Cruise ships offer many “extras” — internet, additional restaurants, pre-planned shore excursions — that you can choose to add on to the initial cost of your ticket. Which extras are worth the extra cash? Here are five cruise extras you should always buy.
We all love the dream about disconnecting from the internet for the duration of a cruise. The problem? Depending on your cruise, that could be quite a while. Wi-Fi might cost an arm and a leg, but, for many, it’s worth it. Plus, many cruise lines are recognizing the importance of internet access and taking steps to improve your experience by lowering the fees and working to make it faster. If you'll be at sea for a string of days in a row, this is even more important since you won't have access at a port.
If you’re over 21 and looking forward to the cocktails, margaritas and beers on board, consider purchasing a drink package to see you through the trip. Drinks are expensive, and buying even just one drink a day can really add up throughout a seven-day voyage. Choosing the right drink package can help you cut the cost and save money overall if you plan on imbibing. Cheers to that!
The buffet and the main dining room of a cruise ship are both perfectly acceptable and delicious places to eat — but cruise ships offer so much other good food that it would be a shame to disembark only having sampled the same two restaurants. Take Norwegian Cruise Lines, for instance. Extra dining options include restaurants like Asian Fusion, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, Ocean Blue, Los Lobos and Dolce Gelato; the cruise line boasts 27 specialty restaurants in all. Take advantage of these extra choices and splurge a little. After all, you’re on vacation — and sometimes you might just get a little tired of the main dining room’s menu.
Traveling with kids is fun, but it can also be exhausting. If you need a little R&R away from your kids, no shame! Be aware, however, that while childcare is available onboard many cruise lines, it’s considered an “extra” at night and comes with an additional fee. Most “kids’ clubs” have free babysitting during the day and charge an hourly fee in the evenings. That way, you and your partner can attend that comedy show that might not be cut out for little ears.
Booking shore excursions on your own can be a pain. You have to do lots of research ahead of time, coordinate schedules to make sure you’re back before the boat leaves and carefully vet the company you’re working with. Taking advantage of your cruise line’s shore excursions instead is often a better option — all of the legwork has already been done for you. All you’re required to do is to fork over a little extra cash. And not all shore excursions are expensive, so depending on what kind of adventure you’re looking for, you can find something that’s right for your budget. This is an especially good extra if you’re cruising to a location that makes you a little nervous. Let the cruise line handle your day at port so you can just go along for the ride.