We are getting ready to go on our first cruise with our 11 and 14 year old. We are traveling on Royal Carribean (Western Carribean). I was wondering about all the hidden costs. Is it really "all inclusive"? I know alcohol isin't included but what about this beverage or soda package? Do you have to do a tour at the ports or can you just hang around the port area or explore on your own? Can you bring alcohol on the boat with you? Are the cafe's on the promanade areas free too or just the main dining room? Has anyone stayed in a Jr. Suite?
Any additional information would be great...Oh, I almost forgot, do we need to pack jackets etc. or formal clothes?
We just returned, and you have many questions! Our bill at the end without tip came to about seven hundred. It all depends on what you do on board. Do you gamble? That costs! Pictures are taken quite often by their professionals...that cost a lot if you decide to buy them. Excursions cost extra. Soda cards per person cost extra. Johnny Rockets and Baskin Robbins on board cost extra. You are not allowed to bring your own alcohol, but noone really checked that I remember. Our travel agent had champagne in our cabin when we got there. You do not have to leave the boat in ports if you do not want to. We took only one excursion. I brought sweaters for the dining room. It was chilly on deck at night....very windy. Check to see if you have formal nights...we had two. Everyone dresses nicely, but you can go to the cafe if you don't want to eat formally in the dining area. The cafes are always free. We did not stay in the Jr. Suite, but had two cabins. I think that answers your questions! I am jealous you are going...I want to go back!
Location: Wisconsin....about 100 miles south of the Frozen Tundra and 70 miles east of Camp Randall
Re: Added expenses
Cruises are not "all-inclusive" but if you plan and prepare your extra costs can be kept to a minimum.
If you or your kids drink lots of soda, buy the soda packages for all of you. But remember they are good only for fountain drinks, not those in cans. Milk, juice, lemonade, ice tea, regular coffee, water (not bottled) are all included in your fare. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic bar drinks are extra. You can have photos taken, but you do not have to buy any of the prints. Casino is extra. You can definitely get off the ship on your own at your ports and walk around, or arrange with a taxi or someone for a private tour of the island......ALWAYS negotiate your rate before you get in the vehicle. Most cruise lines will let you inconspicously bring a bottle or two of alcohol on board (hard liquor packed in your checked luggage) - most will allow you to carry on wine or champagne. You can even bring aboard your own bottled water and soda if you so choose. You are going on RCCL and I assume you are on one of the Voyager class ships (these ships have mini fridges in all cabins) - on other RCCL ships some cabins have mini fridges - others do not. If you choose to bring your own water and soda on board and prefer it chilled - bring a collapsible cooler and tip your room steward a little extra to keep it full of ice if you find out that your cabin does not have a mini fridge (call RCCL to make sure you do have one in your cabin.) If your kids are into video games and discover the game room - that is big extra bucks! You can have the pursers office program your kids sign and sail cards to be room passes and identification only - denying them the privelege of charging anything to the room account. Be aware that you should tip for your children the same as you would for yourself.
Have fun on your first cruise!
Carnival Breeze with Ray Band Aerogirl 5/4/14!
Thank you so much for responding to my message. I am just finding all these message boards and am hooked on reading about everyone's experiences. After I posted my message and did more research, I found out that there are a lot of little extra expenses but nothing we can't budget for and still have a good time.
How was your experience with the food? I have read some bad experiences but overall the food has been rated good to very good.
I noticed that you only went on one excursion...which one and how was it. We are stuggling with taking excursions vs. hanging out on the ship. I suppose on excursion days, the ship might not be as busy? Do they run the same entertainment/program schedule on those days?
Thanks again for all the info. I really appreciate it.
We went snorkling. It was great! A boat takes you and others to coral reefs and you get to snorkle about an hour before returning. You may have time to shop afterwards. Some islands weren't worth getting off the boat. The natives "attack" you soon as you get off trying to get you to go somewhere or to get your hair braided. Just politely turn them down and do your own thing. Some people took taxis around the island to get away from the tourist traps. Personally, I would have been happy not to go to any ports! I loved just staying on the ship. There aren't many entertaining things during the day anyway. Life goes on on the ship whether or not you leave it.
The last cruise we took as a family of 4 was a 7 nighter to Bermuda and our bill at the end of the cruise, minus gratuity, was under $150. We did not gamble and only bought one picture. As for drinks, we just stuck with the free flowing milk, lemonade, tea, and water. We brought our own bottled water for drinking in port. Our biggest expense was treating ourselves to some frozen drinks during the shows and while leaving port. This left us much more money to spend while in Bermuda.
The great things about cruises is that you can spend very little money while on board or spend a large amount. It just depends on your personal taste and finances. Make a budget and stick to it.
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Enchantment Of The Seas
Explorer of the Seas Winter Get Away -- back to the aft cabin
Zorina, the water is warm. We thought it was heaven. Where we are from OUR water is COLD , we thought it was warm everywhere( pools and beaches!)
We too spent very little money, don't gamble, don't buy a hundred pictures ( yes I know they are nice, but just choose one or two, you won't do much with them except show them to a few family and freinds and then put them aways some where, just buy a nice family formal shot that you can display) and don't get a lot of the ships overpriced shore excursions, those can add up into the hundreds very easily. Reaserch your ports, choose one or two must dos and read all about them, some are very easy to do on your own, just by getting a taxi or shuttle bus, and you will save hundreds of dollars.
When we cruised on Princess they let us bring on wine, and we ordered some rum from room service , it was way cheaper( 20$ abottle) to have a drink on our balcony each night then to go a lounge and drink. We did of course by a drink by the pool each day( who can resist frozen drinks by the pools!) but all in all our costs not including tips came to about 200 for a 7 day cruise.
Zorina, what are your ports of call? we can give you some good suggestions as what to do and which tour companies you should use.
Spa and salon services are extra, some excercise classess are extra.
Regular bar drinks cost about the same as you would pay at a nice restaurant or bar back home. Exotic drinks are more - buy those when they offer the drink of the day specials.
Read your ships paper every day for specials and bargains.
We usually buy 1 Formal family portrait and just a couple of candids
We buy the soda card.
"Virgin" drinks are Not included on the soda card.
Each person brings their own personal water bottle, fill it from the tap in the bathroom and chill it in the fridge.
Order breakfast from room service to have on your balcony
DH will need a suitcoat, dress pants, dress shirt/tie, dress shoes for formal night.
The boys can get away with dress pants, dress shirt/tie and dress shoes, if they have a suitcoat, bring it, if not don't worry about it, or you can pick one up really cheaply at your local thrift/consignment store or on EBay.
We play the slots a couple of times, that's about it.
Enroll your kids into the kids programs- they will love it.
tips ($10 per day/per person)
Johnny Rockets diner
lessons (golf) on board
We worked out that we usually spent between $50 and $61 per day/per person for all these extras! Enjoy your cruise.
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Our ports of call are Labadee, Ocho Rios Jamaica, George town, and Cozumel. We would love to do one excursion and one or two just get off the ship and hang around. Do you know which port has the most to see right near the ship? Thanks again for the info.
I was on the internet looking at the public photos people have posted. There were a lot of photos where in the main dining room everyone was dressed up. Do you have to get dressed up every meal there? I like the breakfast idea in the cabin on the balcony. Can you get away with wearing the same dress for a couple of the nights, will like sun dress with heeled sandels do? For DH is the suit coat and tie only for the formal nights or every night?
Zorina - in Jamaica i bet that you and your kids would have a blast at Dunns River Falls i would strongly suggest that you look into booking a tour with Peat Taylor - he is awesome and his prices are very reasonable. His web site is the same as his name.
Grand Caymen - most definatley do a trip with the Sting Rays-make sure you go to Sting Ray City/Sandbar - its awesome. Lots of great tour operators to choose from here. We have used Captain Marvin's in the past and loved him, again web site same as his name.
Cozumel -if you like to snorkel or want to try it, this is the place. If you want to experience some awesome snorkeling then book a Ship's excursion to the Palencaar Reef(this is one time that i will highly recommend a ships tours). If you want to hang out at the beach and do some snorkeling then just grab a cab to Channunkaab National Park - if you want to experience a dolphin swim - do it here- book it in advance as it sells out really fast. If you want to just hang out at the beach there are lots of great ones to choose from ( Paradise, Playa del Sol and Mr. Pancho's) If you want to explore Mayan Ruins- this will take up the better part of your day - book a ship's tour here as it takes some doing to get to the ruins, just to be on the safe side.
Dress Code question - on casual nights - dockers type pants a polo shirt, hawaiian print shirt or a button-down short-sleeve sport shirt casual shoes are the men/boys will need. As for you, sheath/sundress, capris and a nice top or dockers type pants with a nice shirt, and flat sandals will do you just fine.
Formal nights - dark suit,dress shirt,tie & dress shoes, or a nice sports jacket dress pants, dress shirt/tie & dress shoes for men
I usually pack one long sparkly dress for the first formal night as it the dressier of the two. For the second night i usually go with a dressy cocktail dress or dress suit.
You will see women in dressy pants with sparkly tops, or long dressy skirts with silky or sparkly tops also
Mix and match your separates to get more than one evenings wear out of them.
Pack a light shawl, wrap or sweater especially if your tops are sleevless or halter style.
I agree with Lisa we did Peat Taylor tour in Jamaica and Ocho Rios Falls, it was great and Peat will take you all around Jamaica. We are going back in June with our kids (17 years old) and plan the same tour. Also did Captain Marvins tour to see the stingrays, it s a short walk from where your boat docks, it was a great tour and we also had time to shop afterwards. We booked this tour again for June. We went to the Channunkaab National Park also, we rented snokle equiment and snokle here, but the water is very deep and I'm not a good swimmer, so I stay by the rocks where you get in at. I would love to do the dolphin swim,would like to have more details about it Lisa if you could did that to me.. We will be on the Navigator of the Seas in June(did you book throuhg the ship, we have always book through individuals but I don't know how to get this one book unless we book through the ship, also how much does it cost per person??
Zorina...my family and I did the river tube rafting when we were in Jamiaca...and we had a blasssssssstttttttt...the guides were awesome...the water is chilly..but it feels really good and oh so clear....my sons were drifting down the river with red stripe beers in there hands and they said it was paradise...we couldnt do the Dunns River tour because we have a handicap son that couldnt navigate the slippery water...we are not big drinkers..one drink a day...so that was not a big expense..i know you can get the tours cheaper off the ship...but i will tell you this..thank god we purchased them on the ship...we got off the ship to buy our tshirts because we didnt want to carry them with us in Cozumel..we were going on the ruins tour...and the klutz that i am..i didnt see these stairs and went sailing down them...and landed on my knee which of course swelled up and i had to go back to the ship..well the doctor wrote me a note that i couldnt walk..and we got our full money back for that...which if you add up for a family of five that is a quite bit of money...but overall...my family had such a wonderful time that we are searching for another cruise...and my daughter is hooked on cruising...she loved loved loved the teen club...hope this helps...can we come with you guys lol...have a wonderful time