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Exploring the Hidden Costs of Cheap Cruises

By Margaret Manning December 11, 2015 Travel

On the surface, cheap cruises sound like a fantastic idea. After all, who wouldn’t want to experience life on the open sea at a bargain price? Unfortunately, like so many things in life, when it comes to cruises, you often get what you pay for.

So, to help us understand the complex world of low-cost cruises and all-inclusive cruise deals, I recently interviewed Jane Archer.

Jane is an award winning cruise journalist who spends more than 150 days a year on the water. Over the years, she has taken part in almost every kind of cruise imaginable, from small exotic river cruises to trips on mega-ships. She really is one of the most knowledgeable people in the world when it comes to this type of travel.

Are Cheap Cruises a Good Idea? It Depends…

Jane says that getting a good cruise deal starts with understanding your goals. Are you going to be happy using the ship’s basic services? Do you want to eat in the onboard restaurants? Do you plan on drinking alcohol? If so, how much? Do you want to visit the spa? Do you want to take advantage of the ship’s scheduled events and day trips?

The reason that these questions are so important is that they give you a starting point from which to evaluate whether that “cheap cruise” really is a good deal. With your list of questions in hand, it’s time to ask your travel agent or cruise line representative what’s actually included.

For example, many people think that all cruises are “all inclusive.” This is not the case – especially if you are looking for a budget cruise option. Also, keep in mind that many cruises only offer free dining in the main dining rooms – not in the specialty restaurants.

Another thing to confirm up front is the cruise line’s policy on tipping.

Some ships automatically add tips to your bill. So, if you want to have control, make sure that you ask to leave the tip in cash instead.

For more cost-saving tips for your next cruise, check out this article.

I hope that you enjoy my latest interview with cruise expert, Jane Archer. If you have a question for Jane, please leave it in the comments or visit her page on the Daily Telegraph.

Have you ever taken a budget cruise? What was your experience? Let’s get a conversation started!

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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