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I am going on my first cruise to the med for 12 days in July and was wondering how much money to bring. Secondly i would like to know how to make arrangements to per pay for all the tips during the trip. Can this be done and who sets it up?
You charge EVERYTHING on the ship on your Seapass card --- that's drinks, soda cards, purchases in shops on the ship, bingo cards, etc.
You can also charge your tips to your Seapass card. You will receive a questionnaire in your stateroom early on in the cruise, asking if you want to charge your tips. If so, you will receive a voucher for the recommended tip amount for each server, along with an envelope. If you want to add extra cash to the envelope, you can, and then you hand the envelope to your server or room steward at the end of the cruise. If you don't give them the envelope and you are giving them just the recommended/voucher amount, they will still get the tip. This is the method of pre-paying tips.
How much money will you spend? That's entirely subjective. Some people spend thousands and thousands of dollars. You can get away with spending nothing (but your tips). Some of the places you will spend extra money are:
- Soda Card (about $5 a day plus tip)
- Bingo Cards (about $35 for a pack)
- Photos ($9.95 and up). Just a note: you don't have to purchase the photos that are taken ... they take the picture, then you review them and only buy the ones you want
- Drinks (this is what can really get people!) $4.95 for liquor drinks (and up to $8.95); wine is a bit expensive, beer is about $4 a bottle
- Surcharge restaurants (Johnny Rockets, Chops, Portofinos)
- Shopping in the on-ship stores (fragrance and makeup, logo clothing store, jewellery store, souvenir shops, duty free liquor and cigarettes)
- On board Art Auctions (not my cup of tea, but some people swear by them!)
- Extra charge fitness classes like spinning and pilates (most classes are free, and the equipment is free) - $10
- Onshore excursions
- Spa services (can be very pricey)
We are moderate drinkers who buy some photos, eat in the specialty restaurants at least once, and I normally buy some stuff in the shops. We spend about $100 a day on the ship (including tips). We don't spend much onshore, and normally pay for our excursions in advance. I usually carry about $150 in small bills to use for extra tips (and room service tips), taxis and other small purchases ashore. There are ATMs almost everywhere now ... and virtually everyone accepts Visa/MC/Amex.
Hope this helps ... but you'll really have to do some figuring yourself.
NEXT UP: Across the pond ... April 2013 PAST: 15+ cruises on Royal Caribbean & Celebrity
Waterbaby did a good job covering expenses on the ship and the sail and sign card. It should be noted though that you are going on a.) your first cruise - where you will probably buy more than on any other cruise and b.) to the Med which is entirely different than a week long cruise to the Caribbean where many of your ports have the same things for sale. (I have sailed to the Med before.) I definitely spent more money on this cruise than on the majority of my other ones - I think the only one that has topped it was Australia/New Zealand. That was my first time to Europe and, thus, I really wanted to see and do everything.
In Med. ports you can plan on spending the majority of the day onshore which means you need to allow for food, snacks, etc. in your spending. I didn't necessarily find it to be outrageous over there price-wise but bottles of water, sodas, wine, croissants, etc. can add up for say 9 days in port. (Venice and Monte Carlo were the exception to that as they were both pretty expensive.) I also took an excursion in over half the ports which I would not have done the Caribbean and those are quite pricey. Being that we were in ports where English may not be spoken at all we signed up for them through the ship making them even more costly; though all of them were totally worth the money I spent.
I don't know if your ship is doing an overnight anywhere - we stayed overnight in Venice so we ate in Venice then went out for drinks in St. Mark's Square. We had a perfect night there and with the music coming from the café's etc. it couldn't have gotten any better. However I can also tell you that several years ago 5 hot chocolates - the best in the world, and one screwdriver was over $100!
What you spend is totally up to you; you can make it totally affordable or totally outrageous. I am always in the middle. I would plan on $150 per day for the Med cruise - you may spend more than that on some days in port but on others, say at sea, you shouldn't come close to that amount unless you are a heavy drinker or gambler. Keep in mind as well that for larger purchases in port you will want to use a credit card so you get that days exchange rate. And yes, the ship will be able to exchange some money for you in each country you go to so you will have some cash for taxis, sodas, small purchases, etc. When you leave that country if you have leftover you can change it on the ship again for the currency of the next port.
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Depending on what country you’re from, you should really look into either a credit card with no conversion fees, or an ATM card with no withdrawal fees. If you going to be backpacking around Europe, you DO NOT want to have alot of cash on you. Also, from your list of possible countries listed I know that most are on the Euro or take it, but in Switzerland for instance, they may take Euro, but they give change in Franks, and good luck using that anywhere else in Europe.
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