Are you going on a cruise? Cruise vacations are expensive enough yet there are so many extras you can add on to your cruise. What is worth the splurge? As an avid cruiser, who’ve been to over 25 cruises, here are the 9 things that I think are worth the splurging on a cruise.
Things that are Worth Splurging on a Cruise
1. Pay to Skip the Line
Cruise lines these days are taking a page out of Disney’s playbook by giving you the option to pay extra so you can skip the line (similar to Disney’s Lightning Lane!). I think it’s worth it to splurge to skip the line. However, only a few cruise lines offer it, namely Carnival Cruise and Royal Caribbean, and they don’t always offer it on all sailings.
Carnival’s Faster to the Fun program offers priority boarding, direct line to guest services, express luggage delivery, early access to your staterooms, and priority disembarkation.
Royal Caribbean’s The Key is another add-on package that provides priority boarding, an exclusive welcome lunch, reserved seating at shows, and the ability to skip the line at some onboard activities.
The biggest splurge you can do on a cruise is to book a suite. It’s a cruise experience that you should at least experience once in your lifetime. Suites are a lot more expensive than your regular cabin, at least 50% more expensive. It’s worth the splurge because you get a bigger room, bigger balcony, private butler, and priority embarkation.
Some cruise lines will give you access to a special suite-only pool and lounge, extras like free specialty dining, complimentary Wi-Fi, complimentary canapes, and so much more. I once stayed in a suite with my very own private hot tub on the deck. Just that alone was worth the splurge!
3. Balcony Cabin
If a suite is too expensive for your budget, then splurge on a balcony cabin. Although they are a bit more expensive than inside cabins, they are worth it because they provide you with a private deck where you can relax and get away from the crowd.
It’s great to be able to open the balcony door and let fresh air into your cabin. A nice indulgence is to order room service for breakfast and enjoy it on your private balcony.
This is especially worth it if you are going on an Alaska cruise since there is a lot to see while sailing in Alaska. Balcony cabins are worth the splurge.
4. Beverage Package
Beverage packages are worth the splurge on a cruise. The price per person per day is expensive and can give you sticker shock. But if you plan to drink during the cruise, then it’s worth the splurge.
It will also make your vacation more enjoyable because you can enjoy wine during dinner, cocktails by the pool, champagne before dinner, specialty coffee with your breakfast, and a smoothie during the day!
5. Specialty Dining
Specialty dining is worth the splurge on a cruise. I know it feels wrong to be paying extra for dinner when it’s included in your cruise fare. But you should at least try specialty dining once. The quality of food is really much better than the main dining room. Some cruise ships even have celebrity chef specialty dining restaurants, which makes it worth the splurge.
When you do book specialty dining, make sure you book it on a night when there are no special dinners, such as captain’s dinner or farewell dinner, because the main dining room will most likely have premium dishes served on those nights (steak, lobster), and you don’t want to miss it! Go on a regular night.
Looking to save money on your cruise? 21 Smart and Easy Ways to Save Money on a Cruise
6. Thermal Spa
Another splurge that is worth it is to buy a thermal spa pass at the cruise (not all cruises have this). This spa package gives you access to the adults-only spa lounge, which includes steam rooms, Jacuzzis, heated loungers, salt rooms, and therapy showers. You can buy a package for unlimited visits or a day pass. Imagine peace and quiet- soaking in the hot tub without kids and the crowd! That is worth the splurge.
Cruise photos are expensive. However, it is worth the splurge. You’ll find yourself glad that you have bought a photo on a cruise to remember the cruise. Buy at least one or two photos, or if you’re really splurging, buy a photo package. You won’t regret it, and you’ll be happy you have a cruise photo as a souvenir.
8. Travel Insurance
Although I personally think buying travel insurance is a must, some people consider it a splurge, so I’m adding it to the list. I know it’s expensive to add on travel insurance. However, most health plans cover expenses in the US but not when you are overseas. Medicare does not cover emergency medical services for travelers outside the US.
And most health insurance will not pay for emergency medical evacuation to bring you back to the US for treatment. Emergency medical evacuation can get really expensive and can cost more than $100,000! I’ve been on over 25 cruises and have witnessed many cruise passengers being airlifted off the ship. If they didn’t have travel insurance, that would have cost them thousands!
9. Cruise Shore Excursion
Cruise shore excursions are worth the splurge. I know it’s expensive to book cruise shore excursions, and it’s tempting to just wing it and take a cab on your own when you’re at the port. However, there are some sights that are located further out where it’s worth it to book a cruise shore excursion because you’ll have peace of mind that you will get back to the ship on time.
An example of where you really shouldn’t wing it is Alaska. It’s best to plan Alaska shore excursions because often times these shore excursions are complicated logistically like you have to take a helicopter to a glacier or you are kayaking on a river with the salmon. If you think booking shore excursions through the cruise is expensive, do a price check and book your shore excursion through independent tour operators like Viator.
Check out these cruise packing lists with free printables
Check out: 15 Caribbean Cruise Mistakes to Avoid
Check out: When to Book a Cruise to Get the Best Deal
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