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Old 05-09-2012, 05:54 PM
Location: Olympus Mons, Mars
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I have never taken a cruise ever but I am thinking about taking the plunge soon enough. Questions -

how much extra over the cruise price would one need to allocate (EXCLUDING any onshore activities - purely tips/drinks/other onboard exp I don't know of etc.)... are waiters tipped on a per drink basis or daily basis?

Is a Inside cabin all that bad? I am not the claustrophobic type. The window cabins on some cruises are about 30-40% extra, is it worth the cost?

How good/bad is the regular food? I know this is dependent on the cruise company but as a general rule.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:00 PM
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The answer to almost all of these questions really depends on the cruise line.

You need to tell us that, and then we can give you lots of info.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:33 PM
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
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Expect to pay apx 1/3 more of your cruse costs, in bar, extras, tips...

The Food in the main dinning room is good quility, portion size are small, but they will contine bring you more, just ask. The buffet are ok, not great, The 5 Star (cost extra) are very good,

You pay for drinks/soda in all places, coffee/tea/water/ice tea/lemonade are free. Inside cabin are not 2 bad, I;ve had them, if you only use the room for sleeping it not realy a issue. If you are one who wants 2 spend allot of time in the room, a outside i better.

Just be aware they are looking for you to spend $'s from you and ways for you to spend every second of the day. From starbuck coffee, ice cream, pizza, pictures on the mall deck.

Last edited by flyonpa; 05-09-2012 at 09:10 PM..
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:41 PM
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
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o.. tips. Bar & pool drinks, they add the tip in the costs so there is no need to tip.
Room Stewart, your Main dinning room waiter, his/her asst, and the main dinning Maître all get tip'ed at the end. Most ship allow you to add it set amount to your room tab (by default), but you can request they not do that and they will give you envelope, so you can do it personally.

Bar, At end of cruse if a bar tender was real good a nice extra tip is nice.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:12 PM
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Check out Cruise Critic. It is a site about all cruises and has a forum dedicated to each cruise line. You can learn a lot about what to expect from them.

Everyone has their own individual likes but I personally would not go on a cruise for more then a few days unless I had a balcony. I like the extra spacious feeling it gave the room as well as the option for some great sea air. I find most cruises to be a lot of hustle and bustle so I do enjoy some room time.
Once you choose what trip you might want to make, you can go to the cruises website and do a virtual tour of the ship and see what excursions are available. Although I am not sure if they all publish the cost of them online.
We never had any complaints about the food in the main dining rooms as as mention above, you can order as much as you want. The buffets get a little messy - especially the breakfast buffet. I think most lines now have a few upscale restaurants that you must pay an additional fee to eat in. The bar drinks are costly and mixed drinks often watered down so we stick to wine or beer when having a drink. Hope this helps.
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Old 05-10-2012, 04:30 AM
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Some of the above are wrong answers depending on the cruise line you are talking about. Some lines are all inclusive where you don't pay extra for drinks, including most alcohol. Some give free soft drinks and specialty coffees and only charge for alcohol. Some give free soft drinks and juice, but not specialty coffees.

Some don't have a suggested daily gratuity scheme, tips are included. Others bill the suggested daily tips directly to your on board account. Some give you the suggested daily amount but leave it up to you to handle it.

Some cruise lines are known for exceptional dining, some are known for basically offering someplace between cafeteria and banquet type food.

Some ships don't have balconies at all, some don't have inside cabins at all.

Some don't charge extra for the upscale/alternative restaurants, some have a fee that can top $75 per person.

The big question--what is your budget and where would you like to cruise to?
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:00 PM
Location: Fredericksburg, Va
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Most 1st time cruisers will spend about 1/2 of the cost of the cruise in "incidentals"....excursions are probably one of the most expensive items. You can research your ports and do things on your own....a guidebook is the best resource for travel!

All but the true "luxury" lines will charge for alcohol and most charge for soda. Some lines will allow you to bring wine...none allow other types of alcohol to be brought aboard. Most will allow a small amount of soda.

All drink purchases, whether alcohol or soda will have 15% added to the cost as the tip. No need to tip additionally. All lines have recommended tip amounts to cover your room attendant, waiter, ass't. waiter and head waiter (except for those luxury lines!!!)...and most lines add those gratuities to your bill. Some lines will allow you to pay them in cash on the last evening of the cruise.

You will never go hungry on a cruise, but don't expect 4-star dining.....think more along the lines of Outback, Chilis, Ruby Tuesday, etc....sort of cuisine! There is ample food, and they try to plate it so it looks appealing...and it's not bad...just not Ruth Chris or Mortons!!!
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:58 PM
Location: Louisiana and Pennsylvania
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As mentioned by others, alcohol, sodas, espressos, etc will be extra. You can buy "packages" for these items.

When we went on a Royal Caribbean Med cruise last year. Coffee, tea (hot) was free and unlimited, as well as some snacks. While I did have a couple of beers a day on the ship, I limited them to 2. Beer in port was much cheaper. Additionally, if you bring any alcohol back from a port stop, you will have to check it in and it will be held for you until the last day.

The food, at least on our cruise was enjoyable and the selection was vast. The main dining for all meals was buffet style and there was also a formal dining room for dinner. Additionally, I believe there were 3 or 4 upscale restaurants, but you had to pay extra. We simply stuck with the buffet and did the formal dining for a few nights.

Tips are included, but if you had a server, bartender, etc who you feel went above and beyond, don't hesistate to tip them extra.

The rooms were small, but comfortable. You can pay extra for a window or larger room, but honestly, we simply used the extra money to enjoy our trip in other ways. The bathrooms were the size of a closet, but manageable.

One way to really save is not using the phone that is provided in the room for long distance calls (a huge ripoff). You won't get charged for calling the front desk or room service, but any calls off ship are usually charged an extra fee, in addition to other charges.

As for your cell phone, If you are going overseas or to US territories, it may be a good idea to get a temporary international plan through your carrier for use in the airports, etc. You can de-activate it once you get back home.

I highly advise against using your phone on the ship, as the roaming charges are outrageous. These little charges and fees can add up real fast. My wife and I only called home once when we landed in Europe and on the way back. Now, occasional texting on board shouldn't be that expensive, in moderation. Overall, though, it felt great to be "disconnected" from the internet and constant phone use for a week.

I also wanted to add that the gift shops on ship are very high as well. Souveneirs, trinkets and other items will be much cheaper in port.

So go ahead and take the plunge. I'm sure you will enjoy it. I can't wait to go on our next one.

Last edited by Gil3; 05-10-2012 at 03:09 PM..
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:34 PM
Location: Fredericksburg, Va
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The dining room is also avail. for breakfast, and most lunches, except on port days. Do try that...it's much nicer than the buffet for breakfast!
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:31 AM
Location: Long Island, NY
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I did a Royal Caribbean cruise to Cozumel (4 days) and spent about $250 on incidentals (liquor, tips and tshirts at the gift shop). (that was the tab that appeared on our TV screen when I checked out of the cabin). I spent maybe $50 at Cozumel for just food and toward a jeep rental (I went w my husband and 2 friends so it's cheaper with group rates). RC charges for alcohol but the prices arent too bad ($4.50 for a fruity cocktail, $2 for beer I think). The tips are extra though, I would budget at least 10-15% of your daily room rate for that (CruiseCritic.com forums have a ton of threads on how to calculate tips).
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