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    10 Ways to Avoid Getting Nickel & Dimed on Your Cruise


    Despite what you may have heard, cruises are not all-inclusive. Sure, for the price of your cruise, you'll get all your meals, a room (maybe even one with a view!), and non-stop entertainment. Just the same, I've read a number of cruise reviews by first-time cruisers who are turned off by frequent onboard sales pitches for everything from spa treatments to a scoop of designer ice cream. Let's face it. This is where cruise lines make their money. With all the extra fees for specialty restaurants, photos, slot machines, art auctions, bingo, alcohol, soda, lattes and shore excursions, what is a cruiser to do? I have three little words for you: "Just...Say...No."

    However, let's be realistic. You're on vacation, after all, and we all need to splurge every now and then. To avoid sticker shock when you get your bill at the end of the cruise, here are some ways to reign in that onboard spending:

    1. Don’t pre-book spa appointments.

    It’s convenient to book in advance, but you’ll save money by waiting until you board, when daily discounted treatments are often advertised, especially treatments scheduled for port days.

    2. Bring a refillable water bottle on your cruise.

    You will save both money and the environment.

    3. Buy a soda card.

    An all-you-can drink soda card will save you money – but only if you drink a lot of soda. Better yet, take along travel-size packs of Crystal light and add flavor and variety to your refillable water bottle.

    4. Skip the ship excursion - take a cab.

    Shore excursions are big wallet busters. In some cases, a ship excursion simply doesn't make sense. Research alternative, less expensive ways to tour, whether by foot, by taxi, or a local guide.

    5. Resist the lure of bells, whistles and flashing dollar signs.

    Hear that whooshing sound? No it’s not your stateroom toilet. It’s the sound of your hard earned money being flushed away. Stay far away from the casino. Your lungs will thank you, too!

    6. Skip the ship photo ops.

    The ship's photographer will be lurking around every corner. Simply smile and say no. If there are no photos of you, you won't be tempted to buy any. An exception would be if your travel agent gave you a free photo as part of your cruise package. In that case, smile and twist yourself into that unnaturally ridiculous pose for the guy behind the camera, and get yourself a formal portrait.

    7. Say "no" to that souvenir glass with the "drink of the day".

    It’s usually cheap plastic and not worth the extra five bucks. Ask for a regular glass instead.

    8. Disconnect.

    You're on vacation. Your boss and your Facebook friends don't need to know where you are. Unless you have loyalty points that come with free Internet, logging on is going to cost you. Even then, the connection will be so painfully slow, that you’ll become extremely frustrated, possibly leading to flinging your device overboard in anger.

    9. Turn off your phone.

    See #8. Save the phone for emergency use only. If you do turn it on, be sure to turn off data roaming or you'll be clobbered with a huge bill from your cell phone provider.

    10. Drink the free champagne, but leave the artwork at the auction.

    Trust me. That masterpiece will arrive at your door, and you’ll wonder what the hell you were thinking. It was the champagne that made you do it.

    Finally, to avoid an unpleasant surprise at the end of your cruise, check your account balance daily. On many cruise ships, you can turn on the TV in your cabin and see exactly what you’ve spent. If not, you can go to Guest Services and ask. You may still get nickel & dimed, but at least you'll know whether you can afford another scoop of that gourmet ice cream.

    By Janice Neves, CruiseCrazies Contributor

    For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecra....com/index.html

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    I will agree with all of your points... We have found that on all cruises they will nickle and dime you to death!!! The 'just say no' policy works very well... Last year in Jamaica, we got off the boat and purchased an 'all you can ride' bus pass that took us to all the same places the cruise ship shore excursion was going for a fraction of the cost...In Nassau, we hired a taxi with another couple and saw most of the island, The Atlantis Hotel and other sites and had a great time with a wonderful driver for a full day excursion...it was fun and reasonable...Just because the ship offers something doesn't mean there is not another way to do it... do your homework, it may save you a lot of money...

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    Thank you for taking time to read this! I, too, have taken some great independent, small group tours, the most recent being in Scotland last summer. There are definitely some cases where a ship excursion makes sense, though, like the time we went to the Tulum ruins from Cozumel, requiring a ferry and land transport. I wasn't willing to take the risk of missing the ship. As it was, the crew were getting ready to roll up the gangplank when we arrived back.

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    I agree, but you're on vacation! Don't be a total cheapskate! Life is too short. Regarding photos, I like looking at our cruise photos from 10 years ago when we looked younger! My wife is a huge soda drinker so we pack copier paper boxes full of diet and caffeine free diet coke. Last time on the Eurodam I even threw in a two liter bottle of Dr Pepper! Have fun on your cruise!

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    Gee, I hope no one thinks I called them cheap - LOL! By all means, if you can - then go ahead and splurge, absolutely. These were simply suggestions for people trying to stay within a budget, and also to remind readers that they can still have a great vacation without breaking the bank.

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    No worries, Jan. I think it all depends - everyone has their priorities. Wayne and I stopped drinking soda about 4 years ago so we save in that area. We always get the Diamond member free photo so we don't have to pay for that so we always come home with a photo. We don't eat in the specialty restaurant because we love the food in the Windjammer and I like sampling all the dishes I don't eat at home and trying new things. So, we don't do a lot of extras and save on that. However, Wayne always buys me a nice bag or piece of jewelry. To me, that's more important than the other things. We all have different priorities. So, for someone on a tight budget, I think your tips are great.

    Scottlara, thanks for posting. We, also, need that photo and, as I said above, that trinket, the bracelet or bag or something as a token of my cruise, but, many of the extras are just not important to us. It's great to see you posting and hope to see you posting often in the forums. Welcome to CruiseCrazies.

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    I agree with your post and the advice you gave. You should have some fun on vacation of course but you don't have to buy everything in sight. The end result is unnecessary spending. Now that does not mean I am cheap but that I spend on what has some meaning for us. For example we splurged on private excursions in Israel which was costly especially for 4 days but we got an experience that will last a lifetime. For this I can gladly skip all the impulsive photo ops. Friends of our once spent nearly $500.00 for pictures! We do one on formal night for the memory.

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    I agree with your post and the advice you gave. You should have some fun on vacation of course but you don't have to buy everything in sight. The end result is unnecessary spending. Now that does not mean I am cheap but that I spend on what has some meaning for us. For example we splurged on private excursions in Israel which was costly especially for 4 days but we got an experience that will last a lifetime. For this I can gladly skip all the impulsive photo ops. Friends of our once spent nearly $500.00 for pictures! We do one on formal night for the memory.

    I hear you. We are spending big bucks on a flight-seeing excursion to see bears in Alaska, which is why I will most definitely be avoiding the art auction and casino this time around. I hope I can get my husband to do the same. :tongue:

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    Thanks for the advice. I believe you have to pick and choose what you spend your hard earned money on. Sometimes in our desire to have fun on vacation we don't always think, and make good choices. If one does not spontaneously make a decision, then they can have an enjoyable time, get what they want and not have a huge credit card bill in the process.

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