Personally I always prepay my gratuities, shore excursions and pre-order alcohol, which cuts out on expenses. I figure the more I pre-pay, the less out of pocket when I am ready to set sail.
Cruise spending money factors to consider:
1. Drinking. Depending on how much you drink on vacation depends on how much money you should put into the daily budget. Lets just say every drink costs $8, if you’re good for five drinks a day, consider $40 per person.
Tip: Pre-order your alcohol with the cruise lines bon voyage packages. It’s more expensive than the liquor store but cheaper than per-drink.
2. Gambling. Only you know this answer to this. A lot of it depends on your personality at the gaming table and how much you go in wanting to spend. Casinos are the cruise lines big money maker so once they lure you in, you’re in, and sometimes can be impossible to leave. You gotta know when you hold em, know when to fold em….
Come to think of it, it may even be better to keep your cruise spending money and your play money separate!
3. Gratuities. If you pre-pay this then it won’t be an issue, but if not, expect the gratuity around $11.50 per-person per-day. Depending on the cruise line this will be added on as soon as you set up your registration at the pier or day by day as the cruise goes on.
Tip: You can make adjustments to your gratuities at the front desk if you want to pay everyone cash instead of it being billed to your onboard spending account.
4. Shore excursions. You have a couple options when it comes to shore excursions, you can pre-pay them when you book your cruise, get from a third-party shore excursions company like Shore Excursions Group or do the port completely on your own.
Tip: Before you sail make sure you sign-up for the Roll Call board on Cruise Critic, you can pick your ship and sailing and see who is on there. A lot of times group excursions are planned and it’s a lot cheaper.
5. Spending money. Give yourself extra money for cab fares in port, a beer at the local pier, lunch at a seaside café or a can’t-live-without knick-knack.
Tip: Use websites like Cruise Critic or Trip Advisor to learn about the ports of call you’ll be visiting.
6. Specialty restaurants. Depending on what cruise line you go with you can be charged $5- to $40 for a specialty dining venue. Some cruise lines let you pre-pay so if you think you’ll want to treat yourself or have a special occasion then consider prepaying or if anything, make early reservations.
When it’s all said and done I factor in $100 per day for my sailings. If you want to keep track of your spending and not link your sail card to your bank account then consider getting a pre-paid credit card. It will help regulate your spending and won’t drain your bank account when you’re hot on lady luck in the casino.
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