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

Cruise excursion in Cozumel

Joel Carillet/istockphoto

Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
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.

Need more cruise advice? Take a look at these 20 things that you should never do on a cruise.

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!

Hot stone massage therapy

Spa Treatments

Pamper yourself at the on-shore spa back in your hometown, not on some overpriced cruise. Cruise spa treatments are wildly expensive, and veteran cruisers say that the employees are often pushy about upgrades. Do you really want to listen to a sales pitch while at the spa?

Organising My Suitcase


Make a list of essentials and check it twice before you board, because the prices for basic hygiene products on cruises are insane. As a last resort, you can visit a pharmacy or drug store at port.


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.

For more budget travel tips, please sign up for our free newsletters.

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.

Related: 20 Bucket-List Cruises Worth Saving For

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.

Related: Surprising Facts You Never Knew About Cruise Ships

Dining Room Buffet aboard the luxury abstract cruise ship