Don’t Sink Your Wallet: 7 Things You Should Never Buy While on a Cruise

Cruise excursion in Cozumel

Joel Carillet/istockphoto

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Cruise excursion in Cozumel
Joel Carillet/istockphoto

Thrifty Travel

As soon as you set foot on a cruise ship, you’ve effectively marooned yourself on a budget-busting island. Sure, your food might be included, but can you resist the tropical cocktails, the enticing room upgrades, or the specialty dining options? Few besides the thriftiest, most dedicated budgeters can. Still, it doesn’t hurt to try, which is why we’ve come up with seven things you should never buy while on a cruise.

Related: How To Book Cheap Cruises, According to Frugal Redditors

Luxury cruise ship travel champagne glasses on balcony deck with ocean sunset view on Caribbean vacation. Drinks in sun flare on cruise holiday destination.


If you want to booze on a budget, you’ve only got one option: Smuggle your alcohol onboard in a flask disguised as a bottle of sunscreen. Otherwise, you’ll either have to buy your drinks individually (expensive) or opt for an all-inclusive drinks package (also expensive). And remember: You can have fun without drinking!

Related: 20 Bucket-List Cruises Worth Saving For

Hot stone massage therapy
Organising My Suitcase

Manicures and Pedicures

So you want picture-perfect nails on vacation? No judgment. Just get them done before boarding or at port, or you’ll risk spending an arm and a leg. And even if the ship’s manicurist has their sea legs, there’s no guarantee that they won’t screw up once the waters get choppy.

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Man going snorkeling


Don’t waste your money on the cruise ship’s pre-planned excursions. Either avoid them altogether, or plan your own activities with third-party companies. It's not as overwhelming as it sounds. Just search for the location plus "excursions," and you should find some promising offerings.

Content ethnic woman messaging via smartphone on embankment


We know that cruising isn’t camping, but still, can’t you live without TikTok and Instagram for a few days? If the answer is yes, then you might save a boatload of cash, as some cruise ships charge per device. Plus, longtime cruisers say that you can usually find free Wi-Fi at an onboard bar or shop.

Dining Room Buffet aboard the luxury abstract cruise ship

Premium Foods

Your expensive cruise ship ticket includes food from the buffet — often quite good! — so don’t be tempted by so-called premium dining options.