise lines know that the guests onboard are a captive audience. They can get away with charging whatever they want in their stores because passengers don’t have any other buying options.

Forgetting essential items on a cruise can be the cause of buying over-priced items in their stores and commissaries. Instead, write yourself a list of any essentials you might need, or even bring a few extras onboard for your friends or family.

Not Using Travel Points

Man Using a Credit Card
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Using the points from a travel credit card can be one of the best ways to cut back on the price of a cruise, the flight, and even pre-boarding accommodations. 

Instead of using credit card points for smaller ticket items like short flights or single hotel nights, save the points for one big trip. Most credit card providers will allow you to redeem your points for the cruise itself.

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