Who doesn’t like to get away every now and again. Who doesn’t like to cruise the waters this fine Earth has for us? Put those people together, and you have a mighty big collection of people who like to take vacation cruises. What these very same people may or may not realize, is that once you have left port you are subjected to various sales pitches for a variety of goods and services with virtually no way out. Sure just being on board and having paid for the cruise is a good gesture, but what really makes the cruise ships the big dollars are the little extras most people never pay attention to (or at least not until they get their final bill).
We all know that cruise ships are known for their buffets, right? But you know what else they are known for? They’re also known for people being hyper-focused on losing their inhibitions, so much so that they drink alcohol like it’s going out of style. Listen, everyone likes to loosen up a bit and have some fun, but is it worth it? Alcohol is the life force of the cruise industry, and the mark up is astronomical. On alcohol alone most cruise ships are raking in millions of dollars in profits. One surefire way cruises ensure the golden goose keeps laying those delicious alcoholic eggs is by searching passengers for smuggled alcohol during boarding; specifically from ports in which passengers stop at a duty-free shop. While you are returned the booze upon your final departure, if you are buying alcohol in the hopes of having it aboard the ship, you will almost certainly get caught. Crew members are paid to catch illicit materials, and if it hasn’t been poured by a staff member, you’d best believe they will catch you. My advice? Don’t drink. You are there to soak up the sun, the comradery with your fellow passengers, and the experience as a whole. If you need to booze it up to “enhance” the other things offered, you may be best served checking into rehab. Or, you can always look into an all-inclusive cruise that includes booze as well. While most do not yet have this, there are plenty of cruise lines testing the waters with including alcohol into the price upfront. But please don’t think that drinking is the only scam awaiting you.
We are a very egocentric society. What is that based on? Instagram, Twitter, FaceBook, and countless other social media outlets, designed to let the world know what we are up to on a minute to minute basis. With that in mind, who wouldn’t want to share with their “followers” that they are in the midst of an amazing vacation? Well, don’t think that this isn’t on the mind of the cruise companies. As soon as you board there are an amazing amount of photographers on board, looking to capture everything they think you’d want a picture of. The smiling face each member of your family is flashing upon your initial departure. Got it. Swimming in the pool on the upper deck of the cruise ship. FLASH! The sunset you and your significant other are looking at. Wouldn’t miss it. Yes, a good photographer is always on the lookout for a great moment, knowing you’ll want to cherish it forever. But, why waste the money? You know who else can take those pictures? You, for starters. We now live in the land of the selfie, and most, if not all, people know how to extend their hand and purse their lips for a selfie.
On the other hand, what if you want a really nice picture of you and the family? No, you do not need a staff photographer. Simply ask another passenger on board. Lots of people have phones with a HD camera in it, so there is truly no reason to pay someone else to snap a pic. And who knows, if you hit it off with another passenger and/or their guests, you may have friends for the duration of the vacation to do things with. And what better thing to do on vacation then to eat yourself into a near coma.
Yes, it’s nearly a must for every passenger to find that one item served at the buffet that you can’t find elsewhere, or, for whatever reason, just happens to taste a little sweeter aboard your cruise. Well, this is one time that I’ll tell you I would go hog wild! Eat that 3rd plate of pasta, or that 5th piece of chocolate cake. You deserve it. But you know what you don’t deserve, is a cruise ship that has specialty restaurants on it. Why? Because for some reason going there is the only way to shut up your five-year old, or to appease your wife, who isn’t impressed with the cruise after the 3rd day. The only way to make them happy is to spend more money. That’s crazy. Since you’ve already paid for it, my advice here is to have a plan of action before leaving for the cruise with your guest(s), and explain to them that you will only be dining at the places that are already paid for. Of course, if you’re in a pinch, may I suggest a “one-time only” policy, and that somewhere towards the last ¾ of your trip, you allow for a premium restaurant. That way, you make everyone happy, without feeling like you have to go to the more extravagant places too often.
Lastly, being a penny pincher is no fun; particularly when you are on vacation. But if you have some basic plans in mind before leaving, and you’ve discussed them with those accompanying you on your trip, you should be able to have a relaxing vacation without breaking the bank. Enjoy, and remember – if you need a maritime lawyer or cruise ship attorney during your trip, O’Bryan Law is here for you.