This is what we found NOT to do on a cruise. We did remember a few things from before, and learned a couple more after.
When they gather everyone up to board the ship -
DON'T GET THE PACKAGES - When everyone is gathered at the beginning on the cruise, they offer "packages" to purchase. One was a meal package for $75 which gives you 3 nights of dinning! What everyone doesn't know is that the dinning hall has the same food! And the dinning hall is FREE. We knew that one from the first cruise 10 years ago. But then they didn't have a package for the specialty restaurants. If one wants to do the restaurants, it costs around $30 per person for a night out. The dinning hall comes with your ticket, and the food there is awesome. The variety is there. If you don't like what you see, tell the waiter and he/she will bring you something you want.
DON'T get the drink packages - unless you love to drink and can drink all day. 10 years ago, the cost for soda (Coke) was to purchase a mug for $45. It could be refilled at any time. We bought one, and didn't get 3 drinking in it the whole trip. This trip was $8.55 per person per DAY! Add that up to around $60 or more. One would have to drink at least 5 drinks of soda a day to get their money worth out of it. We didn't get this....and I only drank coke twice - by buying it off ship and bring it on ship. One gal and her mom brought 2 cases of coke on board, and still bought 2 packages for the soda. Couldn't figure that one out! The other 2 packages were $35 per person per day for just alcohol. Drinks are usually $10-15 a drink. One needs to drink 3 drinks a day (which would work for some). Then there was the $45 per day per person drinks. That was for both the water, coke, and alcohol. One would have to drink a lot for this. If one does cola only, the cost for those is $2 each drink (I believe). I didn't buy any drinks on the ship so can't really say the price. I watched some at our table buy wine at $9-20 a glass. Hard to say.
DON'T get into the "50% off" or "75% off" on watches! Patrick saw a watch that was listed as$650, marked down to 70% off. He paid $125 for the watch. Then when he got off ship, he checked on the internet and found he could buy that same watch for $89. They also have watch sets for 2 for $40. Patrick got one and I got another. When we checked them out in our rooms, realized they were cheap "ass" watches. The internet sells them for $10 or less. I got a necklaces and earrings with my set, so figure that's worth $20 even if they were cheap. Watches were the only thing I found that were a rip off on the ship when it came to selling stuff. SOME jewelry was as well.
I did buy a bracelet for $99 that is supposed to be worth $165. Not sure if it's true, but I did like the bracelet and it's got very small diamonds in it. I can live with that.
ALWAYS REMEMBER -
Always remember whatever you do, it comes with the tag of "gratuity" for everyone. Everyone wants a tip and everyone tells you it's up to you to tip. They want those tips. We paid for the tip in the cost of the cruise. We also knew we could give more if we wanted to. The excursions is where we gave more to the ones who took us. That usually was the driver and the tour guide. When you get ready to leave the ship, then they remind you about the tips. EVERYONE wants tips and EVERYONE mentions the tips every chance they get.
Make sure you sign up for the excursions and any other trip with the cruise ship BEFORE you get one the ship. Otherwise you could miss out on the excursion all together.
DON'T sign up for the next cruise on the ship. I found that you can get a better deal when the prices are low. The cruise ships ALWAYS have deals for cruises. We got a better deal in Jan because they were having a huge sale. Think it was 75% off. They offer to give you $500 toward the services on board the ship if you sign up within 3 days. They have a way of making things look really good.
The whole idea of the ship is to get you to spend money.
DON'T do the Bingo - we did and it cost us $89 for three cards, and 3 dobs. We left he dobs on ship when we left. The next amount is around $110 for 1 electronic bingo game (36 games in ea) and 3 paper sheets. If you want more, it goes up. EACH TIME you pay this for BINGO. If you play the sheets, you get 6 games to a sheet compared to the electronic game piece. They have winnings of $100, $250, and $1000. It's only for 3 games. If you play the whole time on the ship - that would be at least a game a day....it would cost your around $600 or more.
Don't get me wrong, we had a great time, but at the same time, if you want to save money and spend it on the things you really want, then don't get hooked into the gimmicks they have on the ship.
Careful of shopping for diamonds. The guy on the cruise - I believe gets a % of what he helps sell - because I don't think he's helping his ship customers much. He can do deals for you, which is good. I just don't care for the "selling" tactics. It's a "sell," "sell," and "sell" It gets tiresome
They do sell clothing. Some good prices, some not so good.
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