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Silly Question about Cruises
Old 04-06-2008, 11:20 PM   #1
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Silly Question about Cruises

The cruise-LBYM-not thread was fascinating and got me thinking about trying it out sometime. I have never taken a cruise before, and have always thought of it as something too fancy for us. Wondering if any of you cruise veterans could give a rough estimate on what it actually costs.

For example, if a cruise is listed for $799 on vacationstogo.com., what other costs should be included in our rough cost estimate?

I am thinking I need to at least add:

1. airfare to departure port
2. port fees (?)
3. tips for cruise crew
4. taxes on the $799 (?)
5. excursion fees at various ports, ranging between $50 to $150/person for each activity

Does that seem right?

Happy spring, everyone!
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:44 AM   #2
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Insurance if you want it
Money for gifts and the duty free store
Transfer from airport to ship and back (cruise line usually arranges for $50 a person)
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:20 AM   #3
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Thanks!
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:20 AM   #4
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Unless things have changed, usually drinks aren't included.
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:20 AM   #5
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I think you have outlined most of the added cost associated with cruises, and the incidental transportation, gifts, and possibly insurance that were mentioned above are a few others to consider. And of course, drinks. You can typically get a cheap non-alcoholic beverage package, but if you enjoy cocktails, that can add up fairly quick as well.
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:40 AM   #6
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I went on a Carnival cruise (Nassau,Bahamas, St. Thomas and one other place) two years ago (in February of course when it's coldest).

Drinks are not included, and non-alcoholic drinks are almost as expensive as alcoholic ones, but they did offer upfront a "drink card" where you paid $50 one-time and had free non-alcoholic drinks the whole time. I'm sure other cruise lines offer something similar. And even for the people that did not get a drink card, there was always water and several juices available. Food is included and there are several places onboard where you get different kinds of food anytime day or night. It's like a big floating city so there's ALWAYS something to do.

If you do it get a balcony room, it's definitely worth it. Waking up to the sight and sound of the ocean right next to your bed is the greatest part of the vacation and what I miss the most.

I spent quite a bit of time in the casino -- I enjoy texas hold'em poker and they had a table for it. I'm _decent_ at it, not pro but can hold my own in home games, and I have to say the poker on the cruise ship was filled with suckers. LOL ok not really, but it's a bunch of people there to have a good time and enjoy vacation, so let's just say while there are some good players there are also people just giving money away.

The total amount I spent the entire time, $900 for the cruise plus the occasional alcoholic beverage, tips for the staff and stewards (which really does make a difference in the level of service you get), a couple port excursions, and miscellaneous, was about $1200. But I came out $600 ahead from the poker (casino closed at 3 am /cry). So I paid for half my trip from the casino and I didn't find the poker game until the 4th day of an 8 day cruise.

I think it's the best vacation I've ever had in my life, I've never been so relaxed and hopeful for the future as I was for that week, and I look forward to going back as soon as I can justify it to myself. It's not the cheapest vacation but the costs are pretty fixed and the pleasure/money ratio is off the chart.

If you're more of an explorer/adventurer with the initiative to direct your own vacation, you might get more out of just picking a place abroad like Europe and visiting it and doing your own thing. But if you want to be pampered and not have to do anything at all if you want, take a cruise. (And there's plenty of stuff to do, on-ship and off-ship if you're bringing along someone who can't stand to stay in one place)
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:29 PM   #7
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Sometimes they price the cruise with taxes and port charges included and sometimes they don't. You have to read the fine print (as always) because it can be the difference of a couple of hundred dollors per person.

As for drinks, most cruise lines allow you to take some alcoholic beverages on with you on departure day. We usually take at least two bottles of wine and a flask in our carry on. I have seen people who are addicted to soft drinks bring a case or more of soft drinks on rolling luggage carriers as they board. My advice is to check with the cruise line and check out cruisecritic to see what other people say about the cruise line and ship that you are going to be on.

As for the shore excursions, you can usually find the same tours that the ship offers on your own and save money. The ship gets a large cut of all the excursions that they put you on, so by doing the footwork yourself you can save money. Just use the internet ahead of time to explore the possibilities and even book excursions. We have done this a number of times and never had a bad experience. If you are traveling with others, it is easy to share taxi's and set your own itinarary and pace at a reduced cost.

Most of us didn't get to FIRE by wasting money. Even on vacation there are many ways to keep expenses down.
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Old 04-09-2008, 06:55 PM   #8
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We don't drink so I forgot about it. On Norwegian, at least, they check your luggage for alcohol and hold it until the end of the cruise. You agree to this in the fine print in your documents.

However, we do bring soft drinks on board and I now drink Koolaid.

We sometimes take the ships tour, other times we go on our own When we were in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, we hired a local driver that was recommended on cruise critic.
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Old 04-09-2008, 09:02 PM   #9
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It may say that they take alcohol on NCL. I would check with people who have been on NCL and find out if that is the case. We will be cruising on NCL in Aug. and had planned to research it just prior to going. I will check cruise critic and see what people are saying actually happens on the gangway. Royal Caribbean also writes that in the literature but lets it pass thru on departure.
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Old 04-09-2008, 09:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisinthru View Post
It may say that they take alcohol on NCL. I would check with people who have been on NCL and find out if that is the case. We will be cruising on NCL in Aug. and had planned to research it just prior to going. I will check cruise critic and see what people are saying actually happens on the gangway. Royal Caribbean also writes that in the literature but lets it pass thru on departure.
NCL is the strictest on the alcohol policy. I think they allow 1 bottle of wine but you pay a $10 or $15 corking fee. However, they do allow you do order a bar set-up for your room (you can buy gin, vodka, etc.) so you can have drinks in your room. Or you can smuggle it in, if you so choose. Plenty of info on the cruisecritic site.
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Old 05-13-2008, 01:01 PM   #11
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One item I don't see mentioned is airport parking. Perhaps not a big ticket item, but can add up to almost $100/week + in major cities. Also, if you don't live very close to the departure airport you may have to include an overnight stay prior to your flight out. They will book you on early flights so that you can get there in time for departure. or, if you are flying all the way across the country you may need to travel the day before. Coming back is less of an issue because they will have you off the ship and headed to the airport by 9-10 am.

As someone mentioned, cruisecritic.com is a great place for cruise answers while cruisecompete.com is great for finding the best fares once you have picked out a specific cruise and date.
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Old 05-14-2008, 07:23 PM   #12
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I'd definitely recommend getting travel insurance, mainly for medical reasons...its not really expensive. Even some small injury can turn out to be expensive...ie slip & fall. Also, remember also to take some 'in your pocket' tip $ ...for all those mornings you get coffee & goodies delivered to hold you over til you get to the dining room for breakfast. Food and delivery is 'free', but its proper really to give a couple of dollars or equivalent in whatever currency. Just reading all this makes me want to go on another cruise soon! BTW, I totally agree that getting a balcony is the way to go if you can swing it.
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