One of the biggest draws of cruising is the value. For the cost of one fare you can get transportation, hotel, food, entertainment, and visit multiple ports… all for less than it would cost you in airfare alone.
But while the value is well-known, it’s also known that cruise ships are not (usually) all-inclusive. Alcohol? Extra charge. Shore excursions? Extra charge. Steakhouse? Extra charge. Spa treatments? Extra charge. You get the idea.
While you certainly can still go on a cruise and avoid all the extra items, that takes away part of the fun of cruising. That’s why we always tell cruise passengers to expect to pay a lot more for their trip than what they pay for cruise fare alone.
It’s not all bad news, however. There are actually a few things on a cruise that you can get for free. These aren’t always major items, but they are nice perks that can leave you with a little extra cash to spend on fun things like drinks and excursions.
Forget to bring something to settle your stomach when the ship begins to rock? It would be bad business for the cruise to have a bunch of seasick passengers walking around. That’s why they will give you seasick pills for free. Head down to the Guest Services desk and you’ll likely see them set out on the counter if the ship is already rolling. If not, just ask for them and they will get you as many as you need.
In days past, anything ordered through room service was free. The cruise lines have tightened up, but there is still plenty that you can order at absolutely no charge. Just keep in mind there may be a charge for certain items, which will be labeled clearly on the menu. There is also usually a small charge if you order room service at late hours (after midnight). One thing to keep in mind — even if the food is free, it’s customary to tip the waiter a few bucks for delivery.
Yes, you likely know that you can get a slice of pizza for no charge. But what about a whole pizza? If you want more than a slice, or simply want some toppings that aren’t on the ready-made pizzas, you can get your own pie made special for you at no charge. Just head to the pizza counter and let them know that you’d like an entire pizza. There shouldn’t be any charge.
Alcohol (During Special Events)
Ok, so you aren’t likely to get your fill, but you can get some free booze at certain special events on the ship. Check out the art auctions for free champagne flutes. There are also free drinks at the Captain’s Welcome held the first night on the ship. Considering that these drinks would cost $6-8 a piece, it’s a nice little freebie.
No, you won’t be getting an an hour-long massage, but if you head down to the spa treatment information sessions, they sometimes ask for volunteers to show example treatments. Not everyone will get a chance to participate, but if selected, it’s a fun little freebie.
What would the summertime-like atmosphere of a cruise ship be without some ice cream? Every ship will have a soft-serve machine or an ice cream station where you can get a scoop loaded down with all your favorite toppings. Best of all, there is no charge so you can get your dessert after every meal without breaking the bank.
Know of any other freebies on a cruise ship? Let us know in the comments below…
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