Hidden Cruise Fees

So you are going to book a cruise and you want to know what kinds of hidden fees to expect?  When booking online, there are often very low advertised prices, and it can be hard to predict how much it will actually cost without practically going through the entire booking process.

Here is a breakdown on some additional charges you may incur while booking your cruise and during travel.

Taxes and Port Charges

Expect to pay a good amount of taxes when booking a cruise in the US.  Travel type activities always find ways to become more heavily taxed.  Port fees are also added onto the bill as well, to cover charges for the docking of the boat at certain ports.  Also note, when purchasing items on the ship while at port, you may end up paying an additional tax or port fee on those items.  Waiting until the ship sets sail from a port is the best way to avoid the additional charges.  Taxes and port charges up front vary greatly when booking the cruise, but you should probably figure a few hundred dollars per person more at the time of booking than the list price.

Travel Insurance

The online booking companies really push travel insurance, to help cover expenses under certain conditions that would hinder or prevent the travel from occurring.  It is up to the buyer whether they would like to purchase this or not and they would need to read the coverage information and determine their own risks involved in traveling.  Assume a few hundred dollars though when booking your cruise to add on travel insurance.

Processing Fees

Booking through an online agent, such as cruises.com?  Assume a processing fee.  Recently, cruises.com charge $24.99 for the booking.

On-board Service Charges

Many cruise lines require a daily service charge per cruiser per day for tipping the various service members on the ship.  It can be $10 to $15 per day per person.  On longer cruises, this can really add up.  At one time, this was an optional charge in lieu of tipping during each transaction, but don’t count on it being optional anymore.

Highly Inflated Prices

Items on-board are expensive.  From drinks to food.  All inclusive only goes so far, and depending on what cruise line you are on, can vary quite a bit.  A lower cost cruise line like Costa charges for certain things like room service and actually charges for the food when ordered through room service where other cruise lines do not.  Every cruise line varies, so it’s difficult to predict.  If you like to enjoy freely indulging on board, plan on $20 per person per day.  Often, there is an unlimited drink package available for about $25 per person per day.

Foreign Fees

Using your credit card on board or at ports?  If a cruise ship is registered internationally instead of being US based, plan on the on board transactions showing up as foreign transactions on your credit card.  Costa, for example is an Italian cruise line.  If you embark on a Costa cruise in Miama, FL and return to Miami, FL at the end, all transactions on board will still register as foreign transactions on your credit card.  If you pay a fee for this, it can really add up.  Look for a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees to avoid this.

That’s about it.  Hopefully it gives you a better picture of what to expect.  Happy Cruising!


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