a - Answered a Question by Butler (03 Sep 08 09:17)

The normal expenditure is on shore excursions, alcohol, tipping, speciality dining, speciality coffee and branded icecreams, casino, shopping, spa treatments...I agree with Wilba - if you did not know about this then you need a new T/A! Some cruise lines 'nickel&dime' you to death and you pay extra for several things - that is why reseach is a must - read as many reviews as possible and get a general feel for the ship. There is another site that has thousands of ships reviews if you look for it on the web.

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Collins - Answered a Question by Butler (02 Sep 08 15:21)

It pays to read the smallprint. It also depends who you go with. The more cheap and cheerful agents do tend to charge for extras. Example being we went with Thompson which was an informal cruise and we could have spent a lot extra but chose not to. We have also been with Royal Caribbean who did not charge for us to eat nicely as it was a formal cruise. You pays your money and makes your choice, do read the small print, its now always the best policy to go by the brocure price.

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Bradley - Answered a Question by Butler (02 Sep 08 15:54)

Virtually all the main cruise lines offer speciality restaurants at a supplement. It's your choice should you wish to pay for it or not. Tipping is a hot topic on this site since, as you have found out to your cost (literally), they can knock a big hole in your budget. Some lines (e.g. Ocean Village and Island Cruises spring to mind) include tips in the price. Many people have the daily charge removed from their bill and then pay what they feel is appropriate directly to the staff. As Collins has said, read the small print. It pays to get the brochures and see exactly what you are paying for and what is not included, then come back to this site for more tipping tips.

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Brown - Answered a Question by Butler (02 Sep 08 19:16)

We went with royal carribbean (and are going again!) We hardly spent any money at all on "extras" We don't really drink except for the odd glass of wine with dinner and the occasional beer. The food in the main dining room is superb and the self service restaurants are also excellent, so no real need to go to the speciality ones unless you particularly want to. All soft drinks (juices), tea, coffee, etc are available free, unless you choose to buy them in the speciality cafes. The only extras we spent money on were a couple of photos, which are optional but nice to have, port transfer shuttle (again optional) and purchases from the shops (gifts etc , again these are optional). All extertainment and activties, which are superb, are free. There is a charge for therapies, beauty salon and the usual hairdressing etc. Really it depends on your choices but it is perfectly posssible to have a brilliant holiday without spending much at all and none of the "extras" are hidden as you are aware of any charges before you make the choice. The only extra really is the tips, but you are made aware of these before the holiday and have the option to adjust as you see fit. As said by "Collins" below - read the small print - Royal caribbean have an excellent website with all then information and some FAQs, weigh up the prices and any extras - sometimes cheapest is not actually best! Happy cruising!!

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Richard Okill - Answered a Question by Butler (02 Sep 08 19:52)

You havn't told us which cruise line you went on. It may help us to give you an answer or maybe help others who are reading this site. Don't be shy.

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Wilba - Answered a Question by Butler (02 Sep 08 20:59)

The word 'Specialty' should have provided a clue to mean something 'over & above' & if you weren't aware of tipping charges prior to booking I suggest you go to a Travel Agent that knows about cruising.

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Brennan - Answered a Question by Butler (05 Sep 08 20:01)

Get a life.

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Mackay - Answered a Question by Butler (05 Sep 08 20:33)

The secret lies in reading the cruise brochure very carefully. It is an established custom to give tips to certain stewards who have been involved in looking after you such as the cabin steward and the waiters at your table, perhaps even the wine waiter if you feel he has gone out of his way for you. However, there are some cruise companies which include tips in the price, such as Swan Hellenic, Spirit of Adventure and Saga. But it must be said that the cruises of these companies are not exactly cheap. You don't have to use speciality restaurants but they do make a change from what the cruise ship offers normally, which is often not too exciting. The bottom line though is that you get what you pay for. As regards tips, it must be borne in mind that the Asian and Phillipino crew members are rather poorly paid so do rely on the tips which they send back to their families and in turn are relied upon by them too.

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GOLDIE - Answered a Question by Butler (05 Sep 08 20:52)

Has anyone noticed how P&O are getting that bit meaner.Clients who regularly travel with them and are members of the Portunus Club and when they reach Gold status they are entitled to 10% discount on many things as a reward for loyalty. However if for any reason they have on board crediteither as a cruise incentive or as compensation for things that have gone wrong in the past. They have to spend the money before they are entitled to their 10% discount . Does this seem a good way to encourage loyalty. Signed GOLDIE who is loyal at present.

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Rowe - Answered a Question by Butler (05 Sep 08 21:03)

We have cruised with the royal caribbean twice now and they are far the best for free activites. You pay for alcohol drinks only You can pay a small fee of $6 each for a specialality restaurant but you do not need to as there is a beautiful posh restaurant free, buffet restaurant all free plus other pizza shops and cake restaurants all free. 24 hours room service free. amazing booked for next year .

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