Thinking about going on a cruise, but not sure what’s included? These top tips takes the mystery guides you from booking to boarding
1. BOOK AHEAD TO GET A GOOD DISCOUNT
You’ll also get the cabin you’d like in the location you want, and you might even get upgraded. Book close to the sailing date and you may get a low price but you probably won’t get the cabin or location you’d like.
2. WHAT THE COST OF A CRUISE TELLS YOU
Not only will the amount you are prepared to spend determine the size, location and style of your accommodation, but it will also offer guidance as to the ship’s ambience, the type of passengers and the degree of luxury you can expect.
3. CRUISE BROCHURES
As brochures are printed a year ahead it is best to check whether oil and other fuel costs have risen in the interim – a fuel surcharge may be imposed, in addition to the printed fare.
4. WHAT’S INCLUDED?
Your fare will typically cover your cabin, meals, entertainment, activities and service on board. It generally won’t include alcoholic beverages, laundry, dry cleaning or valet services, shore excursions, meals ashore, gratuities, port charges, cancellation insurance, and optional on-board activities. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule, such as some small ships (those with fewer than 600 passengers) where just about everything is included.
5. WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
Excursions – From sight-seeing to cross-country, four-wheel drive trips, mountain biking and zip lining, there are almost limitless options when it comes to excursions. But be aware that it’s possible to spend far more on shore excursions than on the price of your cruise.
Alternative Resturants – If you want to give the large dining areas a miss, there’ll be a choice of smaller, à la carte venues to choose from. You will need to make a reservation and there will be an extra charge.
Before you go, do take out full cancellation insurance as cruises must be paid for in full before your tickets are issued.
6. QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR TRAVEL AGENT
When making a booking, there are key points that should be covered:
- What size cruise ship do they recommend and why?
- What kind of accommodation would suit my taste and budget?
- How much should you budget for the cruise and what is included in its price?
- Realistically, what extra costs can you expect to have to pay for?
- Which destinations are included in the itinerary and how long can you expect to spend at each?
- What kind of food and style of service does the ship provide?
- What is the on board ambience like?
- Exactly what facilities does the ship have and what excursions are on offer?
7. FOR SINGLE CRUISERS ON A BUDGET
If you are travelling alone and want to pay just half what it would cost for a double-occupancy cabin, look for a line that offers a share programme. The cruise line will try to find another passenger of the same sex to share your cabin and if they can’t, you might get the cabin to yourself at no extra charge.
Choosing the right cruise line and itinerary can be a daunting task, even for seasoned travellers. To help guide you, please visit our travel partner – the Association of Cruise Experts (ACE).
ACE is the leading association of cruise travel agents in the UK, representing thousands of cruise experts. They can help you make the right choices and ensure you have the very best cruise experience.