My girlfriend and I are going on a cruise for the first time on the Monarch of the Seas, this Spring Break. The ship departs on Feb. 28th, for a 4-night cruise around the Bahamas. I've done a little browsing around the web, but I figured it might be better just to ask outright if any experienced cruisers have any advice. We're both your typical college students, so we're hoping to be as cost effective as possible, as well.
A few things I've been wondering...
How much to realistically allot for "other" costs, not included in the price. What restaurants aren't included, any activities, tips, etc... I can't seem to find a list anywhere of what's included. Is it just the buffet? Are all the named restaurants extra? And how "required" is tip. Yes we plan on tipping, we're not that big of cheapskates, but the site seemed to make it seem like it's mandatory, and I'd like to actually see the service first...
I know the casino and spa are extra too, but I assume they're is plenty of do that's included in cost right? Anybody know in particular?
What about souvenirs and such? Like I said, we're not looking to spend much extra, but I was hoping they'd have a model of the ship (I'm big into architecture and design, and the sheer scale and design of the ships themselves intrigues me). They ship also stops, and we might pick up some island goodies. Do they haggle like in Jamaica, or is what the shops list final?
Anything to know about formal night? Any extra things to bring in particular? Maybe some handy life-hacks?
Thanks in advance, and sorry for the wall of text. Bit anxious is all.
You can have a good time with free on board things to do. Except for specialty restaurants, the buffet and main dining room are included in the cost. For formal night, just bring a nice outfit, the food will be great, and for the memory, get your pictures done (at extra cost, but not obligated to buy). Shows are free. The daily tipping is automatic on your bill, $10 or $12 a day, it's split amongst cabin attendants as well as many behind the scene workers. The alcoholic drinks are about $8 each, only non carbonated beverages are free. Excursions on the shore are offered at a cost,but often can be booked from local vendors cheaper than booking on board,( but if you are late getting back on board, the ship will leave without you.)
Correction - RCL does not automatically add you gratuities unless you are using MTD. A bit of erroneous info here.
I think $100 per person per day is way high for spends.
You are going primarily to the Bahamas. You can grab a cab and go over to Atlantis. You can get some much cheaper excursions just down from the ship when you get off. You can do swimming with the dolphins ($$) and a bit of souviner (sp) in the straw market or on the main street.
Drinks are pricey but the grats for them are included in the price. You can't take any liquor or wine onboard an RCL ship I'm afraid.
The main dining room and buffet are included in the price you paid, so, unless you want to try the pay restaurant, you won't have extra charges for dining.
Pictures run around $20 a picture, so think carefully before buying. One from formal night is nice especially since it's your first cruise.
Just remember to keep good track of all your shipboard charges, they add up quickly...Good idea to have some kind of budget for all your spending, gambling, excursions and shopping. I always put aside the $ for tips and then there is no worrying about getting that together....
Thanks for the info it's really helpful. Also, sorry I didn't post to the right board. Earlier today I came back, saw the boards lower down, and started browsing them lightly. Still, helpful to have reassurance in my own post.
I wasn't planning on gambling, it doesn't really interest me, I was just including it as an example of one of those things I know costs extra.
I'm also not actually going to Jamaica, but I've been there, and was wondering if Nassau is the same, like in this straw market I hear about.
And what's this about pictures? I have my own camera, is it not allowed, or do they just try and push a professional picture on you to buy?
You can pose as you board the ship, and, get off the ship in ports, at dinner and around the ship there are back drops for you to pose....all these will be up inthe gallery for you to choose from, at a price.
You can take pictures all over, and, everbody is doing the same say cheese!
Have a ball!
Trip, with her book & tea!
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