The Hidden Costs of Taking a Cruise

Cruises are known for being an all-inclusive experience, but what same cruise lines mean by this can vary. Sometimes, it is misleading. While when you book a cruise you are expecting to have a room, food, and activities paid for, but you may end up spending a lot more money than you expected. This is for multiple reasons, but it is common that excursions organized by the cruise, additional travel expenses, and more can add up quickly. Below are some of the hidden costs of cruises and what you can do to avoid them.


One expense that you might not expect is transportation. First, you will have to get yourself to the departure port, wherever that may be. If you are going abroad, this could be quite far from where you live. You should know this ahead of time, and figure out transportation in advance. If you book your flight right before you leave, it will be much more expensive. You can avoid this by choosing a cruise that leaves close to your home.

Transportation to the departure port isn’t the only cost when you take a cruise. You may need to take out money for transportation to and from the ports you stop at. If you have a full day to spend in a particular, you may need to pay for a cab or another transportation method. Sometimes this can be very expensive, and it adds up quickly. While some cruises may offer transportation, you should plan ahead with extra money to be able to go where you want to go on your vacation.


According to the experts at the site MoneyPug, which is a platform that is used to cheap holidays, while some excursions may be included in the all-inclusive price others will not. But who wants to go on the cruise-organized excursions when you spend every other minute with the cruise anyways?

To get the most enjoyment out of your cruise, it is best to take money for your own activities when you have downtime in destinations. Instead of following the herd, take your family on your own activities. This may be more expensive, but maybe not. And if it is, not by much. Sometimes cruise lines charge extra for the excursions. This is not exactly all-inclusive. Even if the cruise offers all-inclusive excursions, they might not be the best options for you during your vacation. Use your time valuably and get a little freedom when you are in one of the port destinations.

Food & Drinks

While cruises advertise unlimited food and drinks, this isn’t always the case. For example, alcoholic drinks may not be free. Beer and wine may be complimentary but spirits may not be. Luxury foods like caviar and lobster will probably not be included. While you don’t have to get these things, you may want to. You are on vacation after all. Either way you should ask the cruise what is included and plan to bring extra money for food and drink both on the boat and off the boat.

Accidents & Insurance

When you are on a boat sailing across the ocean for large periods of time, anything could happen. In fact cruises are known for their accidents, health scares, food poisoning, and in general things that go wrong. You could have a health problem that is unexpected. You could get sick before a cruise and have to postpone or cancel. You could miss a flight or a port departure. Unexpected occurrences could end up costing you thousands of dollars during a cruise, that’s why you should get travel insurance.

Although another expense, travel insurance provides the peace of mind that you need to go on the cruise without worry. Even if something goes wrong, you will be covered with the right insurance. This is something cruise lines definitely don’t tell you about, unless they offer their own insurance. Don’t end up paying out the nose when something goes wrong, make sure you are covered for the essential risks. It is indeed an additional cost, but it something that could actually save you money in the end.

While cruises are advertised as a single price, this is usually not the case. You will need to plan for additional expenses and plan to avoid ones that are completely unnecessary. Planning ahead and putting in the work will help you maximize your funds and your fun.

Ryan Beitler is a journalist, writer, and blogger. He has written for Paste Magazine, The Slovenia Times, Deadline News, New Noise Magazine, OC Weekly, numerous travel sites, and many others.