6 Tips For Cruise Budgeting

13801_10151334021215513_1955210393_n You booked your cruise; it’s paid in full and your ready to sail away with that fruity concoction in your hand. A lot of folks book their cruise and think that it’s paid for but have no concept of the extra expenses that you’ll incur during your sailing.

Here are 6 cruise budget tips.

1. Shipboard gratuities. Better yet, it’s a lot easier if you prepay your ship gratuities. They will run you approximately $11 per person, per day. For your convenience most cruise lines will automatically charge the gratuities for the duration of the cruise when you board.

2. Excursions. Don’t be misled; excursions are not included in your cruise. Depending on the region you’re headed, you’ll want to give yourself around $50 to $100 per port for excursions. If you think the cruise lines are a little too pricey consider using a third party shore excursion company like Shore Excursions Group.

3. Bank hold. I think we all have made this mistake (or known someone who has). When you use your debit card when you board they hold funds on your card for the length of your cruise. Every cruise line is different.

On my last Holland America sailing they held $60 per day, I was on a 10 day cruise so it froze up the account for $600. Bank holds can also lower your credit line because the money is tied up during your voyage.

Consider using a cash deposit (you can always get it back) or using a pre-paid Visa card.

4. Port transportation and parking. Depending on the port you may want to purchase the airport transfer from the cruise line, if you think it’s a little to pricey look into a shared ride with a company like Go Shuttle.

If you’re driving in you’ll want to allot $20 per day for port parking. Our suggestion is to find a port-parking alternative. You can read more about them here.

5. Alcohol. This is a given but unless you’re sneaking booze on, you’ll want to give yourself money to spend at the bar. It’s a safe bet to say $7 to $10 per drink. Depending on your drink of choice.

6. Shopping. You will find all sorts of knick-knacks and shot glasses at your ports of call. You know your spending habits better than me so give yourself money to buy ten feet of rope gold or that puka shell necklace.

While saving space on the debit or credit card for purchases is always a good bet, sometimes a pre-paid credit card works out better and gives you more control of your budget. Having that sign and sail card linked to your personal bank account can be dangerous under the right circumstances (drunk in the casino). Happy cruising!

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