Things Cruise Lines Don't Want You to Know

cruise line cruising Sep 11, 2023
cruise ship

Things Cruise Lines Don't Want You to Know


Welcome back to Byte Size Cruises! Today we are going to go over a few things that cruise lines don’t tell you (and probably don’t want you to know.) Let’s get right into it.


  1. The advertised price is NOT your final price.

See an amazing price for a cruise online? Buyers beware. Most likely, the price you see is not the price you will pay for that cruise. The price you see advertised will be for the lowest price at the lowest tier cabin with no extras, taxes or gratuities included. Beyond the fact that cruising with no extras wouldn’t be much of a vacation, taxes and gratuities will always force the price up a few hundred dollars. This is one thing we don’t love about the way cruises are set up. From a marketing standpoint, it makes sense that they show the low price to get you to click, and technically it is the starting price. However if you aren’t prepared for the extra charges it can definitely leave a bad taste in your mouth by the time you get to the end of your booking and the cost has doubled due to upgrades, drink packages, etc. 


  1. Ports are NOT guaranteed. 

A cruise itinerary may have several ports scheduled for your time at sea. However in the case of bad weather or other circumstances, the schedule may change without notice. In this case, you may wind up rerouting or skipping a port all together. Most often this occurs due to safety reasons. If there is a major storm or hurricane, you may wind up in a different location altogether. This is a good reason to make sure that when you are picking a cruise vacation, make sure you are choosing both the ship and the itinerary, not just the itinerary. Choose a ship you won’t mind spending time on in case of bad weather and you wind up spending a day at sea rather than at port. 


  1. You get nickel and dimed.

There is no getting around this; on a cruise ship, they’ll always be trying to sell you stuff. Whether it’s souvenirs, upgrades, photos, specials, etc. etc. you will constantly be asked if you want to purchase something. There are a few exceptions, for example, Virgin doesn’t really do this, but for the most part once you step on the ship there are going to be people asking you to buy things. Know your budget ahead of time and never feel bad saying “No, thanks.”


  1. They will NOT wait. 

When the ship says they are leaving, they are leaving, whether or not you are on the ship. They will leave you behind at a port if you are not back to the ship on time. You must keep in mind, you are one person in a crowd of four to eight thousand people all getting on and off a ship. If you are left behind, it is then your responsibility to either get to the next port or to get home. If you leave the ship at port, make sure to keep track of the time and keep your watch on you. Give yourself plenty of extra time to get back to the ship on time. 


  1. Tips and gratuities are NOT included.

Keep in mind that tips for the waitstaff, bartenders, cleaning staff, etc. are not included in the price of your cruise. This will be between $15 to $20 per person, per day and remember, if you sign up for a special drink package or go to a specialty dinner there will be gratuities added to that as well. The cost for the gratuities will show up daily on the cruise app and you can pay them daily or at the end of your vacation.


  1. Pick a SHIP not an itinerary. 

We briefly mentioned this, but make sure you pick the right ship. Remember, cruising itineraries can change without notice due to weather, safety, etc. and if that happens you may spend far more time on the ship than you originally planned. Make sure you choose a ship that has the bells and whistles you’re looking for so in the case of a day at sea, you’re happy to spend the time there. 


  1. There IS a jail on the ship.

While it does not look like a prison you would find on land, there is a secured area on the ship with rooms that lock. These are used for anyone needing to be separated from the rest of the travelers due to safety, acting inappropriately, fighting, etc. 


  1. People DO go missing or overboard.

This will not be advertised by the cruise lines but it does happen. Here’s the positive: it is nearly impossible to accidentally fall overboard on a cruise ship. The railings are specifically designed for passenger safety and make it extremely challenging to fall off the ship. If you go overboard, there are only a few reasons why: you wanted to go overboard, you had help going overboard, or you had too much to drink and made the poor choice to climb the safety railings. Out of the millions of people who cruise per year and out of them, only twenty or so jump ship. 


  1. Cancellation policies are STRICT and always in the cruise line’s favor.

This is something that is not talked about a lot (for obvious reasons) but is something to keep in mind when booking a cruise. This is one of the reasons why we recommend travel insurance. If something happens right before your vacation, such as an illness or a family emergency, unless you have purchased cruise insurance you will not get a refund or be able to transfer your travel dates. Get cruise insurance! Be aware of the cancellation policies and make sure you understand them before booking. 


Those are some of the things cruise lines do NOT want you to know! Anything you would add? What are your thoughts? Comment below! We would love to hear from you.  


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