few tips for first time cruisers!
No pay, no gain. There are many opportunities to exercise on a ship and a few are free -- like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, swimming in the pool, or attending a stretch and tone class -- but the good classes come with a price tag. If you want to take a pilates, yoga or kick boxing, for instance, most lines charge $10 per session.
Eating pretty for a price. Sure, they're intimate and generally offer better service and higher quality food than the main dining room (which is part of the cruise fare), but you pay for what you get. Over the last year or two, most lines have quietly raised the cost of their specialty restaurants to $30 per person (not including drinks).
Five's a crowd. An appealing option for bargain shoppers, families and groups of friends who are really, really close, is to pack five into a standard cabin. A few ships offer cabins for five, including some Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line ships, as well as the Disney's two liners. Otherwise, your options are booking larger suites that sleep more or booking two cabins.
It's over ...NOW. On the last morning of the cruise, be prepared to be booted from your cabin bright and early (8am is typically the hour). Cruise lines want you to skedaddle so that the cleaners can tidy up your room ASAP for the next round of passengers who will board an hour or two after you leave. Even if your ship hasn't been cleared by customs, or hasn't even hit docks yet, passengers are asked to vacate their room early and hang out somewhere else on the ship to play the waiting game. No fun.
Drink up ...for a price. With the exception of the handful of high-end lines (Silversea, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn and SeaDream), bottled water, sodas and booze are not free (exceptions include Disney, which offers free fountain soda, and Crystal which offers free non-alcoholic stuff). Watered-down juices are free at meal times, but otherwise you'll pay for those too.
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