Most shocking cruise charge.....

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#1
4 Posts
Joined Jun 2017
I have heard horror stories of people being shocked/devastated at the end of their cruise by the charges they have accrued during the cruise....

Would the majority of this come from onboard drinks?
I'm curious to hear anyone else's experience .... and also a little worried we will rack up a huge tab before we know it on things I didn't budget for.
#2
Southern California
425 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
I don't know about all cruise lines, but for the one we've been on (Holland America), there are receipts presented after buying drinks. You can keep track of your expenses. Don't know why anyone has BIG surprises at the end. Yeah, you have to pay attention..... no big deal
#3
20,303 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
I suspect the biggest contributors are drink charges, daily hotel service charge (gratuities), photos, and shore excursions.
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#5
Central Florida
753 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
The only truly shocking tab stories I have heard related to other family members on the same portfolio racking up charges in the spa, bar, and arcade.
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#6
507 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
You can go to or call Guest Services and ask for a daily accounting of ANY charges on your account. My recent trip .... I had a total of $16.75 to pay. Small keepsakes from the ship's store. But there was potential for a mix up on my cabin key so I called/asked every day. No mysterious charges showed up.
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#7
Philly burbs, PA.
11,106 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
RCI, as example, will show you a daily running total of all charges on your room TV and every purchase you make has to be signed for and has a receipt presented. I don't understand how anyone can be surprised by their bill at the end of the cruise unless they didn't bother to pay attention to what they were purchasing.

As to what charges add up, drinks certainly pay a large part of that, but with the drink packages available, those costs can be fixed as well. Sometimes people may forget that gratuities that were not prepaid will appear each day on your account and do not require your signature or issue a receipt. But these are known charges which are limited in their amount, and they do appear each day on your account for your review.

But there are no surprise or hidden charges that appear at the end of your bill. The only charges that are there are the ones you made and signed for. Sorry, but given that, again I don't understand horror stories about being shocked or devastated with an end of cruise bill.
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#8
NYC
3,665 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
For many first timers the most shocking cruise charge isn't from the ship - it's from their cell phone company.

Naive to maritime satellite data charges, these people use their cell phone on the ship as they would on shore, send out vacation videos, maybe even track the ship's GPS. Then comes the $2400 cell phone bill for all the data use.
#9
kalamazoo, mi
97 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Many years ago you were not able to check your balance on the tv and your bill was left outside your door on the last morning. I got up early and grabbed our bill and it was pages long and over 1,000. I almost had a heart attack. We did not have much money back then and my kids were middle school age. My first thought was that I needed to kill my son because he probably did it and then worried about how we would get off the ship because I could not pay it. As my eyes focused I realized that they had placed a different room's bill at my door.


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#10
Utah
147 Posts
Joined Sep 2016
On every cruise we have been on you are well aware of what you are spending for each extra charge. We find it no different from any vacation - decide before you go what your budget is and keep an eye on your charges as the week progresses. Fortunately we have not experienced any of those not so good surprises.
#11
345 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Other than at the security checkpoints or to open your cabin door that little card is just like a debit/credit card. Use it now and pay later. Check with guest services (or on Princess they have kiosks) for your daily balance. No reason to be surprised.

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#12
16,538 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Only once some time ago did I have a wrong charge. Checking daily, I noticed a charge for coffee I didn't have. Charge was reversed after guest services found the receipt not for my folio. No other wrong charge that shocked me.

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#13
southern NM desert
11,178 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by mbhobbs09
I have heard horror stories of people being shocked/devastated at the end of their cruise by the charges they have accrued during the cruise....

Would the majority of this come from onboard drinks?
I'm curious to hear anyone else's experience .... and also a little worried we will rack up a huge tab before we know it on things I didn't budget for.
Our biggest charges are not drink charges but casino tournaments on sea days of transatlantic cruises.
But we always ask for a printout of charges after the first week so there are no shocks and if necessary we cut back on tournaments the rest of the sea days.
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#14
Texas
720 Posts
Joined Apr 2015
Originally posted by galfromkazoo
Many years ago you were not able to check your balance on the tv and your bill was left outside your door on the last morning. I got up early and grabbed our bill and it was pages long and over 1,000. I almost had a heart attack. We did not have much money back then and my kids were middle school age. My first thought was that I needed to kill my son because he probably did it and then worried about how we would get off the ship because I could not pay it. As my eyes focused I realized that they had placed a different room's bill at my door.


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I would have lost it!
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#15
Washington
6,016 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
We had a huge charge for 10 people eating sushi on the last night of our cruise on Allure. I went to guest services. Luckily, we had had dinner in the steakhouse that night and I pointed that out to them, and that there were only 2 of us on the cruise and we certainly were not paying for strangers to eat dinner in the sushi restaurant. They removed the charges. Since disembarkation had already begun, I don't know if they ever sorted out who it was who charged the sushi to our suite.
#16
Romsey England
11,354 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
If they're not from North America those folk are probably referring to the daily "tips" / service charge / call-it-what-you-will - something which newbies don't know about & which cruise lines and (Brit) T/A's are rather coy about mentioning before booking - yes, it's somewhere on the websites but pretty obscure for a cost which adds around 10% of the ticket price and which unsurprisingly comes as a shock to them..
Typically the daily charge is around $14 per person per day on US ships, the equivalent in euros on Italian ships, and about half of that or no charge at all on cruise lines like P&O or Fred or Thomson / TUI which major on Brit cruisers.

Depending on which country / state the cruiser is from, drinks prices are high and on US / Italian ships there's a service charge of 15% to 188%* That might be a lot more than the cruiser was expecting, but bar & wine prices are shown on menus & the service charge on the chit for every order so it shouldn't come as a shock after the first round, and if it's too heavy for the cruiser's pocket they can modify their drinking to suit their pocket.

Ditto other prices on pretty-well all cruise ships for spa, speciality dining, excursions, etc etc. but these are all optional extras and the prices clearly shown before ordering.

As the pirate has mentioned, sometimes a member of the family will over-spend & that can come as a bit of a shock.
Married men will know that this doesn't just happen on cruise ships (MCP joke )

Other posters have mentioned errors, but these are rare - you sign for everything (except that daily charge), you get a copy, and you can reconcile them with the itemised account.

JB
* 188% was a typo, should have been 18%. But I haven't corrected it cos it'll probably be accurate in a few years time
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#17
2,331 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
It always help if you are born a cheapskate and not an impulse buyer. I rarely spent over my budget when I am on a cruise.
#18
Muscat/Oman and Sydney/Australia
745 Posts
Joined May 2011
Well, I tend not to be shocked by charges at the END of the cruise, but rather by the charges posted for some services. Especially souvenir photos (99% tacky) and spa charges. Hundreds of $ for a few hours of massage and a facial? I am accustomed to prices in Asia and I could not relax thinking of the cost of the service.
Not even double happy ending in certain establishments in Bangkok would cost that much (from hear say) ;-)
#19
New Cumberland,PA, USA
27,342 Posts
Joined May 2000
[quote=John Bull;53338155]there's a service charge of 15% to 188%* That might be a lot more than the cruiser was expecting, but bar & wine prices are shown on menus & the service charge on the chit for every order so it shouldn't come as a shock after the first round, and if it's too heavy for the cruiser's pocket they can modify their drinking to suit their pocket.

.......................................

JB
* 188% was a typo, should have been 18%. But I haven't corrected it cos it'll probably be accurate in a few years time [/quote

JB, We think your 188% was in reference to the future tip percentage here in US restaurants .

Hank
#20
Boston
4,725 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Originally posted by BlueRiband
For many first timers the most shocking cruise charge isn't from the ship - it's from their cell phone company.

Naive to maritime satellite data charges, these people use their cell phone on the ship as they would on shore, send out vacation videos, maybe even track the ship's GPS. Then comes the $2400 cell phone bill for all the data use.
This is what immediately came to my mind