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Welcome to Tightwad Cruising - What Do You Do?

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Not because the economy is "weak" or gas prices have "skyrocketed" - most of which has been conjured up by the left-wing media - but we tend to cruise on the cheap. We search for off-season or repositioning cruises and then set our sights on a balcony stateroom with the cruise fare saved. We book the next cruise while on-board the current cruise for an OBC, use our C&A benefits for a discount, and use our RCCL stockholder benefits for an additonal OBC. When we have enough RCCL Visa card points accumulated, we cash them in for another OBC. Then, while on-board:

 

We don't buy the over-priced weak drinks in the smokey bars - but once in a while we'll order the drink of the day - or two - before the show.

 

We do not buy the art at the auctions - but do sign up and drink the free champaigne.

 

We don't buy a soda card - but do drink coffee, tea, and juices for free and even make our own "Cafe' Diablo" using their hot cocoa mix, coffee, and creamer.

 

We don't buy a wine package - but do use our C&A coupon for a free wine tasting.

 

We don't use any spa "treatments" but do occasionally sign up for a free lecture/sales pitch.

 

We don't use the laundry service - but do wash out our own quick-dry travel clothing in our cabin.

 

We don't use the high priced/low speed internet service on-board - but do use our own mobile web service when in port and cell phone service is available.

 

We seldom use specialty dining - but do order room service dinners or breakfasts and eat on our balcony where it is much quieter.

 

We DO try to book an excursion or two on-board so that it'll be charged to our sea pass - the one already front loaded with a bunch of OBCs.

 

The result? Most cruises we have a very small balance on our sea pass at the end of the cruise, and sometimes even have a credit.

 

Are you a tightwad cruiser too? If so, what do you do

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No, we're not tight wad cruisers. We don't spend like crazy but we enjoy our vacation and order a cocktail or glass or wine if we wish. We have no interest in art auctions or the spa so that isn't being tight wad, it's simply things we don't care about.

 

If we see an excursion we like, we book it.

We always enjoy at least one dinner each week in the alternative restaurant.

We don't want to watch every dime while on vacation but understand that is not everyone's style.

 

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We stay out of the gift/jewelry shops onboard.

 

I don't drink, so our bar bill is half of what it could be.

 

I will admit, however, to being a sucker for pictures (some, not all of them). Then I get home and wonder why I bought them!

 

$429 on our sign & sail card for our cruise three weeks ago, which included $140 in gratuities. I thought that was pretty good...

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Not because the economy is "weak" or gas prices have "skyrocketed" - most of which has been conjured up by the left-wing media - but we tend to cruise on the cheap. We search for off-season or repositioning cruises and then set our sights on a balcony stateroom with the cruise fare saved. We book the next cruise while on-board the current cruise for an OBC, use our C&A benefits for a discount, and use our RCCL stockholder benefits for an additonal OBC. When we have enough RCCL Visa card points accumulated, we cash them in for another OBC. Then, while on-board:

 

We don't buy the over-priced weak drinks in the smokey bars - but once in a while we'll order the drink of the day - or two - before the show.

 

We do not buy the art at the auctions - but do sign up and drink the free champaigne.

 

We don't buy a soda card - but do drink coffee, tea, and juices for free and even make our own "Cafe' Diablo" using their hot cocoa mix, coffee, and creamer.

 

We don't buy a wine package - but do use our C&A coupon for a free wine tasting.

 

We don't use any spa "treatments" but do occasionally sign up for a free lecture/sales pitch.

 

We don't use the laundry service - but do wash out our own quick-dry travel clothing in our cabin.

 

We don't use the high priced/low speed internet service on-board - but do use our own mobile web service when in port and cell phone service is available.

 

We seldom use specialty dining - but do order room service dinners or breakfasts and eat on our balcony where it is much quieter.

 

We DO try to book an excursion or two on-board so that it'll be charged to our sea pass - the one already front loaded with a bunch of OBCs.

 

The result? Most cruises we have a very small balance on our sea pass at the end of the cruise, and sometimes even have a credit.

 

Are you a tightwad cruiser too? If so, what do you do

 

bottom line-- AS LONG AS YOU HAVE A GREAT TIME !!

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I don't skimp while cruising but I don't believe in wasting money either. I'd never buy art on a ship, I usually stick with the DOD's because they are on special and actually seem to taste the best for some reason. I never send my laundry out but have been known to use the coin operated machines now and again. I have a limit of what I'll lose in the casino each day. I just consider it the price of entertainment. I enjoy watching people gamble. I've only eaten in the specialty restaurant once. I think the food in the dining room is excellent and honestly don't think it's worth the extra money to eat elsewhere. I also get quite attached to my tablemates and would miss having dinner with them. I love the fruitpunch and lemonade on the Lido deck so a sodacard would be wasted on me. All in all, at the end of the week, my bill isn't bad.

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We don't buy pictures. I have a camera, thanks.

 

Don't get spa treatments. Too tickelish for a massage, and I'm pretty enough already.:p

 

My partner does not drink at all. At most I will have a couple of glasses of wine over the course of the cruise.

 

Usually book tours independently. Better prices and smaller groups to boot.

 

Will do maybe one night in a specialty restaurant if one really appeals to us.

 

Never felt like we were skimping on anything.

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Don't buy the art as they are just copies and overpriced too. We do have a bottle of wine in the restaurant most evenings. Probably the drink of the day in the afternoon. Don't buy the photos unless one is exceptionally different. I do like to be pampered on holiday though, use the laundry if I need to. I like to get the feeling that I am rich...at least for the duration of the cruise;)

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Definitely not - more like a scatter cash cruiser!

Seriously though, I can't get the great prices on cruises you lucky Americans get, the cruise companies charge us so much more. I do however get my discount (now on Gold status) and sometimes go for the repositioning voyages too. They are great value but my main reason is that I love the long ocean voyages and because they are so cheap, can afford the top category cabin,

 

However when it comes to my cruise card bill at the end 0 it's always huge, The only thing I don't buy are shore excursions but I like to have several 9sometimes many) spa treatments, get my hair done and photos taken on the gala evenings. Whilst I'll often try the cocktails of the day, i don't buy any drinks packages I just choose whichever wine I want that day from the list. I work very hard all year and have very little spare time, so when I'm on a cruise, I refuse to count pennies and like to pamper myself.

 

However the way the Credit crunch is biting (not just media talk although they are making it worse), it will be a while before I can afford to sell shares when I return to pay off my cruise card bill, so may have to start taking tips from you on how to be a tightwad!

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1. Don't buy ships excursions

2. Don't play bingo

3. Don't ever by specialty glasses or the drinks that come in them

4. Don't "dine" in the specialty restaurants.. Most of the ships I've been on have had fine food in the regular dining room.

5. Limit the money set aside for the card tables. When it's gone, it's gone. If I double it, I quit and cash in.

6. Don't drink myself silly all day. A Bloody Mary in the morning, a before dinner something and maybe an after dinner drink is about it. I usually splurge on a fine bottle of wine the first night for dinner...and enjoy it for a coupla days. LOVE an ice cold Red Stripe or Carta Blanca beer...ashore only.

7. Never buy ships photos.

8. Stay clear of the gift shops - unless they are having a serious sale on something I might want.

9. Avoid any and all auctions....but will show up for the champagne....

10. Don't buy specialty coffees or patronize "pastry bars"

 

I splurge on having lunch ashore at a favorite restaurant or enjoying an icy cold Pina Colada made fresh in front of me - in a blender - with fresh Pineapple.....at a favorite shore-side watering hole.

 

I'll splurge on a taxi if necessary to avoid those awful shuttle buses in Mexico and on some islands.

 

I am a generous tipper to those who have made my cruise special......

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.......Are you a tightwad cruiser too? If so, what do you do

I like to think of myself as a sensible cruiser... rather than tightwad. We will spend money.... but I do not have to look at my credit card balance to see if I had a good time. I don't have that .... "It's my vacation so I'll spend what I want to spend" attitude.

 

Basically, We do not do:

  • The casino
  • The art auction
  • The Spa
  • The come-on sales
  • The speciality restaurants
  • The soda cards
  • The Ice Cream stand (except occassionally)
  • Wine at dinner (unless comp'd by TA)
  • Bottled water
  • Bingo
  • Photos
  • The Duty Free stores

We do:

  • An occassional foo foo drink (one a day)
  • An occassional beer (with lunch)
  • Ship tours at most ports
  • Minor inexpensive mementos from the gift shop
  • Extra tipping

And as such... we can always get off the ship for less than what it cost us to get on the ship. :)

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My alcoholic drinks are limited to the free drinks at the Captain's Party and Past Guest parties. I buy pictures because when I travel single, there are no pics to prove I was there...And they help to document the travels of Essie. When I travel as a single I get the cheapest cabin. Never do spa or casino. I have never tried a specialty restaurant. I like the food in the main rest., but if I was on a long cruise or several back to backs and the menu kept repeating, then I might try one. I buy souvenirs: t-shirts and magnets. I do use the internet service to keep in touch daily. EM

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Bottom line...don't just "sign and sail" If what you are spending on something IS WORTH IT TO YOU, then it is money well spent. A massage at home is usually cheaper and way better than any you will get on a ship. All of the spa and salon prices are considerably more onboard than at home. An art dealer friend of mine said the best part of the onboard art purchase is the frame. Get an onland tour for half the price of those shipboard. dinner in the dining room is usually more fun, if not as good as, a specialty restaurant. Play your obligatory quarter (or two) in the casino, then stay out.

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We stay out of the gift/jewelry shops onboard.

 

I don't drink, so our bar bill is half of what it could be.

 

I will admit, however, to being a sucker for pictures (some, not all of them). Then I get home and wonder why I bought them!

 

$429 on our sign & sail card for our cruise three weeks ago, which included $140 in gratuities. I thought that was pretty good...

 

Wow, $429 was the exact amount on our last sign & sail card too. I guess we must have bought the same things. We always seem to find a few pictures and used our 2 for 1 drink coupons, plus other coupons in our book. We do spend some (cash) in the casino, I'd never put that on my card for fear of a heart attack at the end of the cruise. :eek:

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We don't book a cruise unless it's a GREAT deal. For instance, both Costa and MSC have been offering Kids Sail Free cruises. We've taken several of those. Also, if you cruise in September, during the height of hurricane season, you can usually find cheaper fares.

 

 

Also, we aren't partial to anyone specific cruiseline. Being flexible and "hopping" from line-to-line allows us to find those great deals.

 

CeleBrat

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Generally, we don't cruise very often--though we would like to, so we don't have any "points or status" with any ONE cruise line. I'm envious of those who have the coupons, the free upgrades, the perks and I also applaud you for having them.

 

We always have a good time on our cruises even though we don't spend a "lot" of money on the ship itself. Our last cruise was a long one where we paid a hefty amount for the trip and we splurged for a simple balcony--I wasn't going to go through the Canal with anything less--.

 

Our list of savings include:

 

1. No art auctions

 

2. No soda cards--the tea, punch, lemonade, and water are just fine

 

3. Book independent excursions away from the ship as much as reasonably possible, though some ports-of-call warrant the protection of booking with them.

 

4. At one port-of-call, we stayed on the ship and just enjoyed the quiet.

 

5. If I use the spa treatments at all, it's on a special.

 

6. Speciality occasions and Daily Specials for the extra drinks.

 

7. Bring on water (12 pack) for excursions

 

8. Bingo--ah, maybe once (for the big money or free cruise)

 

9. Not a big gambler or slot machine person. Want to spend my money on something else.

 

10. Laundry can wait until I get home. I purchase new undergarments before we leave and toss the old undergarments along the way.

 

11. Avoid the "mall" onboard. The prices aren't that much of a savings to what? save on the taxes? The shirts, blouses, purses, shoes, even the suntan lotion are inflated to name a few items. And most of the clothing they do have onboard for sale are in sizes I haven't seen in a VERY, very long time. LOL

 

12. Purchase a photo or two, if it's exceptionally good. Most aren't.

 

13. Speciality restaurant - last cruise we got talked into going to one and we'll do that again at least once on our next trip.

 

14. Don't really need to purchase any of the way-too-caffeinated coffee; the coffee provided around the ship is just fine.

 

15. Ice cream--my downfall, though I do limit how much I eat of it.

 

16. Always tip the staff especially for anyone who isn't someone we've been assigned to tip. This last cruise, we ate almost everyday up where the buffets are, had the same server who went the extra mile for us, made coffee the way my hubby wanted, knew our name, and watched over us. He never solicitated for the tip, not once. However, he did earn it.

 

17. Purchased the internet package that would be most economical to us. When we left the ship, we had 4 minutes left after starting with over 4 hours. I would blog daily our trip and answer personal emails (typed beforehand on the personal computer, then cut/pasted to site)-from our children only, then downloaded pictures to MySpace that would be of interest to the family, which took the most time.

 

Note: We are set to private on our MySpace page so no one but who we are familiar will be able to peek at us. The kids really got excited about our communication and pictures. Well worth it. The kids often remarked they felt like they were on the cruise with us.

 

 

Our last ship/sail card was just over a grand--included prepaid tips for the assigned wait service, which totalled 1/3 of the statement, a few drinks, speciality dinner for two, internet package, a spa special, bingo, couple "mall" specials that were indeed a very good price, a couple ship excursions, and photos including the dvd of trip--no way to photo lapse the Panama Canal like they could. 15 days, $1030 on ship....not bad.

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We are yjour original skinflints. That's why we own 100 shares in the line we patronize, bought at a good price. Since we prefer long cruises, we always get a hefty bonus of onboard credit. As a result, our final bill is next to nothing since we don't drink or gamble.

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Ways we save:

We book waaaay in advance so we can have the cabin we want and the best price. We also love both the savings and the weather in the fall.

We use our RC VISA to build up OBC.

We only book ships that leave from Port Canaveral because it's within driving distance; 4 people x airfare = way more money.

We choose a hotel near the port that'll allow us to leave our car "for free".

We buy a couple drinks on board, but we don't go overboard with them.

We bring our own sodas and water bottles.

We aren't interested in the art auction and don't like champagne.

DH drinks the free coffee; I don't like hot drinks.

Spa treatments hold no magic for me.

We don't use internet or cell phones on board -- though we would if we had an emergency.

We don't book ship's excursions, though 50% of the reason is that we hate the crowds and prefer the better service provided by smaller, independent operators.

We tell the kids they can have all the self-service ice cream they want, but not the extra-charge stuff.

We don't buy all the stuff they put out in the promenade and by the Windjammer -- you know, all the impulse buy stuff; in fact, there was genuinely little for sale on the ship that I wanted to tote home. Vacationing is about the experience, not the shopping.

 

Places we spend:

I do use the laundry (because packing light means we can all travel in our small car to and from the port).

We may or may not dine in the specialty restaurants.

We buy a couple new items of clothing for vacation.

We don't hesitate to spend on a private excursion IF it's something that we really want to do.

We don't skimp on tips.

 

We're perfectly happy with our spending arrangements, and by being semi-frugal on our vacations, we're able to go on many more trips than most of our friends!

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ChevyCruiser !

 

You need to change your title to: Cruising on a Budget 101

 

What you do is neither considered being a tightwad, cheap, or whatever other adjective you might want to put on it. You enjoy cruising, your way, and if more people took your hints they would probable be able to enjoy cruising too.

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No, we're not tight wad cruisers. We don't spend like crazy but we enjoy our vacation and order a cocktail or glass or wine if we wish. We have no interest in art auctions or the spa so that isn't being tight wad, it's simply things we don't care about.

 

If we see an excursion we like, we book it.

We always enjoy at least one dinner each week in the alternative restaurant.

We don't want to watch every dime while on vacation but understand that is not everyone's style.

 

Sail--I agree with you. A vacation is a time to kick back and relax---not to spend every waking minute trying to fiqure out how to do it cheaper. I would rather stay home than do a vacation "on the cheap". Much better to look back and think about how much fun we had rather than how much money we saved.

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We do most of the things already mentioned:

  • No art, no soda cards, no shopping, no shopping (I put that twice on purpose
  • Only do shore excursions if it's something really special
  • Don't drink, so no bar bills
  • No specialty restaurants
  • Most shore days, we just hit the sidewalk and follow our noses. We've had some great times doing that. Sometimes we get a taxi and go all over the place in that. It's surprisingly inexpensive.
  • No spa treatments, but I hate that type of thing and I realize many people love them so this isn't a recommendation
  • We don't eat while we're off the ship in port - usually not anyway. This is partly cheap and partly just not wanting to fool with it.

Do we still have fun? You bet we do! I haven't felt deprived yet. :D

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Ways we save on cruising.

 

1) Book repositioning cruises which are good value for the money. Longer cruises are also often less per day.

2) Book way in advance

3) Book the cheapest guaranteed cabin. I prefer to be at the center of the ship as there is less motion there.

4) For some cruise lines, if you own stock, you get a shipboard credit, and in between times you get dividends from the stock.

5) Sometimes we book with an on-line discount travel agency where the agencies bid for the lowest price

 

6) We drive a rental car to the cruise port which is usually cheaper and always less stress than flying, and we don't have to pay for parking as we turn the car in when we get there. Normally we can also drive up the day of the cruise so we don't have to pay for a hotel at the port.

 

7) Neither of us drink alcoholic beverages or soft drinks or coffee, so we have no drinks card or drinks bill. That (as has been pointed out) means only that we don't want it so it's not a savings per se. We DO bring small water bottles and fill them on the ship before we go out to visit the port rather than buying water.

 

8) Also under the "We don't want it, so we aren't really saving money" are that we

-- don't play bingo or gamble in the casino.

-- almost NEVER buy photographs and actually try to keep from having our pictures taken.

-- regard the 'art' as visual clutter which makes it hard to get around the ship, and think most of it is ugly. I have plenty of photographs of family and pictures that I or family members have painted that I don't have any space for other art.

--don't buy stuff in the ship stores unless it is extremely urgent to have whatever it is.

 

9) We don't eat in specialty restaurants except once when it was part of a package. The food was good, but not good enough for me to want to pay extra for it.

10) We go to the lectures etc. that are free.

11) I do research before we go on the ports, especially ones that we have not been to. I then decide if there is something that I want to see that I won't be able to walk to it from the ship, and research whether I can get a private contractor to take me (not one of the ships tours). But if it looks like a good price for the ship tour or if I have any anxiety about getting back in time, then I book the ship's tour even though it might be expensive.

12) We investigate whether the ship has a laundry and don't book the longer cruises if it does not. We bring our own soap etc.

13) I have not as yet used the spa facilities and although I have thought of taking a Pilates or yoga class, I have not actually gotten around to doing it. I have used the gym treadmills etc.

14) I do not buy anything while on a ship's tour, as I think the shops give a kickback to the ship. I feel somewhat the same about the ship recommended shops. I look very hard at the things that are for sale in a port, and try to buy only locally produced items (for example I don't buy stuff made in Thailand or China when I'm in Dominica). Mostly I buy gifts for the younger grandchildren.

15) We don't use a cell phone or ships phone on board except when disembarking when we aren't paying roaming rates.

 

We do tip extra (above the recommended amount) for a cabin steward who is personable and/or efficient.

 

I do eat ashore sometimes - usually lunch - as I think eating local food is part of the experience of being in a foreign country.

 

I absolutely DO use the internet on board with my laptop - I do that instead of phoning so our children know that we are OK and what we are doing. When my mom was alive, this also meant that she got email.

 

I looked at my last bill which was $535 when we left the ship. This was tips for two for 7 days, one excursion for two people, one photograph, one $30 teen soda card (I was traveling with my grandson instead of my husband), and the rest was internet so I could send my grandchild's family pictures and trip reports .

 

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ChevyCruiser !

 

You need to change your title to: Cruising on a Budget 101

 

What you do is neither considered being a tightwad, cheap, or whatever other adjective you might want to put on it. You enjoy cruising, your way, and if more people took your hints they would probable be able to enjoy cruising too.

 

 

Good subtitle. We use the term tightwad as a source of pride. Being retired and on a fixed income, we figure it's easier to save $500.00 by being a tightwad than to generate an additional $500.00 of income. Being a tightwad allows us to cruise three to four times a year, and do pretty well anything else we want, when we want. That's FREEDOM! It all depends on if you want to pay full price and travel less - or be a tightwad and travel more. ;)

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but on vacation I'm not. We don't go overboard, but we are much more lax. I budget a generous amount for spending money, and then we enjoy.

 

I have 51 other weeks each year to be tight. On vacation I'm on vacation from being tight as well...

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Sail--I agree with you. A vacation is a time to kick back and relax---not to spend every waking minute trying to fiqure out how to do it cheaper. I would rather stay home than do a vacation "on the cheap". Much better to look back and think about how much fun we had rather than how much money we saved.
I've never found that money spent = more enjoyment. We don't hesitate to book the cabin we want, to arrive a day early and stay in a hotel, to book excursions that we're going to enjoy. But we don't feel the need to spend on everything we see.
Do we still have fun? You bet we do! I haven't felt deprived yet.
That's the key: those of us who are genuinely frugal don't need to spend to have fun! It's not a matter of sacraficing, doing without, or getting by -- it's just that we don't care to have a fru-fru drink in our hands all the time, OR we don't really see the point in going to the Caribbean and staying inside playing Bingo, OR we know that we don't need more tee-shirts and coffee mugs, OR we don't like the atmosphere of the casino, OR we don't quite "get" the appeal of the spa, OR we have no intention of paying $$$ to get out teeth whitened, OR we understand that you aren't going to get the best price on gold-by-the-inch onboard a cruiseship. Speaking only for my family: we're not skipping anything that matters to us! Most of the "extras" onboard simply don't seem to be all that much fun.

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