Cruise Upselling: Gone Too Far or Just Right for You?

Imagine setting sail on a luxurious cruise ship, the vast ocean stretching before you. Sounds idyllic, right? But hold on – that $30 boozy milkshake, $63 pickleball lessons, and $400 poolside daybed might throw a wrench in your dream vacation. Welcome to the world of upselling on modern mega-cruises.

A recent Wall Street Journal voyage aboard Royal Caribbean’s behemoth, the Icon of the Seas, highlighted the myriad opportunities to spend way beyond the initial ticket price. This begs the question: has upselling on cruises gone too far?

While cruise lines often tout themselves as all-inclusive, the reality, especially on mainstream lines like Royal Caribbean, paints a different picture. While the base fare covers basic accommodation, meals in specific venues, and some entertainment, a plethora of additional charges lurk around every corner, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting passengers.

From specialty dining experiences and shore excursions to spa treatments and deluxe drink packages, the temptations to splurge are endless. Craving that fancy seafood restaurant? Prepare to shell out an extra $25-$65. Yearning for a spa day? Be ready to loosen your purse strings for a $169 treatment. It seems no aspect of the cruise is immune to the upsell.

But amidst this sea of added costs, can you still have a fulfilling cruise experience without succumbing to upselling? The Wall Street Journal’s voyage offers some interesting insights.

One passenger, a champion of frugality, meticulously avoided extra expenses. Armed with a strategically purchased bottle of wine (thanks to BYOB policies) and opting for exploring the ship’s amenities over pricey shore excursions, they managed to keep their additional spending to a mere $253. Surprisingly, they experienced minimal FOMO (fear of missing out) despite shunning the upsell temptations.

This approach highlights the abundance of complimentary offerings onboard. From delicious meals in the main dining room to captivating entertainment like Broadway shows and dazzling water displays, there’s plenty to enjoy without breaking the bank.

However, for some, the allure of indulgence is irresistible. Whether it’s splurging on a poolside daybed or booking many extra activities, a segment of cruisers embrace the upsell, viewing it as an integral part of the experience.

Ultimately, whether upselling has gone too far is subjective, hinging on individual preferences and financial considerations. For some, the extra costs enhance their experience, offering a taste of luxury and indulgence. For others, the constant barrage of upsell opportunities feels overwhelming and even off-putting.

As the cruise industry evolves, upselling is likely to remain a prominent feature. Finding the right balance between value and extravagance will be up to each traveler to navigate as they embark on their own high seas adventure.

So, will you succumb to the High Seas Temptation or sail the frugal seas? The choice is yours, captain!

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