Cruise guests should plan ahead to avoid ‘enormous bill’

Autumn cruise holidays have soared in popularity following a washout summer across the UK. A TUI spokesperson said: “Poorer summer weather in the source markets has boosted bookings and demand in autumn at higher rates.”

But what do cruise guests need to be aware of before they book? Dave Mills, chief commercial officer at Iglu Cruise and cruise expert, has issued a warning over package booking.

Dave said: “Most cruise lines offer all-you-can-eat food included in the price of your ticket, especially when eating in the main buffet area.

“However, it should be noted that some cruises will charge extra for certain restaurants or a la carte menus.”

While the cruise buffet is usually included in the price of the holiday, guests will need to pay extra for specialty restaurants on some lines. For example, Royal Caribbean guests can eat at the buffet or main dining room for free but will need to pay extra to eat at Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen or Chop’s Grille.

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Dave added: “Drink packages are also something to think about. Many cruise companies sell drink packages at a fixed daily price, meaning guests can enjoy an unlimited selection of beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks without running up an enormous bar bill.

“However, if you’re not a big drinker, or you plan to spend most of your time off the ship onshore, then a drinks package may not be worth it for you.”

Drinks packages can include alcohol or guests can opt for a deal that only includes soft drinks, coffee and tea.

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Value depends on how much the guest plans on drinking. Some cruise lines have online menus so guests can try to calculate the best deal.

Dave said: “If you plan to stay connected to the world whilst onboard your cruise, or plan to be posting on social media, you may need to think about a wifi package.

“While some cruise ships offer wifi as a built-in price, others charge extra, so make sure to do some research.”

Wifi will usually cost extra on a cruise ship and guests will need to be careful about using mobile data on a ship. A guest recently shared her horror at a huge bill after a cruise holiday.

Cruise guests have also been urged to check the ship’s daily schedule every day to avoid missing out on deals.

The buffet might be free but it’s not without controversy. A guest was recently called “tacky” for breaking cruise etiquette.

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