Jump to content
  • Deals
  • Find a Cruise
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Cruise Tips

Carnival September 2024 financial plans so far


Recommended Posts

This is just my humble experience so far,

I booked this trip in March for September 2024 cruise.  I took the easy save option bc I don’t have that much that I am comfortable forking up at once and I don’t carry balances on my CC’s. I also selected prepaid gratitude and travel insurance. Because you never know….. I might fall out of the plane or something.

 

Originally, I applied for the carnival CC for the statement credit, but it gave me a contact in 7-10 days message (honestly thought I had been vetoed) then I got a later email I had been approved.  So, I don’t think I can use that credit for this cruise, but I may be wrong. Guess I will have to look at that more.

 

First thing I did was research and make a budget for all the expenses I would have with this trip, flights, hotel, Ubers, food prior to the cruise, excursions, on board money, port money etc etc…

 

Then I started looking into how to fund this budget and make my money work for me.

First, I considered that if you get paid every two weeks there are 2 months each year you have 3 pay periods a month. Besides gas, groceries, and daily expenses I will take the amount that is left and put half in my cruise fund and half in savings.  I have done one extra check this way already and I believe I will have three more prior to the cruise.

 

Normally I save back every month for Christmas and Vacation fund along with other things so I’ll have that Vacation fund amount I can add in every month too.  It’s not a huge amount, usually 100 per month, but it adds up over several months.

 

I am a huge fan of rewards CC’s. If you don’t carry a balance, it’s essentially free money.  But that’s the key, DO NOT CARRY A BALANCE, the interest rates suck! And be sure the rewards don’t have an expiration date. Learned that the hard way lol.

I have a 2% cash back on everything I use the most, I grocery shop at Walmart so the Capital 1 Walmart card gives 5% back on all Walmart purchases for the first year. Then for Gas and Amazon purchases I use the Amazon prime CC which gives 5% back.

 

I was researching reward cards and came across the Discover Miles card. I have a regular Discover card, but I rarely use it bc I can never remember to activate those freaking categories lol. But I keep it bc it’s one of my oldest cards.  Now the Discover miles card is only 1.5% back but the great thing is at the end of the first year Discover will match your rewards. So essentially you are getting 3% back on all purchases in that first year.  So that puppy is now my cruise payment card and is gonna get used for everything that isn’t 5% back with another card. Tuesday half off burger night, utilities, hula lessons (LOL) anything and everything else I spend on.  I am hopeful that by the time I get ready to cruise I will have enough to mostly cover the round trip flights and if anything is extra it will go towards paying my cruise off early.  I realize there are better cards out there but I am not a fan of annual fees.

 

For Sail & Sign money, Cheers and excursions I plan to use AARP Carnival cards bc it’s just a no brainer. For misc port money I would rather just carry a bit of cash with me that I will keep locked up in the safe.  I read a tip to cash in whatever funds you have left on the last night of the trip.  I’ll do that and put that towards my next cruise.  I plan to eat on the ship as much as possible bc it’s free unless theres something I just really wanna try in a port.

 

I don’t proclaim to be any kind of financial guru bc Lord knows I am not.  Just a regular barely middle class person who tries to save money wherever she can.  I welcome any advice or recommendations anyone has bc I am always learning!  And if this helps someone else then that was my intention. Knowledge is power!

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like you've thought it out. One observation- you say that you opted for the cruise line insurance. Insurance is a good thing, but you might be able to find a much better plan costing less on a site like www.insuremytrip.com . You should be able to change your insurance election before final payment date. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, sparks1093 said:

Sounds like you've thought it out. One observation- you say that you opted for the cruise line insurance. Insurance is a good thing, but you might be able to find a much better plan costing less on a site like www.insuremytrip.com. You should be able to change your insurance election before final payment date. 

That is excellent advice! I hadn't even thought of that! Thank you so much!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just signed up for AARP (Gulp!) so I can access those carnival gift cards for a discount. While I was roaming around looking lost, I happened across the travel section and noted you can book flights and such there. Cool! So, I checked it out.  I had previously looked at booking Southwest because that's who we usually use. I estimated the flights from DAL to SFO round trip X 2 to be around 900 total.  Using the AARP travel booking thing I found round trips X 2 for around 650 total using Delta to get there and Alaska to get back. 

 

Now Southwest lets you check two bags for free, so I needed to check Delta and Alaska for that.  We plan to check one larger suitcase. Take one smaller bag on board for the overhead bin and carry two backpacks. Delta costs 30 for one, 40 for two and Alaska is 25 per checked bag. So even with having to pay an extra 55 for bag checks its still nearly 200 less than Southwest.  So, I think that's what we will book when the flight schedules allow.

 

You can also book hotels there too!  We planned on the RUI Plaza in SFO since it's near the cruise terminal.  I had originally estimated around 300 total for one night per their website but was looking for a cheaper price before I book that. Going through the AARP travel site it appears I could book one for 165!  Unless I find something way cheaper between now and then that's where I am going to book.

 

Just an FYI for anyone interested in knowing 🙂

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Just bought some jackets with multiple pockets so we don't have to worry about carting stuff around. Also, some waterproof cell phone protectors and some gloves in case it gets pretty cold/wet.  With that Tracy arm excusion I noted the waters may be a bit rough, so I wanted to be covered.  Also, some long johns ordered too so we should be set.  Now to get all the excursions I want to show up!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/11/2023 at 10:30 AM, Stowaway LFC said:

Just signed up for AARP (Gulp!) so I can access those carnival gift cards for a discount. While I was roaming around looking lost, I happened across the travel section and noted you can book flights and such there. Cool! So, I checked it out.  I had previously looked at booking Southwest because that's who we usually use. I estimated the flights from DAL to SFO round trip X 2 to be around 900 total.  Using the AARP travel booking thing I found round trips X 2 for around 650 total using Delta to get there and Alaska to get back. 

 

Now Southwest lets you check two bags for free, so I needed to check Delta and Alaska for that.  We plan to check one larger suitcase. Take one smaller bag on board for the overhead bin and carry two backpacks. Delta costs 30 for one, 40 for two and Alaska is 25 per checked bag. So even with having to pay an extra 55 for bag checks its still nearly 200 less than Southwest.  So, I think that's what we will book when the flight schedules allow.

 

You can also book hotels there too!  We planned on the RUI Plaza in SFO since it's near the cruise terminal.  I had originally estimated around 300 total for one night per their website but was looking for a cheaper price before I book that. Going through the AARP travel site it appears I could book one for 165!  Unless I find something way cheaper between now and then that's where I am going to book.

 

Just an FYI for anyone interested in knowing 🙂

 

 

Do you get better flight prices if you are a member and are logged in? I’m not seeing any difference in prices between AARP and Expedia, but I’m not a member. Thanks. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, momof3cruisers said:

Do you get better flight prices if you are a member and are logged in? I’m not seeing any difference in prices between AARP and Expedia, but I’m not a member. Thanks. 

I was logged in to AARP and searched through the travel link.  The AARP prices were much better than the Southwest prices I usually used.  As were the hotel prices.  Also you have to be a member to get to  those discounted Carnival e cards.  If your traveling Carnival that is. They have other ecards there too.  Hope this helps!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just checking in......

 

Still in the "working" part of my plan. Saving as planned. Using the miles card for everything I can.  It appears my miles card updates the miles after payments clear which makes sense.  Making good progress there.  I'm using it to pay for everything that it will let me (utilities included) and then paying the balance off every two weeks when I get paid.  Except groceries, I'm better off with my Cap 1 Walmart card with it's 5% on my online pickup orders. Perfect for me bc I hate going to Walmart to shop. And still using my Amazon CC for amazon shopping with it's 5%.  

 

Ok so I fell out on the hotel quote through AARP.  It is significantly higher than 165 for sure.  When I originally looked it must have been a special where that 165 price came in. Through AARP travel and a 20% Memorial Day sale it was around 275 to book for September 2024.  The RUI website lists at 305 a night. But that doesn't include their taxes and "resort fees". Ugggh!  But I went ahead and reserved bc the location is what I wanted.  It's right next to Pier 39 and within walking distance to the cruise terminal.  And I wanted to be certain I would have a reservation secured. I'll keep a look out for cheaper prices between now and then if I find a price drop between then and the check-in date I'll grab it. 

 

Flights I still can't schedule yet because September 2024 dates aren't out yet.  I'll look again around September or so.  Some generic excursions are showing up for my cruise but only one of the ones I wanted so I'll keep waiting for that.  Carnival E cards I will get later after the important stuff is done.

 

My Amazon wish list is long lol. I've already gotten some stuff I wanted and the rest I'll purchase here and there before the trip.  My budget won't take a huge hit doing it that way.

 

I've learned something in this process, I used to think I'd never be able to take big trips like this. But I've learned that if you plan things out way ahead of time you can accomplish alot!  I already have a future goal to plan after I complete savings for this trip. I've got my eye on a British Isles cruise  for 2025 or 2026 !  Goals!

 

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, Stowaway LFC said:

I was logged in to AARP and searched through the travel link.  The AARP prices were much better than the Southwest prices I usually used.  As were the hotel prices.  Also you have to be a member to get to  those discounted Carnival e cards.  If your traveling Carnival that is. They have other ecards there too.  Hope this helps!

It does, thank you! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...
On 4/9/2023 at 6:24 PM, Stowaway LFC said:

First thing I did was research and make a budget for all the expenses I would have with this trip, flights, hotel, Ubers, food prior to the cruise, excursions, on board money, port money etc etc

First, you're making lots of good choices here, especially refusing to carry a balance on your credit cards.  You can never "get ahead" if you're still paying for yesterday.  

 

Thoughts: 

- Must you fly to the port?  Driving is almost always cheaper -- though you must include the cost of parking.  I see you're going out of Dallas -- did you consider a cruise that leaves from Galvaston?  

- If you pack light, you might avoid paying for your suitcases to fly.  My husband and I pack one rolling carry-on + a backpack each for a 1-week cruise in the Caribbean.  The backpack does double-duty for island stops, as we're solidly on Team Hands-Free.  

- I think you're on top of this, but are you arriving a day ahead of time?  It's the cheapest "insurance" possible to avoid missing your ship.  I like to make my night-before hotel reservation about 6 months out; if you wait until the last minute, the cheap rooms'll be gone.  We like to stay 30-45 minutes away from the port, as closer rooms tend to be more expensive -- but, again, we have our own car.  The right answer is, Do your math.  

- Definitely pack all the sunscreen, Tylenol, etc. you'll need.  These things are very expensive onboard.  If you can't bring these things on the plane, consider placing an online order to a Walmart or CVS near your night-before hotel.  

- One of our small ways of saving:  We always pack a homemade charcuterie board and a 6-pack (we pack a small cooler) for our night-before hotel.  After a long day's drive, we enjoy laying a towel over the foot of the bed and eating a snacky-dinner while watching TV.  

- Check into what drinks you're allowed to bring onto a Carnival ship.  We're Royal Caribbean sailers, and we're allowed to bring a bottle of wine + 12 non-alcoholic drinks onboard.  That's big savings -- and possible because we're close enough to drive to the port.  

- We usually get a night-before hotel room that includes breakfast.  

- Do you already have your boarding documents?  Passport or birth certificate + government picture ID (if you are an American citizen leaving and returning to an American port).  Don't leave this chore til the very last minute; without appropriate boarding documents, you're not sailing.  

- We spend very little onboard.  We don't buy up-charge food (so much is included at no cost).  We buy a few drinks.  If you want a massage, look for a beach massage on an island stop; it'll cost so much less.  

- Look into private excursions (not the ones offered by the ship) for your island stops.  Do your homework and read reviews.  You'll be in smaller groups, get more attention and more choices; that these excursions are cheaper is just the cherry on top.  We hate cattle-call ship's excursions.  

- What kind of room did you reserve?  Balconies are wonderful, of course, but (now that we're retired) we prefer to sail more often in an Inside Guarantee.  We don't stay in our room much anyway.  

- One cost that's easy to overlook:  the cost of boarding pets.  

On 4/10/2023 at 4:30 AM, sparks1093 said:

Sounds like you've thought it out. One observation- you say that you opted for the cruise line insurance. Insurance is a good thing, but you might be able to find a much better plan costing less on a site like www.insuremytrip.com . You should be able to change your insurance election before final payment date. 

Agree.  Even if you're young and in good health, no one plans for an accident.  We don't get "full service" insurance -- after all, we drive, and we're not likely to lose our own luggage.  What we really care about is health insurance and evacuation insurance.  That last one's the biggie:  you're highly unlikely to need it, but -- if you do -- it's so expensive that it could potentially be life-altering.  

On 5/13/2023 at 7:32 PM, Stowaway LFC said:

Just bought some jackets with multiple pockets so we don't have to worry about carting stuff around. Also, some waterproof cell phone protectors and some gloves in case it gets pretty cold/wet.  With that Tracy arm excusion I noted the waters may be a bit rough, so I wanted to be covered.  Also, some long johns ordered too so we should be set.  Now to get all the excursions I want to show up!

Beware of over-buying stuff you don't really need.  

- A backpack will carry your stuff more easily than a jacket.  

- We have one cell phone protector that we use for beach days. 

- Gloves and long johns?  Are you doing an Alaskan cruise?  Even so, I don't think you'll need those in September.  

- You can start researching private excursions online now, though if you're doing Alaska, expect prices to be high.  Since you're watching prices carefully, know that if you call the cruise line to reserve one of their excursions, you'll be expected to pay right away -- they don't add it to their bill.  Private tour guides vary in their when-to-pay expectations.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you!  Yes we are flying to San Franscisco the day before and staying at a hotel.  The cruise is an Alaska cruise.  I went with an inside room due to the much lesser cost and we don't plan to be in there much. I love Galveston but I have done Carribean cruises in the past, now I am all for destinations.  Planning a British Isles cruise in 2025, I'm so excited!  Thankfully my son will take care of our doggies while we are gone.  

 

I just reserved the hotel room. It's about a block away from the terminal and close to pier 39. It has free breakfast in the mornings. I'll be monitoring for any price drops between now and then.  We plan to check one suitcase, carry backpacks and take one carry on bag for anything we may purchase on the trip.  

 

Definitely trying to bring just enough stuff.  With the trip being 11 days total I'm going to do some laundry while we are on board so I can pack less clothes.  

 

Thank you for the advice on private excursions!  The ones on Carnival are pricey! I'm going to look up some information on what's available. Just have to watch the times bc non-Carnival excursions aren't guaranteed not to leave you if you're late.

 

Still waiting to book flights, they aren't available yet, will likely book through AARP.  

 

Still in the working phase.  I've earned about 350 dollars worth of miles on my Discover so far with about another 6 months to go.  Since my Alaska cruise money budget is covered the money I get from the Discover miles is going to go for the British Isles cruise in 2025.  

 

In the meantime, I read about other people's trips. 🙂

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

One way to save money, if you’re doing Princess, is to get a Future Cruise Deposit while you’re onboard, which will include OBC. Free money if you’re planning on cruising within a year or two. We bought 2 deposits while we were on our BI cruise and will be using the money on our Alaska cruise. 
You’ll love the BI, but get your walking shoes ready! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Welcome to Cruise Critic
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...