First Time Cruise Deal-Breakers

So you are going on a cruise! Before you pop that bottle of bubbly, let’s get a few things covered so your trip doesn’t get ruined by an outrageous “hidden” cost. These are the top issues that most first time cruisers don’t know that could be a cost you don’t expect.


  1. ATM

I don’t know what’s worse, losing your money to a slot machine in the casino or to the dang ATM fees at $5-$7 every time you withdraw. So bring enough cash for your cruise, consider excursions and onboard extra costs like the casino.


These extra costs add up and sometimes aren’t worth the cost. The average massage is double of what Massage Envy would cost you at home. So think wisely before you spend.

  • Nail and spa treatments are usually overpriced along with any beauty treatments that are offered. Hey, if your motto is “I work hard for this and I am going to do it” well then, you earned it. For those who are watching their budget avoid the spa packages.
    • One exception might be to purchase at the first-day discount or to get these treatments when stopped at a port. Watch for early savings, they are usually only offered the first day or two and then disappear for the rest of the voyage.
  • All extra restaurants range about $20 per person for lunch and $40 for dinner. So if you are a frugal person, cross these ideas off your list.
  • Yes, frozen yogurt, cupcake shops, cookie shops aren’t usually included and considered a specialty store and not part of a café. You will have to pay for these items out of pocket.

How much do you drink? Is it going to be worth the cost of a 7-day cruise to spend

$450? Depends if you plan on drinking 3-4 drinks a night and more through the day, it may be worth it to get a package. Drink packages may range from $50-75 a day, but if drinks are $10 see if the package will save you money or not. Soda packages are pricey too but they have benefits, fresh orange juice with breakfast,

coffee, bottled water and more.



When on a cruise your sea pass card is everything, including being as dangerous as having a credit card in your hand without the mindset of spending. One cruise we had an invoice for over $1000. Was it fun- of course! But was it worth it or could have made better choices? We had the YOLO theme that cruise.

  • When you need anything from the store like medicine, pens, candy bars, etc.… they are extremely high priced items. Before you charge it to your account make sure you think about the actual cost because you will see that bill later.

“Bingo is fun and all but not worth the cost”, said the loser, but the winner on her fourth cruise might think differently. Please play responsibly. Watch out for pull tag games, every $5 adds up.

  • Don’t be the sucker for the machines in the casino that aren’t slot machines.
      • The quarter dropper
      • The hand of cash machine
    • These games will add up fast, you see people putting $20 of quarters into a machine to only get a $10 bill in return.
    • I’ve seen one person win the $100 cash hand where he had to stick the pole into the square. The happy vibe of the cruise and atmosphere of the casino means you could be more reckless and high spending than normal.

Don’t be the first person to spend money as soon as you get on the ship, the sales are going

to go on all week. Even better flash sales happen at the end of the cruise like 4 T-shirts for $25 versus the one shirt you buy on day 1 for $30. Veteran cruisers on Royal Caribbean have said

this happens on all trips, even more, savings appear around holidays or at the end of the year or season when they need to get rid of old products



If you want them, buy them, but they are pricey.

  • We always find a group next to us when we are exiting the boat and ask them to take our photo and then we take theirs.
  • Save the money and work with others and don’t pay $100 for a random picture of you with a cruise employee.

Know what your plan covers, don’t be surprised when you return from your trip and all your texting photos of you on a zip line in the Bahamas cost you $20 or much more!

  • You can call your plan and add coverage for the trip and then remove it once you get back.

If you find yourself enjoying cruising, sit down and set up your next trip while still on board at a benefit to you. You can save $100 or possibly get a cruise drink package for this trip for free. Take a peek and see what the deals are.



Even though most tips are involved in the price you pay upfront or at the end of your trip, most cruise lines will still ask for you to tip our employees on the last night an additional amount for services you enjoyed. So be prepared on your last night of the cruise to place some money in that envelope on your bed. Tipping adds up, the guy at the airport, the taxi driver, the cruise bell hop, your concierge, and the shuttle driver, along with your favorite dinner waiter and room attendant.



You can save money by packing all the stuff you need. What you need to pack on your cruise depends on the cruise line you travel on. We recommend checking out Pinterest for your exact cruise needs.

Cruise to do and don’ts: simply enjoy your first cruise, but don’t get screwed with the high cost. Do thorough research!


  1. WIFI

Save the money and disconnect, if you need to hook up don’t pay $150 or per day, ask an employee where you can hook up when you get near a port of call. Most cell phone plans have mobile hotspots- again, be sure to check with your plan.

Also, if you travel with friends and you do find you need to purchase a plan, have one person pay for it and divide the cost between each person and share the login. Note only one person can use the login at a time (possibly two depending on cruise line package).



Have breakfast in the formal dining room, it’s totally better than the buffet, and on sailing days the lunch course menu is killer. Breakfast choices include a delicious eggs benedict and lunch has a Chef salad bar – super tasty food. Most people don’t know these two options exist. You can even get these food option items to go and eat on the side of the ship or in a bar while you read a book.