Cruise season is sailing full speed ahead and there are enough deals to float your boat!
If you are confused by cruise jargon while researching and booking your vacation, you aren’t the only one. Here are some important cash-saving industry terms de-mystified:
Onboard Credits: While costs during cruising are mostly taken care of, there are still extras onboard for purchase such as spa services, alcoholic beverages, shore excursions and printed photo souvenirs. Onboard credits can be applied against any of these services and will help keep your post-cruise bill low. Keep in mind that most often the credits are listed per cabin not per passenger – so you’ll have to share the goods with friends or family.
Pre-paid gratuities: Depending on the cruise line, you may discover an additional $10-$13 per day, per person on your bill at the end of your vacation. Before you panic and wonder if you mistakenly stumbled into the casino after a few too many drinks, consider the amount of staff (most behind the scenes) required to make your cruise vacation a seamless and enjoyable experience. These gratuities are pooled and divided among the hard-working cruise staff. When booking a cruise, if gratuities are pre-paid, you could save a ton of cash (especially for longer sailings) while still rewarding the cruise staff for a job well done.
Freestyle cruising: Freestyle refers to the wide variety of dining options offered by some of the cruise lines – a departure from the traditional cruise dining plans where guests are assigned a dinner time and may be seated at a table with strangers (or new friends; however you’d like to think about it!). For an additional fee ($10-$25 per person) cruisers can make reservations for higher end restaurants such as Italian bistros, steakhouses or French cafes. Don’t worry, you can still order as many items as you’d like off of the menu.
Guarantee cabin types: Instead of selecting a specific cabin at booking, guests can book a "guaranteed" room, meaning that they are guaranteed -- at a minimum -- that particular cabin category. These cabins are typically less expensive and can lead to an upgrade if the cruise line sells out that cabin type. Are you feeling lucky?
Great deals with onboard credits, pre-paid gratuities and more can be found here. Do you feel like an expert now? Time to sail away with more cash in your pocket!