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Welcome to Tightwad Cruising - What Do You Do?


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Cruising with Princess for my very first cruise... tell me more about the pre-purchased drink cards! (alcohol - I'll probably take soda with me). Where/how do you purchase the drink cards and are they cheaper to purchase in advance?

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I think the best thing that I have done was to track my onboard spending. Ive always done this in the past but I have moved to the 21st century with a iphone / ipod touch app called cruise card control. I would recomend this to anyone that owns an iphone or ipod touch and who is going on a cruise, its really easy to use and I was only $7 off my final total

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I think the best thing that I have done was to track my onboard spending. Ive always done this in the past but I have moved to the 21st century with a iphone / ipod touch app called cruise card control. I would recomend this to anyone that owns an iphone or ipod touch and who is going on a cruise, its really easy to use and I was only $7 off my final total

 

 

Wow - should've known there's "an app for that!" Just downloaded to my iphone and looking forward to using it on my curise in May. thanks for the tip!

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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.

 

:D But for some of us, there is such joy in having a fun time AND saving money! I must get the same kind of rush a gambling junkie gets, every time I caught a price drop on my cruise or found a great excursion for way less money. Different strokes!

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:D But for some of us, there is such joy in having a fun time AND saving money! I must get the same kind of rush a gambling junkie gets, every time I caught a price drop on my cruise or found a great excursion for way less money. Different strokes!

 

Thanks! I couldn't have said it better.

 

Whenever I see a post that puts down an inside cabin I just think of the saying "he who laughs last, last best". I will be putting the money I save on cruise 1 towards my next cruise. I can do 2 cruises for the price of what many people spend on one.

 

Happy cruising

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I am an avid iPhone user with 6 pages of aps. But I don't see the benefit of entering every expense when you can get this information on your TV in your room 24/7. Please explain.

 

I was on the Sensation in January (4-day to Bahamas). The didn't have the feature where you can see your bill on TV. :confused:

 

FWIW, I don't have iPhone either. Just sayin'...

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I am an avid iPhone user with 6 pages of aps. But I don't see the benefit of entering every expense when you can get this information on your TV in your room 24/7. Please explain.

 

I've never done it either, but plan to this time. It makes it easy to reconcile if they've charged you correctly. If you input onto your app what you've spent right when you spend it, then you can easily compare it to their list at the end.

 

I certainly know on my last cruise those bar receipts were shoved in a drawer. Who knows if I was charged correctly!!!

 

On the app you can add different subcategories under each category, so for example under drinks you can add a "day" subcategory and add the amount so you can reconcile at the end.

 

For me, it's just another way to be completely overplanned and anal. LOL!

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Cruising with Princess for my very first cruise... tell me more about the pre-purchased drink cards! (alcohol - I'll probably take soda with me). Where/how do you purchase the drink cards and are they cheaper to purchase in advance?

 

In the gift section you can "gift yourself" gift coupon(s) to be delivered at dinner on the first night of the cruise. You will save tax and gratuity. You can also order a bottle of Liqour for the bonvoyage department number directly and they will have a bottle waiting in your room.

You can either bring a few cokes, as a 12 pk or 2, or buy an unlimited soda card for 6 dollars a day per adult.

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I am an avid iPhone user with 6 pages of aps. But I don't see the benefit of entering every expense when you can get this information on your TV in your room 24/7. Please explain.

 

Not all cruise lines have this option...

some do not total it up for you...

errors on your bill...

your not in your room all the time..

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I’m not a tightwad…I’m just not a big shopper so when it comes to buying extras I really don’t. I’m always thinking about how I’m going to get things home. I see no need for souvenirs because they just end up in a drawer somewhere later.

I had $95 left over after my trip. I will do excursions and Drink of the day as I want to enjoy but I just don’t shop at all and that’s what saves me J

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How much cash do we really need to bring? Just curious since we are pretty strapped right now and although we have paid for our cruise and have our S&S accounts set up we are wondering how much spending$ we'll need to bring. Family of 4 - dont' gamble, don't do sodas and only minimal drinks (we'll probably buy the drinks card) we've already paid our onboard gratuities pre-paid.

 

I am thinking cab rides on excursions - tips for bag porters - tips for other people that we don't realize they require a tip until they are standing there with their hand out and we don't have anything to give them.

 

If anybody could give me a ballpark figure on what they have spent on tips, cabs, or anything else that was an incidental unthought of expense... that would be most helpful.

 

Thanks a lot!

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I try to figure out a budget per day per person. So if you pick $50 per day per person, it would be $1200 (counting 6 days of a 7 day cruise, because the first day I can't imagine spending $200/family). That seems high on sea days, but low on port days with tipping and such so it would balance out in the end. I'm sure people have spent a lot more or a lot less, but if you start with the price you think you would spend per day you can take it from there.

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How much cash do we really need to bring? Just curious since we are pretty strapped right now and although we have paid for our cruise and have our S&S accounts set up we are wondering how much spending$ we'll need to bring. Family of 4 - dont' gamble, don't do sodas and only minimal drinks (we'll probably buy the drinks card) we've already paid our onboard gratuities pre-paid.

 

I am thinking cab rides on excursions - tips for bag porters - tips for other people that we don't realize they require a tip until they are standing there with their hand out and we don't have anything to give them.

 

If anybody could give me a ballpark figure on what they have spent on tips, cabs, or anything else that was an incidental unthought of expense... that would be most helpful.

 

Thanks a lot!

 

We don't tend to spend that much while on a cruise either. And we still have a great time. Just returned from a 7 night cruise to Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan & Grand Turk. We are a family of four. Not including the cruise/taxes/fees & insurance or the getting to & from the ship (travel, hotels, parking), it cost us less than $600 for the week:

 

Gratuities: $280 (4 x $10 x 7 days).

$20 (room steward) - had open seating so never had the same table wait staff.

 

Nassau $15 (we did our own walking tour of Nassau - see Frommer's website) & bought 2 baseball caps as souvenirs.

St. Thomas: $10 souvenirs (4 t-shirts for $10)

$172 (catamaran/snorkel excursion w/r. punch afterwards)

San Juan: $5 admission for adults into Fort Cristobel & El Morro

free trolley to both

$80 in souvenirs

Grand Turk: $0 - after the rum punch from St. Thomas, I had no desire to drink any more. the beach area is beautiful & fun for the day. If you wanted to snorkel, you could rent equipment for about $15/person.

 

Didn't buy a soda card - brought our own 12 pack & didn't drink all of that. Didn't buy drinks on the ship (brought two bottles of wine on with us - Carnival lets you do a bottle per adult). We attended the farewell party & past guest parties Carnival offers (but didn't drink that much). Didn't play bingo. Didn't gamble. Told the kids from the get go that if they wanted to bring their own money then fine but that I wasn't going to give them $ for the arcade.

 

I don't consider myself cheap. I just don't care about a lot of the stuff others might find appealing. Now if I had seen another excursion that I really wanted to take, I would have. Some of it just depends on where your ports of call are.

 

Hope this helps.

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SonShine1 Quote: I'm new to the boards and our first cruise is scheduled for Nov 15th on Carnival. I'm interested in how you "shop" rates? I've read a lot about this and how you can get your rate lowered if you find a cheaper price but I have no idea how to do it! Can anyone offer a simple explanation of the best way to do this?

 

If you have booked an Early Saver rate... you can "shop for lower prices". You can find the lower rates on either Carnival itself, or other sites that are opened to the public (don't have to belong to a club in order to buy through them), then you fill out a form and send it into Carnival.. your pvp can help you on filling it out. I have reduced my cruise in October twice now, and both early saver rates. If you have already paid for your cruise in full, you can either take an upgrade or onboard credit. I check out the rates all the time as they go up and down a lot.

Be sure and check out seauonboard.com lots of good information for first time cruisers.. including what rooms to and not to book, if noise is a concern.

GoldMoon: I found my lower rate on Carnival's website. At the time, we had made final payment and the promo said "new bookings only". I called Carnival and they graciously gave me the difference in OBC!

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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

 

The best way to save money is to stay at home!Do not sink the ship for want of a bucket of tar!

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Thanks! I couldn't have said it better.

 

Whenever I see a post that puts down an inside cabin I just think of the saying "he who laughs last, last best". I will be putting the money I save on cruise 1 towards my next cruise. I can do 2 cruises for the price of what many people spend on one.

 

Happy cruising

 

 

You are 100% right. We book the lowest price mid-ship available.

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You are 100% right. We book the lowest price mid-ship available.

Seabrite,

 

I get that, just wish I had more VACA time to enjoy it. We've done the Inside, lower whatever and had just a great time also. Have found that balconies are the spoils if you can swing it, and at the rates of the cruises these days.... we're paying less for balconies that we did inside with two tiny glass portholes 15 years ago.

 

Admit that we've honed our bargain hunting skills.

We are after all, on a ship, in the ocean, with bands, traveling....mmmmm ocean. wake me up!

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Seabrite,

 

I get that, just wish I had more VACA time to enjoy it. We've done the Inside, lower whatever and had just a great time also. Have found that balconies are the spoils if you can swing it, and at the rates of the cruises these days.... we're paying less for balconies that we did inside with two tiny glass portholes 15 years ago.

 

Admit that we've honed our bargain hunting skills.

We are after all, on a ship, in the ocean, with bands, traveling....mmmmm ocean. wake me up!

 

A few times we've snagged oceanviews and once even an obstructed view balcony for a few bucks more than an inside. I have to admit, I LOVED the balcony but wouldn't pay hundreds more unless it was longer than a 7 day cruise. We are hardly ever in the room. I loved the balcony to hear the ocean at night, it was so relaxing.

 

BO HANSON - I get 5 weeks vacation but the catch is that we're so short-handed at work, I never get to take it so it's pointless. Talk about a bummer!

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How much cash do we really need to bring? Just curious since we are pretty strapped right now and although we have paid for our cruise and have our S&S accounts set up we are wondering how much spending$ we'll need to bring. Family of 4 - dont' gamble, don't do sodas and only minimal drinks (we'll probably buy the drinks card) we've already paid our onboard gratuities pre-paid.

 

I am thinking cab rides on excursions - tips for bag porters - tips for other people that we don't realize they require a tip until they are standing there with their hand out and we don't have anything to give them.

 

If anybody could give me a ballpark figure on what they have spent on tips, cabs, or anything else that was an incidental unthought of expense... that would be most helpful.

 

Thanks a lot!

 

The porter that take your bag is normally a dollar a bag. Room service is 1-2 dollars, all others are taken care of on board ship. If you feel your room steward or dining room host deserves extra you may leave them extra but you do not have to.. Most times I have left my room steward extra, as I have felt they have gone above and beyond, but not the one that did not even introduce themselves to us.. or ever be seen.. ever... you can prebuy drink coupons through Carnivial gift services which will save you the gratuity and tax. I bring a few soft drinks on myself, as I don't drink many, and it saves me that way. You can also bring one bottle of wine per adult (bring your own corkscrew-they charge in the dining room to uncork). They often put t-shirts for souvenirs on sale on the ship and a few other little items.. Ciggerettes and alcohol are also very inexpensive to buy to take one home. The excursions is where your money might be.. check those out online.. Taxis and buses could run between 5 and 20 apiece depending on where you are and how far you are going... that is hard to tell not knowing.... You can even return to the ship for lunch and then go back out to the islands to continue on your sightseeing if convenient to do so. You can figure between 500 and 1200 just depending on you... My girlfriend and I went and I spent 210 dollars and I bought a ring, and souvenirs, a bottle of liqour and a carton of cigerettes, and that included my 70 dollars tips for the week.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi all, I have just read every single comment here. I really have learned a lot from all the different points of view.

 

For me as a first time cruiser who is planning my first two cruises b2b and im also a solo cruiser its given me a lot of great ideas.

 

I dont drink alcohol at all so that big expensive is out. I think a round or two of bingo would be fun, I gamble a tiny bit but keep a strict limit and consider nickel slots a good deal and dollar slots like really a lot lol.

 

I plan to splurge on shore excursions. I think for me for my first cruise I want to take shore excursions just to get the feel of how things work as I dont want to worry about being left behind.

 

Also I had gastric bypass sergery so I dont plan to eat at any of the specility restaurants or if I did eat at one it would be for the expierence of it.

 

Im really excited to go on my first cruises and cant wait.

 

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this as I learned a lot,

 

Adri :)

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  • 2 months later...
I was on the Sensation in January (4-day to Bahamas). The didn't have the feature where you can see your bill on TV. :confused:

 

FWIW, I don't have iPhone either. Just sayin'...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

for the record it just took me 15 minutes to figured out what FWIW meant...now I'm giggling at my slowness...

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I don't worry about penny pinching on the cruise, but I also don't spend money on things that I wouldnt spend money on at home. I'm not a big drinker at home, so I don't go overboard drinking on the ship. I might have 2 drinks a day, maybe 3 if I have a glass of wine at dinner. Also, I can't stand massages, so I don't go for any of the spa treatments. I do however like to use the sauna/steam rooms after I visit the gym. I like to explore the ports I visit, so I do excursions on my own rather than booking with the ship. I'll buy a tour book of each port before hand, then just take that ashore with me. They're also good souvineers of the places I've been. I have 2 of biggest casinos in the world within a 2 hour drive of my house,that I go to maybe once a year, so I don't go to the shipboard casinos. I don't go to the art shows, BUT, sometimes they offer prints for around $20. If it is something I like, I'll buy it, then once I got home get it framed and matted. Looks just like the real thing, only 99% cheaper. If theres a specialty restaurant that I really want to try, I'll go, but I won't go to every one of them. I DO spend money on the speciality coffee drinks, but only because I really enjoy a good cup of coffee. I think the bingo in ships is WAY over priced, and usually won't play. Once again, the casino is within 2 hours of my house, and they offer Bingo and I don't play that, so why play on the ship? I do spend money on internet access, but I don't go overboard, and don't use it every day. If I'm on a 7 day cruise, I might log on 3 times during that week. I use my cell phone in port, and if an emergency should arise, I'll make a call on my cell phone while on the ship, but I don't do it to chit chat. I make sure that I have most meals on the ship, but if I get hungry while in port, I'll eat, it just wont be a huge meal. I've never taken soda on board, but I think I will when I cruise in August. Why pay $1.75 for a can of diet coke, when I can bring a 12 pack for $5? I don't buy the cruise pictures because I find most of them are not all that great, and I carry my digital camera with me all the time to capture the spontaneous moments. On my last 7 day cruise, the bill at the end for 2 was just over $500 and that included our tips AND we went to 3 speciality restaurants.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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:

Can I ask where you guys are getting free drink coupons or two for one couplons? I've never seen them.

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