The Hidden Costs of a Sea Cruise

When you are on a sea cruise you are on your own floating hotel and most of the costs are factored in already, so it offers good value.  These days we are all on a budget so it can spoil your holiday to have unplanned expenditure.  There are at least three little cost surprises that could spoil your fun if you have not budgeted for them.

In short: the advertised price is seldom the final amount you will have to pay.

Here are the most common extras:

  • Port fees
  • Tipping – service fee
  • Room deposit

… And the costs of any keepsakes that you may purchase on board.

Port fees

Port fees vary per cruise and are commonly between US100 to US500 extra.  For a number of small island nations in the Caribbean charging fees for tourist ships is a major part of the national income, and the cruise liners make sure that you make a personal contribution.

Tipping – service fee

The tipping service fee is calculated on a daily rate.  This is over and above any personal tips that you give on board.  Logically, the longer the cruise, the more this will be.

On a European ship the service fee may typically range between 4 and 10 Euros per day.


The deposit for your room account, has to be paid on boarding and is commonly in the range of US250 to US1500.  That is refundable, though anything that you charge to your room account will be deducted.  As most cruises do not include all drinks, it’s most likely that you will use a portion of the deposit.

The current (January 2011) advertised price for a Mediterranean cruise according to Royal Caribbean’s web site is US599.00 for a seven night cruise.  Once the port and service charges have been added that goes up to US788.90.  That is still good value but it is 31% more than the price that attracted you in the first place.  Keep in mind too that this does not include the deposit for the room account.

Cruises are a great way to see the world, while staying in a first class hotel and many of them are themed, so you will be pampered and there is a world of choice.

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