Benefits of booking future cruises while on a cruise…What’s a drink package?…Tomorrow, we’ll be in Boston…

The sun finally appeared over the rough waters ended as we traversed across the Atlantic Ocean.

Perceived value is everything. While on a cruise, there are a few ways in which to save money. We’ve found it important to carefully analyze cruise offers to ensure they are in fact worthwhile. In some cases, we’re pleasantly surprised and in others disappointed that its “six of one, half dozen of another,” essentially perceived value.

Tom, caught off guard while chatting with another passenger.

To purchase a drink package upon boarding one is allowed unlimited alcoholic beverages (not premium) each day of the cruise. At a cost of approximately US $70 plus 15% gratuity per person per day, it may not be worthwhile to purchase a package. Most cruise lines have multiple packages from which to choose. Its best to check with the cruise line selected when each offers varying priced packages.

Many cruise lines requires both partners of a couple to purchase the package to avoid “sharing.” This doesn’t work for us. Other cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean, will allow one person to purchase the package. 

Josey, whom we met aboard the ship, showed us the beautiful quilt she made during the cruise using a portable showing machine she’d packed. Many passengers busy themselves with their favorite hobbies and forms of relaxation while cruising.

In Tom’s case, it never makes sense for him to purchase the package when he’d never drink enough cocktails in a day to pay for itself. On an average night, he may have two cocktails at most, usually at US $8 each (plus tip). 

Aerial equipment for an upcoming show.

There are non-alcoholic packages that run under US $20 but, I don’t drink specialty coffees, teas, soda, or very much bottled water. The ship’s water is purified through reverse osmosis and I’m fine drinking that. 

View from above the Centrum area.

Onboard ship, I drink hot black tea which is included in the fare and for a cold beverage, our own made ice tea.  At dinner, I order plain water or hot tea neither of which incur a charge

Singer rehearsing for the show.

On the upcoming cruise from Sydney to Auckland in January 2016, Tom opted for the drink package when it was offered as a perk for booking the cruise as opposed to other perks, none of which would save us as much as the drink package. 

The dancer’s costumes were elaborate for the upcoming evening’s entertainment.

That will be the first cruise on which he’ll have chosen the drink package.  In that particular case, the drink package included both of us but, it still made financial sense to choose this free perk. So, I’ll order occasional sparkling water. No big deal.

Dancers during daytime rehearsal for nighttime entertainment in the Centrum area.

As for other perks aboard the ship, there is the popular cruise “open booking” option which includes the following benefits:

  • US $200 deposit for two, as opposed to the usual US $900 deposit. For long away cruises, this makes sense when it’s foolish to have several US $900 deposits out there as far as two years or more
  • Onboard credit up to US $250 for balcony cabins (the lowest category we’ll select) or as much as US $400 should we choose a suite which we may select if pricing is right
  • Choosing a specific cruise when paying these deposits is not required. The deposit(s) are held by the cruise line until we’re ready to commit to a cruise.
  • Our current cruise agency, in our case Anna Urban at Vacations to Go, will receive their usual credit when we eventually book the cruise. This is important to us when we appreciate the diligent work the agency has done for us over the past few years.
  • Pre-booking guarantees the lowest cruise fare up to 90 days before sailing date but as always its up to us to keep tabs on price changes. Tom has an app for that, (small fee) or the free alert system at
Decorative ship’s wheel.

We’re planning to purchase two open-ended cruises while on our upcoming cruise to Hawaii with two deposits paid for a total of US $400. Still unsure of which cruises we’ll eventually book, we’ll receive the lowest and best possible prices when we’ve found cruises can be worked into our schedule.

Through the tinted glass in the aft of the ship after the rough seas settled down.

Last night we had a most enjoyable dinner in the specialty restaurants, Chop’s Grille, with our new friends whom we adore, Laura and Michael. We’re already planning to see them in the future and definitely we’ll be staying in touch until then.

The cruise ending tomorrow doesn’t leave us feeling sad or disappointed. With three days in Boston with family, six days in Vancouver and another cruise to Hawaii, we’re elated over the prospect of each day.

We’ll be back tomorrow while we wait to disembark the cruise with more new photos. Have a happy Saturday, dear readers, and many more days to come.

                                              Photo from one year ago, September 13, 2013:

It was one year ago today, that we booked our safari in the Maasai Mara (there are two spellings for Masai and Maasai). We were so excited especially knowing that three weeks later we’d be on our way. For details from that date, please click here,