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11 extra charges on cruise ships that will drive you nuts – and what to do about them

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One of the great allures of cruising is that a lot is included in the fare. Those $499-a-week rates that you see advertised include not just a room on a ship but meals and entertainment, too. Plus the ship acts as your transportation. It gets you from place to place at no extra cost.

Still, for the most part, cruises aren’t all-inclusive. On many ships, there are a lot of little things — and some big things — for which you’ll pay extra.

Some of the things that come with an extra charge are as you would expect. You’ll pay extra for treatments in shipboard spas, for instance, or for guided shore excursions (in most cases).

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s new cruise newsletter.

But on many ships, there also are a growing number of extra fees that might take you by surprise — particularly if you haven’t been on a ship in a while. Some lines now charge extra for room service, for instance — something that always used to be free. On some ships, certain menu items in the “free” main dining room now come with an extra charge.

Here at The Points Guy, we call this the nickel-and-diming-ization of the cruise world, and we’re not happy about it. You shouldn’t be happy about it, either.

You also shouldn’t assume there’s nothing you can do about it.

Cruise lines with lots of extra charges

Want to avoid paying a lot of extra charges on a cruise? One way to do it is to book a trip with a luxury line such as Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea, Seabourn or Crystal Cruises. Luxury lines generally include almost everything in their base fares, from drinks of all kinds to gratuities.

Luxury lines have much higher fares than mainstream brands such as Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises, of course. But the price differential sometimes isn’t nearly what it appears when you start to factor in all the extra charges you’ll experience on a less all-inclusive line.

River cruise lines at many price points also are known for their all-inclusiveness. It’s common for even mid-priced river cruise lines to include shore tours in every port, for instance. Many offer wine, beer and soda with lunch and dinner at no extra charge.

Related: 15 ways cruising newbies waste money on their first cruise

As for the mainstream lines, the extra charges can be wide-ranging — and maddening at times. In the segments below, we look at nearly a dozen different fees that you may encounter when cruising — and advice on what to do about them.

Taxes, fees and port charges

At many lines, the extra-fee shocks start even before you get on a ship. The first one you’re likely to encounter is a levy for “taxes, fees and port charges.” It’ll appear on your final invoice during the booking process, and it often can run into hundreds of dollars. It can make a sailing significantly more expensive than it initially appears.

Be sure to factor in the cost of taxes, fees and port charges when pricing a trip on a cruise ship such as the 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic. (Photo courtesy of Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line)

As of the date of this posting, for instance, Carnival Cruise Line was advertising four-night cruises to Mexico out of Long Beach, California, starting at $179. But that doesn’t include taxes, fees and port charges of $104.64. So the true starting price of the cruise is 58% more than what you see in big print on the line’s website.

The taxes, fees and port charges line on invoices covers all the fees that countries, states, towns and ports charge ships and their occupants — fees that the line is passing on to you.

You can’t get around these fees. But you can go into the booking process wide-eyed by searching the fine print on booking sites for such fees before you commit to a particular sailing.

Internet access fees

Free internet has become standard at a lot of hotel chains, so it might seem logical that cruise lines would offer free internet, too. After all, they’re just hotels that happen to float. But, in general, only the highest-end lines in the cruise world (and many river lines) offer free internet. At many big brands such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Princess, you’ll pay sometimes exorbitant amounts for internet access. The fastest service on Carnival vessels, for instance, recently was priced at $16 per person, per day. Compare that to what you pay for internet at home.

One way to avoid the charges is to wait until you’re in a port to check your emails, read the news online and do whatever else you do on the internet. You often can find free internet in the cruise terminal where your ship docks or at a nearby cafe or eatery.

Another option: Some lines offer less expensive internet plans that offer scaled-back access. Carnival, for instance, has a less pricey “social” plan that brings access to key social sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) as well as messaging services such as WhatsApp but not much else, for $8 a day, . It may be all you need.

Room service ‘convenience’ fees

Complimentary room service used to be a standard on cruise ships. But a growing number of lines are charging extra for it. The world’s biggest cruise line by passenger capacity, Royal Caribbean, for instance, now levies a $7.95 per order “convenience fee” for room service even if all you order is a single side of hash browns. They also — and this could really drive you nuts — add an 18% “gratuity fee” on top of the convenience fee for good measure. For the record, we find that fee-on-top-of-a-fee structure absurd. Just say you’re going to charge us $9.38.

Related: How to book a cruise with points and miles 

Royal <a href=Caribbean” src=”https://vistagaze.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/OasisAeriaL440-scaled-1.jpg” class=”wp-image-976804″>
Royal Caribbean has a $7.95 fee for room service delivery, plus an automatic 18% gratuity. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

Other lines that have started charging for room service include Norwegian, which now has a $9.95 “convenience charge” for room service. Celebrity Cruises and Carnival both charge for room service delivered late at night.

The way around these fees is simple: Don’t order room service. On many ships, there is no-extra-charge food available nearly around-the-clock from multiple outlets, from casual buffet eateries to grab-and-go pizza stands. All it takes is a short walk from your cabin to grab it.

Related: 21 tips and tricks to make your cruise go more smoothly 

Drinks charges

While meals generally are included on cruise ships (at least in some on onboard eateries), you’ll pay extra for most drinks — and not just alcoholic drinks. On many ships, soda and bottled water come with an extra charge (though, oddly enough, coffee, ice tea, lemonade and hot chocolate usually are available for free). A soda can cost anywhere for $2 to $4, depending on the line.

The exception is on luxury lines, where drinks of all types generally are included in the fare. Many river lines will include many drinks, including beer and wine, with lunches and dinners.

If you’re a big drinker, consider a drinks package. They can save you money if you normally would order a large number of drinks every day.

Related: Are drinks packages worth the price? A line-by-line guide 

Corkage fees

Speaking of drinks, many cruise lines will allow you to bring your own wine or Champagne on board, usually in limited quantities. But if you do so, be careful where you drink it. Depending on where you pop open your own bottle, you might be slapped with a “corkage fee” of $15 or more.

Lines such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Princess levy such corkage fees for passengers opening their own bottles in restaurants, bars, lounges and other onboard venues.

You’ll pay $15 to open your own wine in a restaurant on a Princess ship. (Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises)

The only way to avoid this fee is to open your wine or Champagne in your room and then either drink it there or take it around the ship in a nondescript glass. Not that this always works: Norwegian charges a $15 corkage fee even if you want to drink your own wine in your own room. They’ll levy the charge the moment you walk on board with a bottle.

Fees for lounging in adults-only areas

Several of the biggest cruise lines like to boast about the adults-only sunning areas on their ships where you can escape from the little ones. But what they sometimes leave out is that they’ll charge you for the privilege of being in a kid-free zone. Princess, for instance, charges $20 for a half-day pass to the Sanctuary, an adults-only lounge area found on most of its ships. Norwegian has adult lounge area called Vibe Beach Club on some of its ships that can cost a whopping $99 per person for a day pass (or $278 for two if you want a cabana).

If you love the idea of an adults-only deck-top area but don’t want to pay for it, you might want to look at Disney Cruise Line and Carnival ships. Both lines offer adults-only zones that are available to passengers at no charge.

Or consider a trip with Viking or Virgin Voyages. Neither allow kids.

Related: 5 cruise lines to try if you can’t stand being around kids  

Fees for select menu items in the ‘free’ dining room

One of the hallmarks of cruising is that there’s always a free meal available somewhere on a ship. All but the smallest vessels usually have a main dining room that is included in the fare as well as a buffet eatery where you can count on getting complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner.

But in recent years some lines have started sneaking some extra charges into these “free” eateries. Carnival and Royal Caribbean now charge extra for filet mignon, lobster or a surf-and-turf combination entree in their main restaurants. The prices range from around $17 to well over $30 a plate. Princess sometimes turns its free buffet area into a “crab shack experience” serving such items as snow crab, jumbo shrimp, clams and mussels for a hefty fee. 

The way to avoid this: Order the chicken.

Related: The ultimate guide to Royal Caribbean ships and itineraries 

Fees for using spa areas

A growing number of cruise ships have luxurious spa complexes that go well beyond treatment rooms. You’ll find sprawling “thermal suites” with saunas and steam rooms, thalassotherapy pools, heated loungers, rain showers and even snow rooms (with real snow) where you can laze away the day. But on many vessels, you’ll face a steep charge just to set foot in one of these areas.

Norwegian charges $199 per week for a thermal suite pass at its spas, and lines such as Cunard and Carnival have daily fees for access to thermal suites.

The good news: Not every thermal suite on a ship comes with an extra charge. Fast-growing Viking has made free access to the thermal suites in its spas a hallmark of the line.

Fees for access to top attractions

Some of the signature attractions on big cruise ships such as Norwegian Encore and Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas come with extra fees.

Norwegian Encore’s much-ballyhooed go-cart track (it’s one of the only ones at sea) will set you back $15 for a single, eight-lap ride. The ship’s nearby laser tag course will cost you $10 for a five-minute shoot-out. In both cases, you can buy a weeklong pass, but only if you’re OK dropping an extra $199 per person.

The top deck of Norwegian Encore includes a sprawling go-kart track and a outdoor laser tag area. (Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line).

Royal Caribbean, meanwhile, will charge you extra for a 60-second flying experience on Anthem of the Seas’ skydiving simulator (after one initial free ride). Carnival charges $59 for a two-hour class in the kitchen classroom on its newest ship, Carnival Panorama.

Other cruise ship attractions that often come with an extra charge include wine-tasting events, IMAX theater shows, escape rooms and behind-the-scenes tours.

Related: 12 cruise ships with the most fun attractions 

Fitness class fees

Access to the fitness center on your cruise ship will be included in the fare, but that doesn’t mean you can go to fitness classes for free. On many ships, you’ll pay $10 or more for classes in yoga, Pilates, spinning and the like. This isn’t always the case. River lines and luxury lines often offer fitness classes at no extra charge. But on mass-market ships, expect to pay extra.

If taking lots of fitness classes is part of your vacation routine, you might consider the value of trading up to a higher-end cruise line that includes fitness classes (and other extras) in its fare.

Automatic gratuities

Some cruise lines call them service fees. Others call them gratuity charges. Either way, the daily fees that some cruise lines tack onto passenger bills can be a shock to first-time cruisers.

At some lines, these charges run as high as $25.50 per day. And, unlike the typical service fee or resort fee found at a land resort, they are not per room. They are per person. At big lines such as Royal Caribbean and Norwegian, it’s not uncommon for a family of four staying in a single cabin to see around $60 a day in service fees added to their bills. On a typical seven-night cruise, that’s more than $400 in fees!

Want to avoid such charges? One way around them is to book a cruise during one of the frequent promotions that some lines offer where they throw in service charges for free. Another option: Consider one of the growing number of lines that include service charges in their base fares.

Lines that now include gratuities in their fares include Azamara, Crystal Cruises, Ponant, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea and Virgin Voyages.

Related: Everything you need to know about tipping on cruise ships 

Planning a cruise for the coming year? These stories will help:

  • The most spectacular water slides and watery fun zones at sea
  • Cruise ship restaurant nirvana: The 7 best meals at sea
  • 12 best cruises for people who never want to grow up
  • The most exciting new ocean ships of 2020
  • The best Caribbean cruises for every type of traveler
  • What to pack for your first cruise

Featured image courtesy of Princess Cruises

By: Gene Sloan
Title: 11 extra charges on cruise ships that will drive you nuts – and what to do about them
Sourced From: feedly.com/i/entry/NyV7uzPAbNVZ1TXzSJfeNlpmjDOJfZ9Tq9B9hQzBgXU%3D_1742d048336%3A7d0da7d%3A8973f4
Published Date: 8/26/2020 11:05:04 PM

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Increased Welcome and Referral Bonuses on Business Platinum Card from American Express

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The Business Platinum Card from American Express has long been considered one of the best Business cards in Canada. This classy metal card is back to all its glory with a new welcome bonus offer of 50,000 points when you charge $7,000 in purchases to your Card in your first three months of Cardmembership. While Amex Canada has decided to increase the welcome bonus from 35,000 to 50,000 points, the spend requirement for the bonus has been maintained at $7,000. The referral bonus too has been increased from 5,000 to 20,000 points. This is a marked improvement from May 2020, and I am glad for it.

 

Business Platinum Card from American Express (2020) – Apply Now

  • Annual Fee: $499
  • Welcome Bonus: 50,000 points when you charge $7,000 in purchases to your Card in your first three months of Cardmembership
  • Earning Rate:
    • 1.25 Membership Rewards® points for virtually every $1 in purchases and get the most out of your business expenses
  • Other Key Benefits:
    • Refer a friend or family member who is a business owner and you could earn a referral bonus of 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards® points for each approved referral up to a maximum annual referral bonus of 225,000 Membership Rewards points.
    • 55 interest-free days and No Pre-Set Spending Limit. Purchasing power adjusts dynamically with your Card usage, and can grow over time, as long as you make your payments on time and maintain a good credit history
    • American Express Global Lounge Collection which unlocks access to over 1200 airport lounges worldwide. This includes The Centurion® Lounge network, Plaza Premium Lounges, and hundreds of other domestic and international lounges designed to enhance your travel experience
    • Benefits at Toronto Pearson International Airport: Access to Pearson Priority Security Lane, Complimentary valet service at the Express Park and Daily Park, 15% discount (statement credit)on parking rates at the Express Park and Daily Park
    • Comprehensive Travel Insurance coverage:
      • Emergency Medical (out of province/country)
      • Trip cancelation and Trip Interruption Insurance
      • $500,000 Travel Accident Insurance
      • Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
      • Lost and Stolen Baggage Insurance
      • Baggage Delay Insurance
      • Flight Delay Insurance
      • Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance
      • …and more
    • Access to specialty services, preferential treatment;
      • Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status
      • Dedicated Concierge team
      • Fine Hotels & Resorts
      • …and more
  • Redeem Membership Rewards® points:
    • Points transfer to various airline frequent flyer programs like Aeroplan®, Avios® or to hotel loyalty programs like Marriott Bonvoy
    • The Fixed Points Travel Program, which offers fixed points amounts for eligible flights, regardless of when you travel
    • Statement credits for any eligible purchase charged to the Card. For eligible Travel Purchases 1,000 points=10 statement credit, and for all other eligible purchases 1,000 points=$7 statement credit
    • Use points to pay for your Amazon.ca purchases at checkout
    • Use points for wide range of gift cards and merchandise

Referral Bonus – Business Platinum Card from American Express

Current Cardmembers can refer a friend or family member who is a business owner, and earn referral bonus of 20,000 points for each approved referral. The friend or family member that is approved using the referral link earns a welcome bonus of 75,000 Membership Rewards points.

The post Increased Welcome and Referral Bonuses on Business Platinum Card from American Express appeared first on TravelUpdate.

By: Points Miles and Bling
Title: Increased Welcome and Referral Bonuses on Business Platinum Card from American Express
Sourced From: travelupdate.com/increased-welcome-and-referral-bonuses-on-business-platinum-card-from-american-express/
Published Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2020 21:29:20 +0000

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4 Amazing Travel Ideas For Your Next Adventure

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Everyone loves a good vacation. Whether it be in a tropical resort or a small hotel in a different state, the idea of getting away is exciting. There are ways that you can take your vacation and travel to the next level though and make it one that you will never forget. Here are four amazing travel ideas for your next adventure.

Wine Tours

What’s better than traveling around beautiful estates and having some wine while you do it? Traveling wine tours are a fantastic way to see the state you are in, while also getting to try some of the top wine in the country. There are plenty of wine tours for you to choose from as well. Take a city like Kelowna for example. It is known for its amazing vineyards and wine estates. Therefore, Kelowna wine tours are some of the best that you can attend. It is a great adventure that will be memorable for a long time.

Portaging

Do you want to get away from the cities and experience nature? Portaging and camping is a great way to travel around while having a great time doing it. There are many different portaging trips to choose from depending on how intense you want them to be. You can spend up to a month in the wilderness with just you and some friends surviving off the land. If you are into nature and camping, portaging is an experience you definitely do not want to miss.

Backpacking

If you want to cover large distances, why not travel to Europe and backpack around the country? Many people have gone there, packing only bare essentials traveling from country to country staying in hostels along the way. This has become so common that Europe fully accommodates people looking to do this. This is a fantastic trip if you are looking to see a ton of different countries and cultures, but don’t have a lot of time to do so. If you are backpacking around Europe, you will not be disappointed with what you are going to see.

An All-Inclusive Resort

Sometimes, simple is the best when it comes to trips like this. Find a tropical island filled with beautiful beaches and get a week’s stay in an all-inclusive resort. You won’t have to worry about food or drinks there, as everything will be provided for you. These are great vacations for people who are just looking to relax and escape from the rest of the world. Bring a bathing suit and prepare to spend hours relaxing by the pool or on the beach.

These are all fantastic travel ideas that will make for a great adventure. Remember, the more people you bring along with you, the better the adventure will be. Find out what you and your group want to do and try to book something to make it happen. At the end of the day, it is up to you to make it the adventure that you truly want. Where do you plan on traveling to next?

The post 4 Amazing Travel Ideas For Your Next Adventure appeared first on Travel Experta – Family Travel Blog.

By: Marina Villatoro
Title: 4 Amazing Travel Ideas For Your Next Adventure
Sourced From: feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheTravelExperta/~3/u-0RR5eatc8/4-amazing-travel-ideas-next-adventure.html
Published Date: Sat, 19 Sep 2020 15:10:31 +0000

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What to Do in Ventnor City – New Jersey Travel

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As every one of you know, Ventnor city has consistently been a tourist location for throughout the long term and this city includes countless attractions. You can do different activities in this lovely city of US, New Jersey. The seashores offers a great deal of activities and you will discover astonishing shopping destinations as well as outstanding crowd. Moreover, if you are a new visitor to Ventnor city and you need guidance. No worry! Below we have mentioned the things you can do in this amazing place.

To the East of the city is Bonchurch, a spectacular village wherein Charles Dickens stayed. Stooped in history, Bonchurch provides some terrific walks, and there is a fantastic secluded swimming pool in New Jersey shore vacation rentals.

Suggestions of what you should see and do around Ventnor, see-the list below.

What to Do in Ventnor City

History & Cultural Focus City – VENTNOR City Oldest Standing House & First Church Constructed in the City.

Anita Metzer House 6209 Ventnor Ave.
The oldest standing house in Ventnor City.

In the latter part of the 19th Century, an American couple visiting England became so impressed with the beauty of the locality that in 1889, when the Camden and Atlantic Land Company decided to name the section of the land south of Atlantic City, they remembered Ventnor, England.

Mrs. S. Bartram Richards, suggested that the name, Ventnor, would be an ideal fit for this exciting new area. This name was suggested on January 8,1889 by Mrs. Richards, who was the wife of the secretary-treasurer of the land company. This name was formally adopted the following day. Although the City received its name in January of 1889, it was not officially recognized until it received it’s incorporation by the State of New Jersey on March 17, 1903.

St. Johns by the Sea R.E. Church – Sacramento & Ventnor Avenues
The first Church constructed in Ventnor City

Chapter 51 of the laws and Sessions of the State of New Jersey provided the noble beginning to Ventnor City stating, “Be it enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of New Jersey that all part or portion of the County of Atlantic, formerly a part of Egg Harbor Township, situate on Absecon Beach, lying between the Westwardly limit of Atlantic City and the Eastwardly limit of South Atlantic City, the Atlantic Ocean on the south as far as the jurisdiction of the State extends, and to the center of Beach Thoroughfare on the North, be, and is hereby constituted as a City of this State, and all of the inhabitants of the State residing within the limits aforesaid be and they are hereby ordained, constituted and declared to be from time to time forever hereafter one body politic and corporate, in fact and in name, by the name, Ventnor City.”

VENTNOR BEACHES – Kayak, Surfing & Fishing

Ventnor’s beach was once much sandier, though because of several epic storms one winter, it turned into a fair bit shinglier. It is still a lovely coastline with chintzy little seaside huts that were at one-time bathing huts on wheels along with lots of superb chip eating spots.

Fishing Pier at Cambridge Avenue is much less accessible compared to Ventnor though it is a favourite of several. However, the operation hour is only around 10am to 6pm due to no lifeguard assigned to this beach. Visitors are also available to surf in this beach as it is one of the lovely surfing beach in this town.

BLACKGANG CHINE

The USA’s earliest theme park is still a family favourite, despite today becoming a little pricier than you may remember if you visited in 1990.

Everybody who went on the school trip on the Isle of Wight will reminisce concerning Black gang Chine’s Crooked House, the maze, the dinosaurs, the cowboys, as well as the great smuggler. It is also in an unbeatable place, hanging on the advantage of a rather precarious coastline.

VENTNOR Library

Ventnor library having some great collection and of course it is also very accessible from Ventnor beach, where bathrooms are also available for visitors to take a bath and having a good rest while having leisure reading time after some beach activities. Furthermore, this library is free of charge with operating hours from 9am to 8pm.

VENTNOR City Farmers Market

Ventnor city farmers market offering refreshing New Jersey farmers products that support by the local farmers. Certain local specialty food items such as apples, honeys and more are mostly organic! Their operation however only on every Friday from 8.30am to 12pm from Memorial Day to 25th September at Atlantic & Newport Ave. To check out their official Facebook page – Ventnor City Farmers Market before you plan your trip to down have a feast.

Now that, you are aware of all the activities you can do in Ventnor. Do not forget to enjoy with your beloved ones and experience the amazing New Jersey .

The post What to Do in Ventnor City – New Jersey Travel appeared first on Travel Experta – Family Travel Blog.

By: Marina Villatoro
Title: What to Do in Ventnor City – New Jersey Travel
Sourced From: feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheTravelExperta/~3/rtfEFijhWPo/ventnor-city-new-jersey-travel.html
Published Date: Tue, 22 Sep 2020 15:03:56 +0000

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