Is there such thing as a cheap cruise???

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#1
8 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
Newbie here! My DH and I are going on our first kid free vacation to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We don't have a very big budget and every time I add up costs for the $339 pp fare, it totals well over $1500 and that's sleeping in an interior room. I want to go on a cruise so much but wonder if there is more bang for my buck elsewhere.

Should I spend my money elsewhere or am I just going to have to stomach the cost being a far cry from $339 each?!?!
#2
Coastal GA USA
20,745 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Actually, this is bargain season. You need to go to the website of each cruiseline and sign up for email and snailmail offers of specials. I got an emailing from Princess this week that had fabulous prices on some cruises...4 day San Juan to NYC for $129. Great Panama Canal fare. Of course, you usually have to factor in airfare, and a hotel the night before...But there are bargains to be had. EM
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#3
Columbus,Ohio
5,646 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
You can find some really good prices during off-peak periods, especially during hurricane season. As long as you understand up front that a port may be closed (or cancelled) due to bad weather, you can still have a good cruise. You would just end up with an extra day at sea, and your port charges would be refunded. Re-positioning cruises are cheap, but keep in mind that it's basically a straight shot from point "A" to point "B", with no port stops in between. There are other good deals to be found, you just have to do some research, or talk to a cruise specialist at a travel agency in your area.
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#4
Petaluma, Ca. 94954
28,593 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Depends on how long the cruise is. $1500, total price, for two for a week is a pretty good price in many markets.

There are so many variables. Where are you talking about? How long, what time of the year?
#5
1,245 Posts
Joined May 2010
Not sure exactly what you mean by "cheap"(everyone's idea will be relatively different)., but yes there are good deals out there. If you live near and embarkment port to where you don't have to fly and have a flexible schedule, then it can be a little easier to take advantage of deals. Cruising during the off season (anytime school is in session, peak hurricane season...etc) then you will probably find even more.

As for your $1500.00 that you are tallying up, I am assuming you mean per person. Not sure exactly how you are coming up with $1500.00, from $339 so probably would need more details.

I have cruised 7 day cruises several times to the Carribbean and spent not much more than $1000.00 pp. This included everything (tips, excursions, cruise fare, flight, taxes...)...It would be hard for me take a vacation by visit 3-4 different countries, have all my food, entertainment, transportation (aside from the flying to/fro embarkment port)...etc...for less any other way than cruising.

I am planning a 4 day to trip to Vegas and my tally so far (flight, hotel, meals, entertainment...etc) is coming out to be more than my last 7 day cruise to the Caribbean plus the 1 day I spent in Miami prior to the cruise. So for me, cruising is pretty inexpensive compared to some of the other things I like to do.

If the cruise is seeming like too much, I would price out your alternatives and then pick the one that works best for you.
#6
Dallas
151 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
I booked a 4 day cruise for my girl friend and I to the Bahamas for under $600 total.

My air fare is free because I fly a lot for work.

Ill probably do one excursion so add another $100

I have family picking me up and dropping me off at the port in Miami.

I consider my cruise to be a steal!
#7
Northern California
908 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Originally posted by hipwellio
Newbie here! My DH and I are going on our first kid free vacation to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We don't have a very big budget and every time I add up costs for the $339 pp fare, it totals well over $1500 and that's sleeping in an interior room. I want to go on a cruise so much but wonder if there is more bang for my buck elsewhere.
As a person above said $1500 total for two isn't bad (pretty good if it's a week cruise). But you're right, the fare itself can be misleading as you have to factor in travel costs to the pier and/or hotel and/or parking, taxes and port fees on the cruise, tips, any onboard expenses and/or excursions, and so on. You should do a comparison though of a land based trip and see how it stacks up money wise. Don't forget to factor in food cost, which is included in the cruise fare.
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#8
Delaware
2,219 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Where do you live? Are there any ports within driving distance? Airfare does a real number on the total cost of a vacation. Maybe there is a embarkation port where you know someone who could pick you up at the airport and drop you off at the port. Save transfer fees and maybe a hotel cost.

How are you getting $1500.00? Are you including airfare etc?

let us know and maybe we can help some more
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#9
8 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
I live in Virginia so not really close to a port. Baltimore isn't far but it's more costly than say port canaveral or Miami. $1500 is for both cruise fares, prepaid gratuities, and our excursions. Gas on top of that to drive to Florida would be $300-400 unless I can score a cheap flight. Making the 5 day cruise to the Bahamas around $2000. Just seems high to me!
#10
Northern California
908 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Originally posted by hipwellio
I live in Virginia so not really close to a port. Baltimore isn't far but it's more costly than say port canaveral or Miami. $1500 is for both cruise fares, prepaid gratuities, and our excursions. Gas on top of that to drive to Florida would be $300-400 unless I can score a cheap flight. Making the 5 day cruise to the Bahamas around $2000. Just seems high to me!
For me personally, yeah, that would be a lot to drop on a 5 day vacation. But it seems pretty average. We're doing a 7-day Alaska; transportation to the pier and the cruise fare with taxes is about $2000. That's not counting tips or excursions....
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#11
Petaluma, Ca. 94954
28,593 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
First of all, $100pp, per day, for the cheapest inside cabin, without any extra things like tips and excursions is pretty average. In fact, that statement applied back in 1991 when we took our first cruise, except sometimes, in some sales, that $100pp, per day rate included airfare. So fares haven't really gone up much, even considering inflation, for 20 years.


Occaisonally you can get a little under $100pp, per day, but that is a pretty good sale, and limited frequently to just a few cabins.

Getting to the ship is a lot more expensive than 20 years ago.
#12
Northern California
908 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Originally posted by CruiserBruce
First of all, $100pp, per day, for the cheapest inside cabin, without any extra things like tips and excursions is pretty average.
Yeah, that's been my general rule of thumb too....
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#13
Columbus,Ohio
5,646 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by hipwellio
I live in Virginia so not really close to a port. Baltimore isn't far but it's more costly than say port canaveral or Miami. $1500 is for both cruise fares, prepaid gratuities, and our excursions. Gas on top of that to drive to Florida would be $300-400 unless I can score a cheap flight. Making the 5 day cruise to the Bahamas around $2000. Just seems high to me!
By comparison, make a column of the costs for flying to each port that you would be visiting, the cost to stay at a hotel (per day), your meals at each place,and any ( live ) entertainment that you would likely go see. If you'd like, you could also include taxi or bus fare to get around at each stop. I'll bet when you add it all up, your total will be well over $2000.00. Rather than try to come up with the money all at once, do what we (and many others) do. After making your initial deposit, make payments on your cruise (of a set amount) every time you get paid. This will spread out the cost and make it easier to budget.
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#14
Petaluma, Ca. 94954
28,593 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by gdisney
Yeah, that's been my general rule of thumb too....
So you are under $100pp, per day, not including tips, excursions and travel costs. Sounds like a pretty good deal.
#15
Florida
19 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
I am doing a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise in Aug. Staying in a Spa Balcony room. My total, with prepaid gratuities was $2700. If I was to do this trip not on a cruise ship, I was looking at almost $5000 (airfare, hotels, cab rides, excursions, and meals). You have to realize that you aren't eating at McDonald's every night. It's a 5 star dinner. $2000 is well worth it.
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#16
Chesapeake, VA
1,199 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
First off, hello fellow Virginian!

You don't state what you want to do on your cruise and that definitely could make your cruise more expensive. Do you plan on drinking sodas? alcohol? They are both extra. As for the ports, do you want to just wander around or take excursions? Again, excursions = additional money.

I might suggest that you price out an all-inclusive. From Virginia, we often can get great airfare rates to the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. With these, your food, lodging, evening entertainment and meals are included and, depending on where you stay, they often allow you the use of non-motorized watercraft (hobie cats, canoes, etc.). It's something to consider as you make your decision.

Best of luck!
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#17
Northern California
908 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Originally posted by CruiserBruce
So you are under $100pp, per day, not including tips, excursions and travel costs. Sounds like a pretty good deal.
Well, not me, the OP is; $339 base fare for a 5 day ain't bad at all in the cruise world.
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#18
Pittsburgh, PA
668 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Originally posted by hipwellio
I live in Virginia so not really close to a port. Baltimore isn't far but it's more costly than say port canaveral or Miami. $1500 is for both cruise fares, prepaid gratuities, and our excursions. Gas on top of that to drive to Florida would be $300-400 unless I can score a cheap flight. Making the 5 day cruise to the Bahamas around $2000. Just seems high to me!
I got "sticker shock" looking for a vacation for just me and my DH which would be our first one alone since we got married 14 years ago.

$1500 though doesn't seem like such a bad price (even $2000 if you include gas to drive/parking) for 5 days since it includes everything. Check out some of the B&B's around you, I know in my area (and up to 4 hours drive) on weekends are running between $200-$300 a night, and that doesn't include anything but breakfast so have to factor in lunch/dinner and activity money.

With $1500 it sounds like (numbers rounded) $680 for fair, $115 for tips and about $700 in excursions for 2 people.

What sounds like is killing your budget is excursions though. Look on the port of call boards here and look at the local vendors for what you are interested in. Now places like Atlantis are going to cost you a ton no matter what you do along with things like swimming with dolphins, but if you are looking at something like a beach trip, catch a cab on your own. A lot of things can be done on your own for a fraction of the cost if you do some research on them. Our last cruise was to Belize so I will use those numbers. Cave Tubing threw the cruise line $125+ a person. Booked on our own, for Cave Tubing, Belize Zoo and lunch, cost us $80 a person. Cave Tubing alone? $40 pp. While I am pretty sure you aren't going to Belize on a 5 day cruise, that works as a good example of the mass amount of savings that CAN be out there, and there is a good chance of having a better experience anyways!
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#19
Toronto, Canada
4,001 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
There might be a lot of sticker shock, but do yourself a favour and list the costs of a 5 day vacation at a resort, including meals and entertainment. Leave off the costs of the excursions from the cruise to make it a fair comparison.....I think you'll find that that cruise price is actually pretty good. I understand, though, that the price to and from the dock's location does add a substantial amount.
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#20
Pepsicola FL
9,980 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
as has been said.. general rule of thumb is $100/per person per day is considered the cheap end of cruising no mater where you sail from, when you sail with and how long you sail.


My 6 night out of Baltimore to Bermuda next month is costing almost $5K for the two of us.. but we only sail in verandahs or above( this time its a full suite) that includes all taxes, fees gratuities and a 5 bottle wine package.

and to us. that was cheap...