Can We Cruise WITHOUT a Passport ?
If you are both American Citizens, and going on a closed-loop cruise that leaves from the USA and returns there, then the answer is YES
BUT having a Passport no matter what is a good idea, because IF anything should go wrong, you’ll need a Passport to get onto a plane and fly back to the USA… OR prove your status to the Authorities (including a US Embassy) in the event of an Emergency to qualify for the help you are entitled to.
Cruise costs vary by lines, time of year, length of cruise, and WHERE your cabin is on the ship (lower and inside cabins cost less than uppers and outsides… those with balconies or Suites)
There are a fair number of expenses associated with going on a cruise that are not covered by your cruise fare – generally they include… Transportation to the Port (such as airfare & baggage costs and it is recommended to arrive the day before) – Overnight Port Accommodations – Transportation to the Pier – Almost ALL Drinks while aboard the ship (including Bottled Water, Pop, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Alcohol, and Specialty Coffees) – Photographs taken by the Ship’s Photo Team – Ship Souveniers – Onboard Specialty Restaurants – Spa & Beauty Services – Special Occasion Packages – Internet Access – Wine, Beer & Liquor Tasting Sessions – Some Workshops – Shore Excursions – Meals & Drinks ashore – and any Shopping
As well some Cruise Lines include the Tips & Gratuities into OR onto your cruise fare, others have you pay those daily (to a pooled fund) OR have you pay them on your own to the crew (some people also choose to top-up the daily rates, or extra tip for extra-ordinary service)
ALL of these extra’s add up… some claim that the Cruise Ships are now nickel & diming their customers, while others say they like the fact that everyone can make choices for what they want to do / pay for, and so the basic cruise fares are lower than if everything was all-inclusive (which is part of the reason the luxury lines are so dang expensive)
Generally speaking for your first cruise you can count on paying aprox 25% to 50% ontop of your basic cruise fare (cabin rate for 2) for all the extras you’ll have to cover (Hubby and I say, it is the “invisible” third person in the cabin)
There are certainly people who can do it for less… but if you are a drinker, or out to have a good time and enjoy the luxuries offered, that is where the pricing comes in at.
As for Alcohol Programs, not a lot of cruise lines offer them. There are certainly Pop, Bottled Water and Coffee Programs, even some Wine Bottle Packges. But only a few Cruise Lines offer Alcohol Packages. (NOTE be sure and check out any Cruise Line you are considerings BYOB Policy as well… some won’t allow you to bring anything aboard, some allow a certain number of Bottles of Wine for example)
Hubby and I like Celebrity Cruise Lines… because they are pretty luxurious for a mid-priced cruise line, and have wonderful service (and some beautiful ships). They also have a fabulous assortment of Beverage Packages… something for everyone… and the prices are reasonable for what you get.
Hope this is helpful,