We are certainly very excited to go on our first cruise. However, outside of the beauty of the water, the ways to enjoy ourselves on the ship, and the excellent food and service, there are certain things we'd like to know how to avoid if possible. First of all each time we come off of the ship I am under the impression that it's going to cost me money. Any activity except for lying on the beach is going to cost us money? ex. for parasailing, jet ski's, towels, chairs, snorkeling, rafts, drinks, golf in St. Maartin or St. Thomas (how much is the golf by the way?)...there are 4 of us, 2 small children, and I am not the type to let a couple hundred bucks make me angry. However, if my wife feels like I am getting taken advantage of she will put a negative spin on things in a hurry. I am more easy going. So is it fair to say when we get off the ship its going to cost me a minimum of $200?
Yes, any activity other than walking around or lying on the beach is going to cost you. Some ports have hotels that will let you use their beach chairs and change rooms for free or a small fee if you are a cruise passenger; their thinking is you will probably buy food and beverages. And you can take beach towels from the ship--but be careful: some lines will charge you for them if you don't return them.
But any of the activities you mention, or any equipment rentals will cost you. In some cases you might be better off buying a ship excursion to an all-inclusive "beach break"; this will include your transportation, food and drink, access to the facilities and pool(s), and possibly snorkling equipment. But anything else--kayaks, jet ski's, parasailing, will be extra. In fact, jet ski's have been eliminated a lot of places because of the carelessness of a few.
First of all each time we come off of the ship I am under the impression that it's going to cost me money.
Why would you think your cruise price includes activities at the various ports? A cruise provides you with room, food, entertainment, and transportation to the scheduled ports. If you choose to exit the ship in St. Thomas or whatever port then you will obviously have to pay for whatever you want to do.
As f-mattox stated, any activity will cost you. You may have to go online and research what activities you want to do, and how much they will be in each port. A beach break excursion, either through the cruise line or an independent vendor, may be the way to go in some cases.
Also, when I went on my most recent cruise, I brought towels from my stateroom, then brought them back when I returned, leaving them in a spot that I thought was clear so that the stateroom attendant could see that I did return the towels I took.
2007 - Majesty of the Seas (Bahamas)
2009 - Enchantment of the Seas (Western Caribbean)
2010 - Freedom of the Seas (Western Caribbean)
2013 - Golden Princess (Alaska, roundtrip from Seattle)
Do some research so you know what to expect. Some tours or excursions are less expensive than others. People are out there trying to make a living. I'm going to a couple of ports that I've never been to in January, and I'm taking my 9 year old grandson with us. I know it's going to cost a lot for the excursions, but I'm going to start asking questions so I get the most for my money. I usually don't book excursions through the cruise line because the cost is higher.
I am well aware that activities will cost me. I was looking for some of you to tell me that there was a way to get a deal on some other things or that there would be a way to save money that I am unaware of. The towel suggestion was information we were unaware of. I think I have answered my own question previosly. Thank you all for responding. I doubt we will get off of the ship unless we are at St. Thomas or St. Maarten.
Yes, pretty much everything off the ship is going to cost you some $. How much is somewhat up to you, so you can arrange it so that it balances out to something that you are comfortable with. For example, a golf excursion or parasailing will set you back a lot more than hanging out on the beach. Therefore, it's hard to come up with a ballpark figure.
If you don't want to be surprised by the costs, you might consider looking at Royal Caribbean's Web site to see the excursions they offer for your cruise. You'll note a wide variety of prices depending upon the activity.
There are other ways to cut costs. For example, you can have lunch on the ship rather than in port. You said you were traveling with two young children. When our son was younger, we found that long periods off the ship tired him. So, we would do our off-ship exploring in the morning, return to the ship for lunch, and then stay by the pool or do something else onboard.
We are not extravagant on our cruises when it comes to non-ship costs. We prefer the better cabins but don't spend much on tours or in the ports by way of purchases. However we don't sit and itemize our onboard charges and pretty much get whatever we want.
It might be helpful to provide our typical cruise breakdown. For a 7-night cruise with 3 of us going on it we typically spend $1000 on the ship for drinks, shop purchases, etc., $200 per port in tours, and $150 per port in miscellaneous expenses (lunch, souvenirs, taxis). So for a cruise with 3 ports we look at our costs beyond the cruise fare being around $2000 to $2500 dollars. Given our usual cabin choices being in the $4000 range, this means our cruises end up costing $6500 or so.