Cruise holidays are rising in popularity, thanks to their luxury and often all-inclusive offering. However, while certain meals and buffets are included with an inclusive ticket, meals in the exclusive restaurants and alcohol can often catch cruisers out with unexpected charges. Luckily, one cruise expert is on hand to explain how holidaymakers can enjoy some sneaky perks, such as a bottle of wine for free.
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Cruise holidays are rising in popularity, thanks to their luxury and often all-inclusive offering.
However, while certain meals and buffets are included with an inclusive ticket, meals in the exclusive restaurants and alcohol can often catch cruisers out with unexpected charges.
Luckily, one cruise expert is on hand to explain how holidaymakers can enjoy some sneaky perks, such as a bottle of wine for free.
Cruise expert Randall Stewart has over ten years of cruising experience and knows a thing or two about making savings on board.
The expert explained a handy way passengers can get their hands on a free bottle of booze on board in his book “Best Cruise Tips: 303 Cruise Hacks Saving You Time, Money & Frustration”.
Randall writes: “Depending on the cruise line, you may be able to take advantage of certain incentives being offered on your first day of cruising. A typical scenario is that of being offered an incentive to dine in the ship’s up-scale restaurant on the first night.”
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One cruise operator that runs this kind of deal is Carnival Cruises.
Randall continues: “We do this on every Carnival Cruise, as it not only gives us a free bottle of wine to enjoy with the meal, but we also enjoy the incredible pampering when we do dine in the up-scale alternative.”
Alcohol often catches travellers out and leaves them with a sizeable bill at the end of the trip.
If alcohol is a crucial part of your holiday, cruising experts at CruiseCritic have shared their advice on how to save on booze.
“It’s often cheaper to buy a bottle of wine than a few glasses – but what do you do if you don’t finish the bottle?” said the CruiseCritic website.
“Cruise ship waiters can mark the bottle with your cabin number and save it for another night, even for dinner in another onboard venue.”
Another tip is to steer clear of the Drink of the Day – these are more expensive because they’re served in a souvenir glass.
However, hidden dinner time fees don’t only come in the form of a beverage.
Randall also revealed how cruisers can be caught out by speciality dining.
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“Your cruise ticket covers those meals offered in the main dining areas,” he says.
“However, all cruise ships have speciality restaurants that require you to pay a modest fee. They provide exceptional value should you like to tantalise your taste buds. Some of the speciality restaurants can be very popular, so try to book your seating in advance.
“Otherwise, you may be disappointed when you’ve set your heart on a particular dining experience and find out they’re booked solid.”
These exclusive, specialist restaurants are on the rise with ships even featuring celebrity chef collaborations.
“Many speciality restaurants are also run by celebrity chefs, which is an extra-special experience for foodies, or fans of the chefs,” explains Kerry Spencer, UK Editor of Cruise Critic.
“Marco Pierre White is patron of P&O Cruises’ The Cookery Club; Australian chef, Curtis Stone, has a restaurant on Princess ships and Jamie Oliver has an Italian restaurant on Royal Caribbean ships – among plenty of others.”
She added: “Speciality restaurants are fantastic options for guests looking for greater choice in dining options and looking for restaurants with more elevated menus – everything from French and Italian, to steakhouses and Asian fusion.”
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