Guest blogger Anna Bilbrough Skamarakas lives in Bellmawr, NJ with an interesting collection of children, pets, and a husband. When she’s not packing and unpacking suitcases, she can be found blogging at www.beautygirlsmom.com or studying at Rutgers University, Camden, NJ.
If you’ve been pricing a cruise vacation, you may be overwhelmed by the huge price range for staterooms. When you see the extras you might also want to include, you may be wondering just what’s worth paying for. Where should you spend money when it comes to cruising?
Let’s start with staterooms. Unless you are booking a suite or deluxe cabin, nearly all the stateroom are identical. You’ll have the same amount of room, storage, and bathroom features. Outside cabins will offer a porthole or verandah, and if you plan to use your room often, you may want to spend extra money here.
Shore excursions can add quite a bit to your cruise budget, but if it’s your first time visiting a port, I recommend a shore excursion. An excursion booked through your cruise line is a good way to see some of the local sights, and it guarantees that you will not have to worry about being late to get back onboard. The ship will not wait for you if you wander off on your own or book an independent tour and return late. If the plan is just to disembark and do some shopping or hit the beach, you should be fine without a ship’s tour. But if you really want to see the sights, stay with a group.
Other things you may want to consider purchasing are soda packages or gourmet coffee cards. The soda packages allow adults to drink unlimited soda on ships where anyone of legal drinking age is charged per soda. The gourmet coffee cards usually reward you with a free drink after you purchase a specified number.
Meals at specialty restaurants are often memorable dining experiences. If you’re sticking to a budget, however, you won’t go hungry! Splurge on a port excursion or souvenir, and stick with the meals offered free in the dining room or buffet.
You can absolutely take a cruise and pay only the price you see quoted in advertisements. Reign in spending on upgraded cabins, limit shore excursions, and stick to the dining rotation. Cruising can be one of the most affordable vacations you’ll ever take.