Cruises offer great opportunities for vacationers to see the world from a luxury liner. However, these trips aren’t always cheap. According to CostHelper, the per-person cost of a cruise can range from $180 for a trip to the Caribbean to $33,000 for a voyage to Antarctica.
How much you spend on your cruise depends not only on the trip you book, but also the items you end up buying along the way. In fact, a few add-ons and extra purchases can easily increase your final trip price by several hundred dollars. If you’ve never been on a cruise before, you need to be aware of possible upcharges and make sure you read the fine print on every reservation-related document you sign.
If you’re a first-time cruiser and paying close attention to your budget, it’s important to avoid these seven mistakes that could derail your frugal trip-planning efforts.
1. Paying Extra for Wi-Fi and Data Roaming Charges
Staying connected online can be a challenge when you’re out at sea, especially on a multi-day cruise. While major cruise lines including Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Lines are taking steps to provide high-quality, broadband Wi-Fi access to passengers, this service comes at a price.
According to the latest research from Skift, passengers end up spending between $50 and $100 a day just for Wi-Fi access. If you’re going on a seven-day cruise, you could easily spend $700 just to stay connected during your journey.
And if your phone starts to pick up other signals that are out of your carrier’s range, you might end up paying data roaming charges every time you use an app or check your email. Make sure to check your settings before departure and pay close attention to Wi-Fi access fees before you connect.
2. Buying Drink Packages
If you plan on enjoying alcoholic beverages during your cruise, one of the best ways to save is by buying an all-inclusive package for unlimited drinks. Just make sure you’re aware of any extra charges and rates when buying the package online versus during your trip.
For example, the Cheers! all-inclusive program available on most Carnival Cruise Lines ships costs $49.95 per person, per day, plus 15 percent gratuity ($57.44), if you buy online. However, you will end up paying $54.95 per person, per day, plus 15 percent gratuity ($63.19), if you buy the package onboard. This $6 difference might not seem like a lot, but that’s almost $30 extra for a five-day cruise.
3. Dining at Restaurants Not Included in the Package
Even if your cruise vacation is part of an all-inclusive package that includes meals and drinks, most cruise lines still have limitations on where you can eat and what beverages you can enjoy. If you end up buying meals or snacks from venues that aren’t part of the package, you will be billed in full when you check out — plus gratuity.
For example, a cruise vacation aboard a Royal Caribbean ship will include most meals and some beverages. However, if you end up dining at any of the ship’s specialty restaurants, such as Johnny Rockets — and you order beverages — you will be charged extra. Make sure you read the cruise line’s terms for any gourmet dining purchases during your trip, and whether you can use gift cards at onboard restaurants.
4. Only Booking Excursions Through the Cruise Line
While it’s worth checking out the latest deals and packages listed by your cruise line of choice, don’t limit your search to cruise line activities because you think you will be saving money by going direct.
Cruise and travel writer Sherry Laskin Kennedy of Cruise Maven Travels recommended booking your cruise with a travel agent because these agents receive the timeliest updates directly from the cruise lines. Consider them your travel insiders, since they get information about the newest menus, changes to itineraries and availability.
You can also find cruise deals using the online Cruise Agent Finder tool from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
5. Neglecting to Pack Essentials
Packing for a cruise often means downsizing your usual packing list to accommodate for smaller cabin space. However, that doesn’t mean you should skimp on the basics like toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair-care products and even snacks.
You might think you can just buy these items at a gas station along the way, or pick up personal care products and food from the cruise ship’s convenience store, but doing so means paying marked-up prices.
For best results, buy travel-sized versions of your favorite toiletries and bring them along.
6. Buying Souvenirs and Duty-Free Goods
It’s tempting to pick up souvenirs from the gift shop or stock up on handmade goods and other items when you’re island-hopping and exploring new territory aboard your cruise. However, many of these items can be purchased online at a lower price. So, it pays to wait and shop around if you have time.
If you decide to venture to a duty-free store aboard an international cruise, make sure you’re not seduced by the idea of your purchases being discounted. Americans who meet their duty-free spending limits are still subject to duty charges when they enter the U.S. A single traveler gets an $800 exemption, but the next $1,000 worth of goods purchased are subject to a flat 3 percent rate.
7. Buying Spa Products and Packages
Almost all the cruise lines boast luxury spas that serve up pampering at a premium. However, you can probably enjoy a much-needed relaxation session for less if you book services offsite.
Cruise lines and travel agents often try to schedule travelers treatment packages that are simply added to their bookings. These might include multiple treatments in one day or over several days of the cruise. You might also find recommendations on spa products to purchase in your cabin or when you check out from the spa. However, you should make sure you’re aware of the a la carte menu prices for those massages, pedicures and other spa treatments before you agree.
For example, the Canyon Ranch SpaClub offerings aboard Celebrity Cruises include massage treatments ranging from $145 to $209. However, you’ll knock off about $50 per service if you book your spa service when the vessel is in port. And if you really don’t need a high level of pampering, ask about getting a pass to the spa pools and relaxation areas and treat yourself to one treatment a la carte that fits your budget.
This article originally appeared on GoBankingRates.