Hijacked on the high seas: How cruise lines soak you with charges

Cruise ships are big business. There's something about traveling on a giant tub that attracts us. The appeal is mostly in the fact that you simply don't have to turn on your brain if you don't want to. The food, the driving, the entertainment, the babysitting, the paperwork -- it's all taken care of by someone else. But that ease of mind has its price. Once you're lulled into vacation-mode complacency, the cruise lines are able to sneak in under the radar and open your wallet. They've got to pay for those big ships somehow.

"Cruise Inc.: Big Money on the High Seas," airing this week on CNBC, plumbs the various ways that cruise lines wrest your cash from you. The documentary is particularly apropos right now, when cruise fares are at near-miraculous lows and there has never been a more tempting time to take a cruise. But as CNBC reminds us, the expenses don't end once you pay your cruise fare, largely because it takes so much money to keep these traveling cities afloat.