The Eight Hidden Costs of Cruising

Savings Tip: Set a limit as to how much you are willing to risk, and leave if you lose it. Or better yet, avoid the casino altogether. There are plenty of other diversions onboard, like music for dancing, production shows, variety entertainment and TV-style game shows that will not set you back a penny!

Spa: A massage is typically around $90 - $110. Take advantage of ship discounts on port days. Most shipboard spas are operated by Steiner's of London, and the staff, which works on commission, often gives you a sales pitch -- sometimes called a "prescription" -- for you to buy several of their products.

Savings Tip: If you get a sales pitch and do not want the products, just smile and say you will think about it and get back to them. Or be bold right up front, and ask not to be bothered with sales pitches at all. Another tip: check your ship's daily program of activities for ads for spa treatment specials that may be available for one day only or during certain hours of a given day.

Cruise Souvenirs

Souvenir Shopping: You probably want to purchase something to remember your cruise, and it may take a lot of willpower to pass up on the beautiful -- and expensive -- figurines, perfumes, designer fashions and leather goods if you are on a tight budget.

Savings Tip: Avoid temptation by not browsing in the boutiques onboard and ashore if you cannot afford to buy. If you do plan to purchase some souvenirs, check the prices of merchandise at stores back home and bring pages of their sales catalogs for the particular items you are interested in to compare prices. They may be cheaper at home. Local products such as coffee and jellies and handicrafts from outdoor markets and street vendors make good, inexpensive souvenirs.

Laundry: As at land-based resorts, laundry and dry cleaning charges on a cruise can be steep. A t-shirt can cost $2.50 - $3.50 to wash. Check to see if there is a self-service launderette and use it instead. Typically, washing and drying one load of clothes comes to about $2 - $3.

Savings Tip: If there is no launderette, pack enough changes of clothes for the cruise and do the wash when you get back home.

Film and Other Camera Needs: Getting additional film, batteries and other camera supplies will not only cost you more. Generally, each item will cost $1 - $2 more than if you had bought the same articles at a discount store before leaving home. Plus, who wants to spend precious time shopping for those things? Ships' photographers typically charge $7 - $9 per photo, $15 - $20 per formal portrait.

Savings Tip: Buy plenty of film and other camera supplies on sale at home, and bring more than you think you will need, just in case. Take your own pictures and rely sparingly, if at all, on the ship's photographers.

When to Tip on a Cruise

Tipping: Many lines recommend about $10 per person per day: $4 per day for the dining room waiter; $2 for the assistant waiter; $4 for the cabin steward. If you have butler service, be prepared to tip that crew member $4 per day. Bar tabs are charged a 15 percent gratuity automatically. When the maitre d' performs a special service, such as arranging for a birthday cake to be brought to the table, he should be tipped as well. U.K. travelers will find that tips are typically built into the cruise fare. You can, of course, give tips for exceptional service.

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