How Much Spending Money for a 2-Week Cruise?

How Much Spending Money for a 2-Week Cruise? Your Comprehensive Guide

Are you gearing up for the adventure of a lifetime, a 2-week cruise to exotic destinations? Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or a first-time explorer, one crucial question that comes to mind is, “How much spending money do I need?” Well, you’re in the right place because we’ve got your comprehensive guide right here.
The budget is calculated below just scroll to the bottom if you are short on time.

I took this when I visited Viking Sky in 2021.

Setting Sail with Confidence

Budgeting for a cruise is like planning a treasure hunt – it’s exciting and rewarding when you find the right balance. And to ensure you don’t break the bank or miss out on memorable experiences, we’re breaking it down for you step by step.

Cruise Fare Breakdown

Before you even set foot on the ship, you need to consider the cruise fare itself. This is the base cost that covers your accommodation, food, and onboard entertainment.

Our cabin on Virgin Scarlet Lady in 2021, please forgive the silly face, I thought I was being rock n roll but it didn’t work. 

  • Room Type: Your choice of cabin significantly impacts your budget. Interior cabins are usually more affordable, while suites offer luxurious comfort at a higher price point.
  • Cruise Line: Different cruise lines have varying price ranges. Luxury lines may cost more than budget-friendly ones.
  • Destination: The destination you choose can also affect the fare. Some regions are pricier due to their popularity or distance.

Daily Spending Money

Now, let’s dive into the daily expenses you should budget for once you’re onboard.

1. Gratuities

Cruise lines often include gratuities in your fare, but it’s a good idea to budget extra for additional tipping to show appreciation for exceptional service.
The typical gratuities (also known as service charges or tips) on a cruise ship, if not included in your fare, can vary depending on the cruise line and the cabin category you book. However, there are some general guidelines to give you an idea of what to expect:
  1. Per Person, Per Day Charge: Many cruise lines charge a set amount per person, per day for gratuities. This charge typically covers tips for cabin stewards, dining room staff, and other service personnel. The amount can range from $10 to $15 per person, per day, but it may vary based on the cruise line.
  2. Cabin Category: Some cruise lines may charge higher gratuity rates for passengers staying in suites or other premium cabin categories.
  3. Children: Some cruise lines offer reduced or complimentary gratuity rates for children under a certain age.
  4. Automatic vs. Discretionary: Gratuities are often automatically added to your onboard account, and you can adjust or remove them at the guest services desk if you prefer to tip staff members individually in cash.
  5. Prepaid vs. Pay-as-You-Go: Some cruise lines offer the option to prepay gratuities before your cruise, while others allow you to pay them daily during your cruise.
  6. Inclusions: Some luxury cruise lines include gratuities in the cruise fare, so there are no additional charges for tips.

Nagasaki, Japan – three crew members snap a picture.

It’s important to check the specific gratuity policy of the cruise line you’re sailing with, as the amount and process can vary widely. Additionally, some cruise lines may have different gratuity policies for guests in suites, guests on longer cruises, or guests on river cruises, so it’s essential to review the details that apply to your specific cruise.
Keep in mind that gratuities are an important source of income for the ship’s crew, and many work hard to ensure you have an enjoyable cruise experience. While they are typically added automatically, if you receive exceptional service from specific staff members, it’s always appreciated to offer additional tips as a token of your appreciation.

2. Excursions

Plan your shore excursions wisely. Some activities are complimentary, but others can be quite pricey. Research and prioritize your must-do adventures.
The cost of excursions when booking through a cruise line can vary widely depending on several factors, including the destination, the type of excursion, the cruise line itself, and the duration of the excursion. Here are some general guidelines to give you an idea of what to expect:

Plenty of Turtles to see snorkelling in Barbados.

  1. Shorter and Less Complex Excursions: Excursions that are shorter in duration and involve less complex activities (e.g., city tours, and beach visits) can range from $30 to $100 per person.
  2. Intermediate Excursions: Excursions that involve more extended tours, guided activities (e.g., snorkelling, kayaking), or visits to popular landmarks may cost between $100 and $200 per person.
  3. Premium and Adventure Excursions: Premium excursions, such as helicopter tours, wildlife safaris, or exclusive experiences, can range from $200 to $500 or more per person.
  4. Private Tours: If you prefer a more personalized experience, private tours can be significantly more expensive, with prices varying widely based on the destination and the exclusivity of the experience.
  5. Children’s Rates: Cruise lines often offer reduced rates for children on certain excursions, making them more affordable for families.
  6. Package Deals: Some cruise lines offer excursion packages that bundle multiple excursions at a discounted rate. These can provide substantial savings if you plan to book multiple excursions.
  7. Inclusions: Consider what is included in the excursion cost. Some excursions may cover transportation, meals, and equipment rentals, while others may only cover the guided tour.
  8. Gratuities: Remember to budget for gratuities for tour guides and drivers, which may not be included in the excursion price.
  9. Promotions and Discounts: Cruise lines may offer promotions or discounts for excursions, especially if you book in advance or as part of a pre-cruise package.
Keep in mind that these are general price ranges, and actual excursion costs can vary based on your specific cruise itinerary and cruise line. It’s essential to review the excursion options offered by your cruise line and check their pricing and details before your cruise. Additionally, consider your interests and budget when selecting excursions, as there are often a variety of options available at each port of call.

3. Dining and Drinks

Most cruises include meals in the main dining rooms, but speciality restaurants and alcohol are typically not included. Allocate a portion of your budget for these indulgences. 

The cost of a typical drinks package onboard a cruise ship can vary significantly depending on the cruise line, the type of package, and the duration of your cruise. Here are some general guidelines to give you an idea of what to expect:
  1. Basic Non-Alcoholic Packages: These packages typically include unlimited non-alcoholic beverages such as soda, juices, and mocktails. Prices can range from $10 to $20 per person per day.
  2. Standard Alcoholic Packages: These packages include a selection of alcoholic beverages like beer, wine, and basic cocktails. Prices usually start at around $50 to $60 per person per day.
  3. Premium Alcoholic Packages: If you prefer a wider variety of premium and top-shelf liquors, you can expect to pay more. Premium alcoholic packages often start at $70 to $100 per person per day or more.
  4. Couples or Group Packages: Some cruise lines offer discounted packages for couples or groups travelling together. These can provide additional savings.
  5. Children Packages: For families, cruise lines may offer packages for children that include unlimited soft drinks and non-alcoholic beverages at a reduced rate.
  6. Cruise Line and Ship: The price can also vary based on the cruise line and ship. Luxury cruise lines may have more expensive packages, while budget-friendly lines may offer more affordable options.
  7. Duration of the Cruise: Longer cruises may offer packages at a lower daily rate compared to shorter cruises.
  8. Inclusions: Be sure to check what’s included in the package. Some packages may cover beverages in certain bars and restaurants but not others.
  9. Gratuities: Remember to factor in gratuities, which are often added to the package price.
  10. Promotions and Discounts: Cruise lines frequently run promotions and discounts on beverage packages, especially if you purchase them before your cruise or as part of a package deal.
Keep in mind that prices and package details can change, so it’s essential to check with the specific cruise line you plan to sail with for the most up-to-date information on their beverage packages. Additionally, consider your beverage preferences and how often you’re likely to order drinks to determine if a package is cost-effective for your cruise.

4. Souvenirs and Shopping

Who can resist those charming shops onboard? Budget for souvenirs and shopping sprees, but keep in mind that prices might be higher than what you’d find onshore. 

Souvenirs for sale in Kusadasi, Turkey.

The cost of souvenirs onboard a cruise ship can vary widely depending on the type of souvenir, the cruise line, the ship’s location, and the quality of the items. Here are some general guidelines to give you an idea of what to expect when shopping for souvenirs onboard:
  1. Small Trinkets and Gifts: Small, budget-friendly souvenirs like keychains, magnets, postcards, and simple jewellery can range from $5 to $20 each.
  2. Apparel and Clothing: T-shirts, hats, and clothing items with cruise line logos or destination themes typically start at around $20 to $40 each.
  3. Local Crafts and Art: If the cruise includes stops at ports with local artisans, you may find unique handcrafted items, such as artwork, pottery, or textiles. Prices for these items can vary widely, with some pieces ranging from $20 to several hundred dollars.
  4. Fine Jewelry and Watches: Cruise ships often feature high-end jewellery and watch boutiques. Prices for fine jewellery and luxury watches can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
  5. Duty-Free Shopping: Cruise ships offer duty-free shopping for items like perfumes, cosmetics, alcohol, and tobacco. Prices can be competitive with or even lower than onshore duty-free shops.
  6. Exclusive Cruise Line Merchandise: Cruise lines may offer exclusive merchandise related to their brand or specific itineraries. These items can range in price depending on their uniqueness.
  7. Cruise Line Memorabilia: Collectors may be interested in cruise line memorabilia, such as ship models, collectable plates, or limited-edition items. Prices for these items can vary significantly.
  8. Special Sales and Promotions: Cruise lines often have sales and promotions, particularly towards the end of the cruise, where you can find discounted souvenirs.
It’s essential to set a budget for souvenir shopping and prioritize the items you’re most interested in. Keep in mind that some items may be more expensive onboard than what you’d find onshore at your cruise destinations, while others may be exclusive to the ship.
Additionally, consider factors like currency exchange rates if you’re shopping in international waters or at ports of call. If you’re looking for specific souvenirs, it’s a good idea to do some research and compare prices both onboard and at cruise destinations to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.

5. Spa and Wellness

Pamper yourself with spa treatments and wellness activities. These can add up quickly, so budget accordingly if relaxation is a priority.

The cost of spa treatments onboard a cruise ship can vary widely depending on several factors, including the cruise line, the type of treatment, the duration, and the ship’s location. Here are some general guidelines to give you an idea of what to expect:
  1. Basic Spa Treatments: Basic spa treatments like massages, facials, and manicures/pedicures typically start at around $75 to $100 for a 50-minute session. Prices may vary based on the cruise line’s pricing structure.
  2. Speciality Treatments: Specialty spa treatments, such as hot stone massages, aromatherapy, or anti-ageing facials, can range from $150 to $250 or more for a 50- to 75-minute session.
  3. Spa Packages: Some cruise lines offer spa packages that include multiple treatments and may provide a discount compared to booking individual treatments separately. Prices for spa packages can vary widely but often start at a few hundred dollars.
  4. Salon Services: Hair styling, colouring, and other salon services are also available on cruise ships. Prices for these services can vary depending on the complexity of the treatment and can range from $30 for a basic haircut to $100 or more for more intricate styling.
  5. Acupuncture, Chiropractic, and Other Therapies: Some cruise ships offer alternative therapies like acupuncture or chiropractic services. These treatments may have their pricing structure and can range in price.
  6. Specialty Spa Suites: Some cruise ships feature speciality spa suites with private treatment rooms, whirlpools, and other amenities. These suites may offer exclusive treatments at premium prices.
  7. Discounts and Promotions: Cruise lines often offer promotions and discounts on spa treatments, especially on port days when the spa may be less busy. Look for specials in the daily cruise newsletter or inquire at the spa desk.
  8. Gratuities: It’s customary to add gratuities to spa treatments, which are often automatically included in the bill. Be sure to check whether gratuities are included or if you should add tip.
Keep in mind that these are general price ranges, and actual spa treatment costs can vary widely based on your specific cruise line and ship. Luxury cruise lines may have higher spa prices, while budget-friendly cruise lines may offer more competitive rates. It’s a good idea to review the spa menu and pricing details provided by your cruise line to plan your spa experiences and budget accordingly.

Hidden Costs

Cruises often come with hidden costs that catch travellers by surprise. Being aware of these can save you from budgetary shocks.

1. Internet and Communication

Stay connected at sea but prepare for high internet costs. Some ships offer packages, so research these in advance.

2. Transportation to and from Port

Don’t forget to factor in the cost of getting to and from the departure port, especially if it involves flights or long drives.

3. Travel Insurance

While not directly related to onboard expenses, travel insurance is a smart investment for unexpected situations.

Creating Your Cruise Budget

Melissa DavisNow that you have a clear idea of what to budget for, let’s create a sample budget for a 2-week cruise to the Caribbean.

  • Cruise Fare: $2,000 (based on an interior cabin)
  • Gratuities: $200 (approx. 10% of the cruise fare)
  • Excursions: $400 (2 excursions at $200 each)
  • Dining and Drinks: $300 (speciality dining and drinks)
  • Souvenirs and Shopping: $150
  • Spa and Wellness: $200
  • Internet and Communication: $100
  • Transportation to/from Port: $500
  • Travel Insurance: $100
Total Budget: $3,850
This budget provides a comfortable cushion for your 2-week cruise, allowing you to enjoy a variety of experiences without worrying about overspending.
Want to create your budget together, book a FREE 15-minute call with me and let’s organize what is important to you and where you can save money too. Click here to book.

Money-Saving Tips

Now that you’ve got your budget in hand, here are some tips to make the most of your money:
  1. Book Early: Cruise lines often offer discounts for early bookings, so plan.
  2. Package Deals: Look for package deals that include excursions, drinks, or Wi-Fi. These can offer significant savings.
  3. Onboard Specials: Keep an eye out for daily specials on dining and shopping while onboard.
  4. Set a Daily Allowance: To avoid overspending, set a daily spending limit and stick to it.
  5. Use Credit Cards Wisely: Use credit cards with travel rewards to earn points or cashback on your cruise expenses.
  6. Avoid Peak Seasons: Consider cruising during shoulder seasons when fares are lower.
  7. DIY Excursions: Some ports allow you to explore on your own, saving money on guided excursions.

Final Thoughts

Planning your spending money for a 2-week cruise doesn’t have to be stressful. With a well-thought-out budget and some money-saving strategies, you can fully enjoy your cruise without financial worries.
So, pack your bags, set sail, and embark on a memorable journey filled with exciting adventures, delicious dining, and breathtaking destinations. Bon voyage!
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