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How to avoid cost traps on cruise lines

The magazine "Finanztest" has listed a few cost traps that the travel portal Travelbook has added. What to look out for to avoid unpleasant surprises on a cruise.

  1. Own arrival
    If you book the trip to the ship by plane or train yourself, you can sometimes save money compared to the package. However, in the event of a delay, there is a high risk that the ship will be gone. The vacationer then has no claim to compensation.

  2. Tip
    Especially with international shipping companies, tips are only collected on board. There, more than 10 euros per day and passenger is quite common. In Germany, the final price including tips must be listed right from the start - regardless of the location of the shipping company. Tip: calculate ancillary costs exactly. If tips are hidden in footnotes and terms and conditions, the guest can defend himself against an automatic debit, according to the "financial test".

  3. Telephone costs
    Using cell phones on the ship can be really expensive. Prices per minute for calls of up to 6.50 euros are possible. Data usage can also tear big holes in the budget. Tip: Turn off the options "Automatic network selection" and "Cellular data".

  4. Credit card payment
    According to the "Finanztest", some shipping companies calculate the costs outside of the EU. Then a fee of one to two percent is often due when paying with the card. Some shipping companies even charge three percent if the guest does not pay in the usual on-board currency - such as US dollars. Tip: Check out the card company's fees beforehand.

  5. Luggage insurance
    Luggage insurance is actually expensive and, according to the magazine, rarely covers the entire damage. However, the shipping company is not liable for theft from the cabin on a cruise. Tip: check your home insurance. Because this sometimes covers the theft damage. If not, the vacationer can consider baggage insurance

  6. Shore excursions
    Of course, the cruise organizers want guests to book the shore excursions on the ship, if possible, with the in-house agency. This guarantees, for example, that passengers will definitely be back on the ship on time. It is often much cheaper if you book the tours with third-party providers, such as Getyourguide, Viator from Tripadvisor or Many tours at the various locations are specially designed for the docking cruise ships, so it is ensured that the passengers are back on board on time.

In addition, "Finanztest" examined when cruise vacationers can claim part of the travel price and even compensation due to defects. It is serious when shipping companies can only offer an inside cabin instead of the promised balcony cabin. Then the guest can cancel or break off the trip, and there is compensation for lost vacation pleasure.

Route changes can also justify a small discount - but this does not apply if the ship has to switch to another port due to a storm. The shipping company is also not responsible for damage caused by high waves - the general risk to life applies. (red, February 22nd, 2017)