Cruise secrets: Cruise expert reveals the 10 biggest rip offs to watch out for

Paying for excursions, additional drinks, gifts and more can result in a hefty bill, and many cruise goers end up spending more than they may need to

Gary Bembridge, author and founder of Tips for Travellers, revealed his cruise tips, warning cruise-goers of some of the rip offs to watch out for.


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Bembridge said that the main thing that cruisers spend too much money on is wifi. Wifi is generally not free on cruises and he says it can cost anywhere between $40c-$75c per minute.

“You can buy various packages to help reduce the cost but you can easily be spending per person for one device $200-$300 dollars on a seven night cruise,” says Bembridge.

He advises the best way to get around it is to assess whether you really need it. If you are on a very “port intensive cruise,” Bembridge advises that you can use their wifi when you’re on land and switch off when you’re on the ship overnight.

“Or you could choose one of the cruise lines that is offering wifi with the fare. Virgin Voyages and Saga Cruises include wifi within the package,” added Bembridge. He also advised passengers to switch off data roaming on their phones to avoid surprise charges.

Next on the list for the biggest rip offs to watch out for were excursions, which is frequently offered on board by cruise lines.

Bembridge said: “Excursions can amount to many hundreds spent over a week long or longer cruise. But there are loads of alternatives to cruise line excursions.”

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The author mentioned that he likes to look for hop on and hop off buses for a cheaper excursion option. “They often come to the cruise point, it comes with some commentary and it’ll take you to key sites,” he said.

“Also third party providers will offer the same as many cruise lines, be much cheaper and have smaller groups.”

Spa treatments made the list at number three, as Bembridge says they’re “incredibly expensive.”


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“Sometimes when you compare them to spa treatments in London for example, they are equally or more expensive.”

To avoid the high prices, Bembridge recommends doing spa treatments during port days. “You’ll find huge reductions on spa treatments on port days because less people go. You can often get 40 percent more off a spa treatment.”

Cruise-goers can also save money on photographs which can get pretty pricey.

“Photographs taken by cruise photographers are pretty expensive to buy and you can get around that by taking your own photographs,” he said.

Other points mentioned in Bembridge’s list included bottled water. While ships are moving to more environmentally friendly options, bottled water is still an expensive option used by many cruise lines, and passengers can often spend a lot of money on this.

In addition, Bembridge advises cruise goers to save money on single supplement rooms, on-board shops, art auctions, drinks and ice cream.

He added: “The best way to avoid being ripped off on a cruise is to look at everything that’s not included in your fare and looking at that as a possible are to be ripped off in.

“Stuff that’s not included in your fare is seen as revenue generation, they’re going to try and get as much money as possible from the passengers on board the ship. That’s where you could end up spending a lot of money.”

Gary Bembridge’s 10 biggest cruise rip offs to watch out for

1. Wifi

2. Excursions

3. Spa treatments

4. Photographs

5. Bottled water

6. Single supplement rooms

7. On board shops

8. Art auctions

9. Coffee, teas, juices & ice creams

10. Avoid the on-board shops

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