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How do you pay for your cruise?


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We did not want to wait until we retired to enjoy travel, especially cruising. We downsized completely, sold our house (you don't realize how much stress is attached to a home and upkeep), went down to 1 vehicle, we live totally on one paycheck! We don't use credit cards and owe no one, so we get to do what we want to do with our money, we keep it simple and it helps that we can drive to most ports on the east coast.

 

I work to pay cash for all of our trips, we are cash hoarders :D...we live and enjoy life now, why wait? We leave all the drama for everyone else, we have minimized all the stress in our control. Its all good! :D

 

That's awesome. It's all about what is important and living is important to you.

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Work, save, pay for the cruise.

 

In my case

 

Book Cruise

 

Realism not enough $$$

 

Worry worry worry while working my .... Off

 

Pay for cruise

 

Enjoy cruise

 

Repeat.

 

Though once got paid for big job at 10:00am booked cruise (paid in full) at 10:05.

 

Enjoy cruise

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Since they started selling Cruise Gift Cards at our local grocery store I have bought one a month, you can choose from $25 up to $500. In the US they no longer let companies charge a non use fee and several of the cruise lines have a no expiration policy too so it is good forever. I choose which cruise line I want, start buying those cards and when I have enough saved up I book. That way I have around $600 per year and even if that is just the deposit it makes the process so much easier. Right now I am buying a little for each line since our big cruise for the year is already done. Not really any different than a savings account since you get less than 1% interest anyway.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I tend to look ahead at when we can fit a cruise in. With that in mind I start my sweeping search. Firstly any line, any cruise, anywhere, at around the time we want to go. Then I narrow it down a little. Example. 2 months ago I started looking for a Med cruise in a outside or Balcony. I looked at all cruise lines but one inperticular kept showing up and that was Island Princess on the 13 of Oct 2015, cruise nation had this at £859.00 ($1330.00) for a balcony 12 night cruise starting in Venice and finishing in Rome with a 2 night stay in a Hotel with B&B.

 

I decided to go for this but when I called Cruise nation hey stated adding little hidden extras and did not include any transfers. So I emailed Cruise.co.uk and asked them if they could match. then did and also included all transfers and flights. So now I have that booked and it was £849.00. ($1320.00) I'm now looking at Caribbean with P&O in Feb. 2016 they are at around £1799.00 for 14 days including flights in a Balcony. I know this will come down to around £999.00.($1560.00) So I will watch and wait. The key is to be flexible with dates.

 

Just one more Tip for excursion’s I tend to do my own thing if it is a small town and everything is at hand otherwise I look at car hire as I don’t mind driving and have a inbuilt Satnav in my head Lol. That way I can get ahead of the coaches and the queues for around £20-£40 ($31-$61) per port in the Med its a bargain. I f I want to be lazy and let someone else sort it all and do the driving I use http://www.cruisingexcursions.com they give the same garauntees as the cruiselines when it comes to geting you back and at a fraction of the cost. They match all there excursions with your cruise. very easy.

 

PS I make it a rule not to discuss bargain prices on the cruise as I don’t want to upset those who book full fair in advance. If you can afford that then good for you. plus you get to choose your cabin. Whereas I have to take what I'm given. Never had a bad cabin yet though.

 

good luck all

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't really have a system for paying for it, but I always pay with my money instead of using credit cards. I try to book as early as possible and particularly a group cruise to pay a cheaper deposit. I've learned to sacrifice my splurges that add up like taking lunch instead of eating out, cutting down on my guilty pleasures like clothes and makeup shopping for months at a time, staying home more instead of spending money to hang out and etc.

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Book early and watch for price drops.

 

Watch for 10% discounts on gift cards on Verizon and Citibank.

 

Every payday, I purchase a gift card at a local grocery store. I have to do it on payday or it just won't get done as I will find other places to use that money. Every payday. While that doesn't technically save money, I do get gas points for the purchase. But, if I can't get to the grocery store on payday, I go online and make a payment. Like I said, if that money is there the next day, I will spend it elsewhere.

 

I have considered getting a cruise line credit card and using that to buy the gift cards. Then pay the card off immediately (no need to even wait until bill comes due). That way, I could get the points AND the gas savings.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My first cruise was an impulse purchase for myself and two children. It was a birthday gift to my son who was turning 12. Since it was my first cruise I had no idea how much the little expense would start to add up.

 

Anyhow this time around I booked 8 months in advance. I have been making monthly payments toward the balance; so that I would not have to use a credit card and then stress over paying the balance of the card. I also cut out a lot of things like cable (we use google chromecast instead) eating out excessively. I now cook most (if not all) meals at home and I now bring my lunch to work daily. I have also designated a dollar amount to be transferred into a "vacation" savings account. I have I also started saving all my loose change and will cash it in a week or so prior to our next cruise. A really fun way that my kids and I are saving up for our next cruise ( to cover the cost of the excurisions) is the $5.00 method. Anytime we end up with a $5.00 dollar bill we put it in a box. If I break a twenty and get 5's back they all go into the box, the 5's add up very quickly. I know to some this might all be very silly, however it is allowing me the freedom of stress free and "debt free" travel.

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Cash back from credit cards is the largest contributor to my cruise fund. If I'm lucky enough to find the Carnival gift cards on Verizon, I purchase some of those too. Usually about six months before a cruise, I start putting away any small bills ($1 and $5) I collect to use for tips at airport, hotel, onboard, etc.

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My first cruise was an impulse purchase for myself and two children. It was a birthday gift to my son who was turning 12. Since it was my first cruise I had no idea how much the little expense would start to add up.

 

Anyhow this time around I booked 8 months in advance. I have been making monthly payments toward the balance; so that I would not have to use a credit card and then stress over paying the balance of the card. I also cut out a lot of things like cable (we use google chromecast instead) eating out excessively. I now cook most (if not all) meals at home and I now bring my lunch to work daily. I have also designated a dollar amount to be transferred into a "vacation" savings account. I have I also started saving all my loose change and will cash it in a week or so prior to our next cruise. A really fun way that my kids and I are saving up for our next cruise ( to cover the cost of the excurisions) is the $5.00 method. Anytime we end up with a $5.00 dollar bill we put it in a box. If I break a twenty and get 5's back they all go into the box, the 5's add up very quickly. I know to some this might all be very silly, however it is allowing me the freedom of stress free and "debt free" travel.

 

I don't think it is funny at all. For our first couple of cruises I had this method: soda can refunds - into the jug. If I lent money and it got returned - into the jug. If I got a refund check - into the jug. Every time I went to the grocery store I wrote the check for $5 more. If I was feeling particularly rich it was $20.

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Even though the cash is already in your hand, if you put it aside like that it keeps you from spending that little bit on a fast food run, or a coffee that you wouldn't normally buy. When I have the urge to pull into the drive thru, I tough it out until I get home. Id rather put that dollar bill in my "cash cup" than waste it on something that I can do without. I ran for a few months with just $1.50 in my wallet.

Another way of savings that I have decided to use, is to avoid buying ebooks on a whim. That "buy with 1 click" button is wicked! Now I just buy (mostly) the free books. It also keeps me from reading all day since I seldom download a best seller. I have noticed a definite improvement in my bank balance since I started doing this. We don't have a free library where I live.

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  • 1 month later...

My husband is a full time firefighter and works crazy hours (48 on 96 off).. With 4 days off he'a able to pick up loads of overtime if he wants-typically how we pay for Christmas/Birthdays/Vacations. I work at a police department and also have lots of overtime opportunities. We also have a rewards card and have been building on that. We are taking our first cruise in 2 weeks and paid for it entirely with working OT shifts between us. Starting to save now for our next vacation (which will probably be a cruise.. Already obsessed and I haven't even left yet...)

 

I'm loving this thread.. Very interesting to see how others make it happen for them!

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Does anyone know of a rewards credit card other than the Capital One Venture or Barclay Arrival Plus that can be used to pay for cruises? There are tons of credit cards that let you transfer points to hotel chains or airlines, but I'm not aware of any that let you transfer points to cruiselines. I'm also not aware of any cards other than the two I mentioned above that allow you to "erase" travel purchases.

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I just got the Discover Miles.. It can be used for cruises. 1.5x on every purchase and double the first years purchases at the end of the 12 months.. I put my bills on my card and pay it off every month, so just doing that I'll earn a 7 day cruise every 2 years, not to mention any other extra expenses I'll have (Christmas/Birthday/Vacations)... I'm happy with it..

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I just got the Discover Miles.. It can be used for cruises. 1.5x on every purchase and double the first years purchases at the end of the 12 months.. I put my bills on my card and pay it off every month, so just doing that I'll earn a 7 day cruise every 2 years, not to mention any other extra expenses I'll have (Christmas/Birthday/Vacations)... I'm happy with it..
Thanks for the tip. I'll have to take a look at this card.
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  • 2 weeks later...

We booked early. $50 deposit.

Plenty of time to pay off.

I got rid of all the "extra" bills. (Lawn crew) hubby started mowing. (Xtra Cable tv) spare bedroom no one watches (car washes) DIY....Etc

We cut back on usage to lower power, water, cable(movie rentals) grocery.

We basically take all the extra spending and gear it towards savings. We get frugal and are always amazed at how much we were wasting...lol

Hubby & I dump ALL loose change into a bucket at the end of the day. Thats his casino fund.

I use envelopes to compartmentalize the savings for excursions etc. My paychecks from working weekends at local wholesale store dont even get cashed. Ive stacked them and put them away. I use coupons combined with store sales. I buy in bulk on grocery items. We want to look good on.the cruise so We hit the gym and work out 5 days a week, so eating out and overindulging $$ seems to be eliminated as well.

I think for anyone who has the extra money to be saved, save it. Every dollar counts. It adds up faster than you think.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We've been "overindulging" on vacations over the years since the kids are out of the nest. We're trying to wean ourselves from balcony cabins, although we do have one booked for next September since its our wedding anniversary.:D

I'm going to try to save as much as possible and look for good bargains for future cruises. We have pretty much been where DH wants to go, but would like to cruise Alaska again but add a cruise tour. Maybe when I retire?

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  • 4 months later...

We book early after doing a lot of research to find a good deal. We don't believe in using credit cards for vacations, so everything is paid in cash before departure, including a cash deposit for our sign & sail cards, rather than linking them to a credit card and spending freely.

 

Any cash gifts, tax returns, or lottery/raffle ticket/etc winnings to to our big vacations. We have a jar that we use to collect all loose change, and that's usually good for $300-$400 a year that we never missed. I sell clothes, toys, bikes, etc that our daughter outgrows, and that money goes to our vacation fund. I also have a small home business, doing custom candy bar wrappers for various occasions. It doesn't make a ton, but it's enough to keep me doing it. Once we're booked, we ask for excursions as gifts from our parents, rather than traditional birthday/Christmas gifts.

 

We may only be able to do a big vacation every few years, but we also do little weekends away in between. All on only 1 salary. I love it!

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  • 4 weeks later...

We book early after fairly extensive research. We try to check weekly for special offers that pertain to our cruise and will 'rebook' the cruise if needed to take advantage of an advertised sale. We pay for our cruise using a FF mileage credit card (initial down payment, all extras and final payment when due).

We put as many of our at home day to day expenses on that card to increase our awards points or 'miles'. We do not pay the minimum due each month on any credit card but instead pay the total balance due. Paying monthly interest charges on a credit card is financial suicide. I'm a firm believer that if you can't pay for what you want using out of pocket cash perhaps you shouldn't be buying it (exceptions would be ones car payment or mortgage).

One of the biggest expenses of cruising is the airfare. We're not fans of flying coach in today's cattle transport airplanes. Who is?

If airlines weren't required to install seats there would be none in coach at all - just ceiling straps for passengers to hang on to. I'm also not a fan of paying big dollars to fly Business Class so we upgrade to Business Class with each years accumulated miles where possible.

We don't skimp on our cabin choice but we certainly do not need a huge or multi room suite.

Other than a candy bar there is no reason for me to ever go into a ships store and pay cost plus list for some cheap trinket. Guess who owns many of the stores you'll find in cruise ports, time's up. Shopping while cruising is a good way to learn about negative cash flow. Shop at home.

The purchase of shipboard photos in a digital world is rare for us but once in awhile the perfect shot my happen along. Barter to buy just the photo and not the entire million dollar package they'll pitch to you.

All inclusive beverage plans and prepaid gratuities, yes, but mostly for convenience.

Leaving a little money in the casino now and then, sure, worth a try but remember where the door is so you can leave after making you minimum 'deposit'.

Specialty Dining, sometimes, but we're usually disappointed by what those venues think is special. The MDR uses the same galley.

Internet packages, come on, you're on vacation not at work with a sea breeze. Follow the crew while on shore to find were the free WiFi pubs are and get your digital fix for free.

Edited by Magnum60
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We also book early (16 months in advance). I've also created a vacation fund which is solely for vacation. Because a cruise is so pricey (cruise + flight), we can't take these kind of vacations too often so we save us in between. Makes for a long wait in-between but worth it.

 

Same here. I worked 6 days a week until the cruise was paid off. Now just setting money aside until it's cruise time.

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i like to travel so i have a travel savings account that automatically debits every time i get a paycheck. this helps me build up a nice little egg for the big purchases. i am also very strategic with my loyalty earning with airlines and hotels so that those are covered. and then, once a trip is booked i begin saving for the NEXT trip. as for saving for the current booked trip at this point, i start by literally stuffing any bill i break into something smaller than a 20$ into a jar. it helps me have nice cash on hand, especially for tipping.

 

i should probably put more in my 401k but. shrug.

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Definitely book early and my husband and I use the "52 week challenge."

The principle is to put away money each week starting after we return from our last holiday.

We put away money, bi-weekly, $100 each into a separate account and never touch it until we decide on a destination. By then we have enough for a deposit and can adjust our contributions to pay for the difference.

It started out as a Christmas fund which ran from Jan 1 to Nov 30 to help with Christmas shopping and the evil January credit card bill! lol

The key really is self-discipline!

Good Luck [emoji4]

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

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  • 3 weeks later...

We have white collar jobs, but live like we are blue collar (actually we spend less then most/all of our blue collar friends).

 

Travel is really the only thing we spend money on and what we enjoy. So after we pay the basic monthly bills and save heavily in retirement accounts we save for travel. We also don't stay in five star resorts and and on cruises always just book an inside cabin. We save on the aspects of travel that don't matter to us (like the room we only use for sleep) so we can spend on experiences that we want.

 

As far as paying for the vacation we do several things for extra travel money. I donate plasma religiously and get $2,500 +/- a year that all goes towards vacation. I highly recommend plasma if you don't mind large needles. I have nearly 600 donations under my belt and I think everyone who can should do this option. I also started a side hustle just over a year ago and am expecting my taxable income for 2016 to be well in excess of $15k, and so some of this will go towards vacation (the majority is going to the mortgage). We also use cash back cards for all of our normal expenses, but as we are not big spenders this usually only nets us about $250 a year (maybe less) that is only spent on vacations.

 

When we start talking about vacations we do a few budgets for different circumstances to at least have an idea of what we need and if it's feasible. Planning really is the key and then saving to hit that goal. We have been known to save for a few years for certain trips. For example we are planning on Australia for 2017 and so we started saving a couple thousand a year just for this trip starting in 2014. If we didn't start saving until sometime this year we would never make it. Planning and saving keeps us from having stress about the money during the planning, during the trip, and after the trip of how we are going to pay. For this trip we paid it in full when we booked so we don't worry about payments and can focus on the planning.

Edited by abaci
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  • 3 weeks later...

Great tips from everyone and I've learned a thing or two. For me, I put a certain amount "automatically" each pay period away as my slush fund. That was the key for me to automatically do it. You don't seem to miss it as much. That's my money to pay for cruises, Christmas etc. I love to travel and our next cruise is in a CLS on the Allure. It's quite expensive but as I've worked hard (and still do) I look at it as I deserve this and I'm going for it. I am hoping to up the savings to enjoy more cruise time!!! :D

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