Cruising is a fantastic way to explore multiple destinations in one quick tour. You can get a good feel of the places that you would want to go back to and possibly spend some more time in and of course, the places that, for that day alone, were probably enough and you do not need to go back.
Many people see deals online and specials for cruising. It’s important to be aware of the costs of cruising that are on top of the advertised price. In our office, whenever we are quoting a Cruise, we do the clients a favor and make sure that we can include absolutely everything.
We get the question “but that’s not the price that’s online“. You’re correct.
Of course one of the million advantages of trusting a travel advisor with your booking, knowing all the details are covered and there are no surprises.
Keeping in mind port taxes, prepaid gratuities beverage packages, and excursions…. There are many different extra costs to be aware of. A beverage package is always a good idea as most alcoholic beverages on a ship are double what you would pay at home. If you want a coffee outside of the typical café and restaurant hours, you are going to have to purchase that coffee.
Making sure you are covered before you get on board is essential and avoiding those bills at the end that make you say "when did I have 5 martinis?"
Something to keep in mind, you are “allowed” 2 bottles of wine or champagne to enjoy in your stateroom if brought on in your carry-on.
Wi-Fi. Yes, Wi-Fi at sea is an art in navigation itself, however, Royal Caribbean hosts the strongest Wi-Fi connection I have had at sea. It is an additional cost, or for a cost-saving measure, wait until you are in port and pick up a local hotspot.
Most food of course is included but there are always exceptions to that. The gourmet restaurants, the sushi restaurants, and the big-name restaurants always come at a cost. Keep that in mind when planning your cruise.
Specialty restaurants are always a hit and of course, offer an elevated dining experience apart from the typical dining venues included in the cruise fare.
Wonderland on Royal Caribbean offers an Alice in Wonderland type of experience, with a menu made visible only by your paintbrush and some magic water.
Jamie Oliver delivers up a Tuscan-themed restaurant with a drool-worthy pasta menu at Jamies Italian, selected by the chef himself.
And my personal favorite, Chops Grille, a sinful steak restaurant that even this red meat-avoiding traveler enjoyed. Tuna tartare and crab cakes to start with and a main of Branzino was the perfect meal.
Some things to take advantage of on the days that you are in port. Last week when I was on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines- Ovation of the Seas, they had IFly indoor skydiving. It was complementary while in Port but did have a fee while sailing.
For adventure, you have an elevated experience in exploration on Ovation of the Seas. RipCord IFly indoor skydiving, FlowRider surf simulator, rock climbing, and the North Star suspending you 300 feet above sea level. As well for the entire family, bumper cars, movies, an arcade, Xbox room close to the hot dog restaurant, and an ice cream machine to top it off.
And finally, how do you avoid the ever-looming seasickness? I can tell you first hand, stateroom placement is everything. The higher the floor, the more you feel and the further towards the front of the ship, you will feel much more motion. Aim for the sweet spot in the middle of the deck if possible and always take a peek at the deck plans to see what is located below you or above you.
One summer on a family cruise through Europe, we had the piano bar below us for a week. I can tell you the piano bar starts getting busy around 10 pm and calls it quits around 2. And to this day, I can sing every song on the set
Staterooms on Ovation are fantastic, with plenty of storage, USB outlets, and more than enough plugs. I promise you this is not the norm in cruising. The bathroom is large enough to function in and the main sitting area with a sofa that transforms into a double trundle bed and a workstation with a desk is convenient.
The service was incredible, all staff seemed happy to go above and beyond to make the experience more enjoyable.
Cruising is a wonderful style of travel, not for everyone but absolutely worth a try. Let me know your favorite cruise line and destination.