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Welcome to Tightwad Cruising - What Do You Do?


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I save by bringing my own sodas to the cruise and using my own Internet while on board. My last cruise was 15 days and I saved tons of $$ buy using our prepaid cell phone to get emails and surf the web while on board. The speed is slow but it's free.

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Operabob,

 

 

I paid no additional money other than my regular $50 cell phone bill. So that I do consider free. As long as the ship was at sea, I was able to access the internet on my phone. Oh and because my phone is jail broken, my iPad had internet access too.

Edited by nitenrz
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nit,

 

Operabob,

 

Too formal! Call me OB. ;-)

 

I won't agree to free but I will commend you for being a great tightwad like myself. LOL!

 

I'll have to learn your skills with the phone. Being Canadian I'm not sure how it would work for me in the US. I do use a Blackberry with Internet. Last time I wondered about getting a disposable when sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale but didn't know if I could get Internet on it.

 

I take a netbook and an antenna and about half the time can pick up WiFi in port. Was thinking of using a Pringles tube to increase the range.

 

Edited by operabob
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We have H2O wireless. The cheapest plan with internet is $50. With that plan, we were able to access the nba games while on the ship when the tv was not working. They seem to use cellular at sea antennas because they are a part of the att network. The best part is no extra bill for us. I have to try out that antenna though.

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Oh boy. I hope this is either a pre-paid plan, or you've already seen the bill that covers this cruise. If it's through cellular at sea and you downloaded data for an nba game, that sounds like a scary bill.

 

Truly, I hope I'm wrong.

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H2O is a prepaid cellular service that uses att's towers. There is no bill. You pay your $50 per month or you dont have service. Thats the beauty of it. Im sure someone will figure out that prepaid customers are using the cellular at sea towers for free and cut it off. So please don't call them and ask them if it will work. But it was an unexpected blessing on my last 16 night repo cruise.

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H2O is a prepaid cellular service that uses att's towers. There is no bill. You pay your $50 per month or you dont have service. Thats the beauty of it. Im sure someone will figure out that prepaid customers are using the cellular at sea towers for free and cut it off. So please don't call them and ask them if it will work. But it was an unexpected blessing on my last 16 night repo cruise.

 

sweet!

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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.

 

Although I would rather NOT have to worry about how much we saved, we simply could not afford to go (family of 4) without cutting corners. I would rather go on the cruise "on the cheap"---thus affording my children the experience of new cultures/places---than stay at home and see my kids watch TV and play video games! If you would rather stay home than vacation "on the cheap", please do so. For some of us, we don't have that luxury. If we want to go...we HAVE to do it on the cheap!

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Although I would rather NOT have to worry about how much we saved, we simply could not afford to go (family of 4) without cutting corners. I would rather go on the cruise "on the cheap"---thus affording my children the experience of new cultures/places---than stay at home and see my kids watch TV and play video games! If you would rather stay home than vacation "on the cheap", please do so. For some of us, we don't have that luxury. If we want to go...we HAVE to do it on the cheap!

 

Really, I think we are lucky to go on vacations even "on the cheap."

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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.

 

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......

 

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.

 

Thank you all for posting! My husband and I are Dave Ramsey and Clark Howard fans' date=' so we're all about making good use of our money and budgeting! We're also first-time cruisers. :)

 

With our lack of experience, it's reassuring to see people with a similar mindset, and your posts are very helpful. Sometimes seeing how much others have spent on-ship can be a bit scary. :eek: Don't get me wrong; I don't begrudge anyone what they spend. It's their decision, and their money, and their life. But I know that, with my priorities and my resources, I certainly can't do it!

 

Neither of us drink or gamble, so I think we're in the clear there. I'm a graphic designer with an art degree, so I wouldn't be tempted by the art auctions. (I'm admittedly a bit jaded and very, very picky…) I drink [i']very[/i] little soda (one or two a week, though I have a weakness for sweet tea!), and my husband even less, but the coffee bar and pastries will be an occasional splurge for us. And I'm traveling on the Carnival Fantasy, so alternative dining isn't an issue.

 

I'm going to have to work to resist buying photos; I love photos! Maybe, if there's one that's really cool, I'll buy it. And my mother-in-law is freaked out over our going on a cruise, so I'll probably log on to the ship internet each day long enough to send out a reassuring email. (At 75¢ a minute, it better be only a few minutes!)

 

But I would rather have a bit more freedom to spend on shore! A good lunch, some carefully chosen souvenirs (that aren't just like what I could buy at home), and our shore excursion are far more important to me. I figure I can have tons of fun on the ship without spending any significant money. :D

 

And I don't want to be tempted to scrimp on tips. I believe very strongly in paying people fairly.

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so I'll probably log on to the ship internet each day long enough to send out a reassuring email. (At 75¢ a minute, it better be only a few minutes!)

 

If you take a portable device (laptop, tablet, etc.) wait until you hit a port. You can often pick up free or inexpensive Internet ashore.

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If you take a portable device (laptop, tablet, etc.) wait until you hit a port. You can often pick up free or inexpensive Internet ashore.

Good advice. It's only a five-day, so I only have two sea days to worry about. I plan to do what I did when I went to India: send ONE email each day to my two best friends, one coworker, and our parents. In one fell swoop, everyone knows I'm still alive and kicking. :)

 

I love my iPad, but I'll probably lock it up rather than bring it ashore. However, we have an iPod Touch, too, so I can use it instead in port. Much smaller and lighter!

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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

 

You sound like my type of guy.

 

DON

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Just finished reading the entire thread. Loved all the tips! Haven't cruised in 12 years and this will be the first time with kids so definitely needed to hear advice from the trenches :) thanks to all who have contributed.

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I appreciated reading the thread. We would rather go on more cruises than be too extravagent on one. We do tip well like others have mentioned - I agree - those folks do work hard.

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No one will look after your money better than you will.

 

Cruise ship companies are in the business of getting as much money out of your pockets as possible. The way I see it, my job as passenger, is to see they get as little as possible. Treat it as a game.

 

Now, as a share holder, I object strenuously to this thread :D and hope everyone spends way overboard (excuse the pun!) :rolleyes:

 

I almost hate to post it here for fear the cruise line staff will see it and clamp down, but I really pulled a fast one on them last year. We did three cruises in a row, B2B2B. On the last night of the first cruise, I went down to the gift shop and stocked up on scotch. On the last night, they don't bother to hold it and deliver it to your cabin, you can just walk out with it. The next two cruises, I enjoyed a little scotch on the rocks on my balcony each night. Ahhhh, life was good.

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I almost hate to post it here for fear the cruise line staff will see it and clamp down, but I really pulled a fast one on them last year. We did three cruises in a row, B2B2B. On the last night of the first cruise, I went down to the gift shop and stocked up on scotch. On the last night, they don't bother to hold it and deliver it to your cabin, you can just walk out with it. The next two cruises, I enjoyed a little scotch on the rocks on my balcony each night. Ahhhh, life was good.

Don't tell anybody. We do that too.

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Good advice. It's only a five-day, so I only have two sea days to worry about. I plan to do what I did when I went to India: send ONE email each day to my two best friends, one coworker, and our parents. In one fell swoop, everyone knows I'm still alive and kicking. :)

 

I love my iPad, but I'll probably lock it up rather than bring it ashore. However, we have an iPod Touch, too, so I can use it instead in port. Much smaller and lighter!

 

Just wondering, are there roaming charges for your iPod?

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Here's our take on tightwad cruising.

 

1. Buy cruise credits onboard for your next cruise, and book way in advance.

 

2. RCI has no laundromat, so we bring quick drying underwear and wash them in the sink. We brought quarters and detergent the one time we used the laundromat on Princess. We bring our travel clothesline, but have only needed it on the Jewel of the Seas.

 

3. We stay in the cheapest of the Junior Suite category on RCI. My husband likes his room, like the balcony, and we both like the double cruise credit. This works for us since we spend a lot of time in our stateroom.

 

4. We book all shore excursions through the cruise line. But we research them. One notable exception was the Pirates's Museum in Nassau. They give you the tickets, but expect you to find it yourself and walk the three blocks. We picked up our map at the flee market before leaving the pier area. I figure if I pay though the cruise, I expect to be picked up at the pier! Do, book all shore excursions through the cruise company in Jamaica, or better yet, stay on the ship. They stop at many gift shops, and we and others have arrived back to the ship just before pulling the gangplank. We loved the shore excursions in Hawaii, all but one were with vans or mini-buses. But they do count heads. We got on the wrong bus in Grand Cayman, but they found us! Also, be sure to bring some snacks with you on shore excursions. Several shore excursions went through the lunch hour with no food offered. Unless the shore excursion mentions a snack or meal, it probably doesn't.

 

5. Do plan to arrive the night before. It's a lot less stressful. We've arrived in the embarkation city once around 8 PM due to a flight cancellation.

 

6. Do cross pack. If they lose a piece of luggage, at least you'll each have a change of clothes. And you may not have to purchase any in the gift shop. We pack toiletries in each checked suitcase. On the subject of packing, be sure to pack a minimum your paperwork and meds in your carry-on and keep it with you until you reach your stateroom! I've read a few horror stories about people checking their meds at the pier, and the ship's doctor not being able to replace their exact meds. I'd also hold onto things like cameras, electronics, etc. I'm not rich enough to risk checking them!

 

7. Specialty Restaurants, we've done two. The Chef's Table at Princess, definitely worth the huge cost. But next time we may get the non-alcohol version since a lot of their fine wines were lost on us. Those with food allergies may wish to avoid this, since they do accommodate, mostly by removing the item you're allergic to w/o a substitute. Mystery Dinner Theatre, o.k. Food definitely better than MDR, but didn't care for the noisy crowded dining room. We were jammed in a table of eight to ten people. Would have preferred each party getting their own table.

 

. 8. Little or no alcohol purchased. We usually drank our alcohol at the free functions. If you can stand the crowds, be sure to visit the free alcohol tastings, but hold off purchasing until later. We usually change our minds by then.

 

9. No soda, no freshly squeezed juice, few specialty coffees. Check your coupon book, because you may be able to get it below their list price. Check the cruise boards to see if cocoa is available for free. The last time we cruised, it was available on Royal Caribbean for free, but cost on Princess.

 

10. No bingo nor casino, except free slot pulls from coupons.

 

11. We've purchased a few photos. To make them easier to find, look through them at least daily, and throw out the obvious losers and put the rest together, so they're easier to find later. But recently, we've been uninspired with the photo compositions. Fortunately, photoshop can fix a lot these days! Still it's nice to get a few shots of those that are usually behind the camera. We loved the Photographer on the Sapphire Princess and purchased more than usual.

 

12. If you're Emerald or Higher, request bottled water for your free drink. It will come in handy on shore excursions. If you get a free mini bar perk, you may be able to get them to swap out with your favorites. On the Sapphire Princess we replaced most of our hard liquor with Dox XX.

 

13. Check the coupon book before making purchases.

 

14. Ask the steward to get the mini-bar cleared. We store our room service and take out extras there.

 

15. Little or no spa. But we do like the Rasul occasionally. Don't care for the wait. If we're making appointments, we expect them to be ready at the right time. Do check the bill before adding a tip, because sometimes they add their own gratuity.

 

16. Eliminate the ships on board, or keep them to a minimum. You should be able to get some meclizine at the guest relations desk.

 

17. Do purchase insurance! This is especially true if you're over 50. But my husband broke his hip at age 48! We had to cancel our first cruise, and were SO glad we forked over the extra money.

 

18. While not a tightwad tactic, we loved the Escorted Cruisetour (renamed connoisseur) in Alaska, two meals daily were included, some land trips were included and the escort handled all the headaches, such as booking dinner reservations, finding my lost plane reservation, and getting our hotel keys.

 

19. Do set up your account with the upgrade fairy enabled. Some Crown and Anchor Members can customize their upgrade preferences. Check your profile. Who knows? You may get lucky!

Edited by knittinggirl
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Does it matter... just getting on board... and getting kids too away from shore life and all 'that' it is, is wonderful... does it matter how much you can spend on unnecessary items, mostly, or alcohol:cool:

 

Live life - experience the natural thing

 

Iru

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In general I think if you find a price drop after you've booked a cruise, if you contact the cruise line they will honor it. Now if you have booked through a travel agent instead of direct with the cruise line - there may be a change fee. This price drop will probably not be on board credit, but just a revision of how much you owe on the balance. If you are before final payment most all cruise lines that I know of at least will give you the lower amount - if you catch it. They won't volunteer!

 

After final payment - probably not unless you are sailing with carnival and have booked the early saver rate. That is when if you find the price drop and submit a form, they will give you the difference in on board credit.

 

If you haven't booked early saver rate on carnival, no compensation (refund or on board credit) after final payment date.

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Well how good are all you tightwads? Just thought I'd post a quick example of our next quickie:

 

We'll likely do the September Princess 2 day coastal Vancouver to San Francisco again as a quick little getaway.

 

1. 2 and 3 days are a quick way to boost yourself to the next highest level of service so we'll get credit for a whole trip even though it's only 2 days.

 

2. I write a column focusing on reward programs especially AirMiles. The column is different from others as it estimates the actual value of an AirMile to a consumer then factors that into purchases to determine any advantage over buying elsewhere from merchants who offer other programs. As a result you can determine "free cash" difference. For example, is it better to buy a $4.99 product with 10 bonus Airmiles at Safeway vs. the same product for $4.57 at Wal-Mart (The answer is Yes BTW). The advantage provided by the AirMiles is equivalent to free cash.

 

3. The return flight from San Francisco is paid for by the free cash AirMiles.

 

4. I use free cash AirMiles to purchase Best Western Gift Cards and use them on business trips. As the AirMiles came from personal purchases I can claim the charge to the gift card as an expense for tax purposes even though I never paid for them in the first place. (PS: I've stayed 14 times at BW so far this year on AirMile gift cards).

 

5. Best Western runs a Stay 3 Times Get a Free Night anywhere promo twice a year. I'll have enough in for the free night for the San Francisco visit. The 3 stays were in the $100 range. One night at the BW @ Fisherman's wharf in September is about $300 after taxes (no charge).

 

6. As a shareowner in Carnival Cruise Lines I'll get $100 shipboard credit on the 2 day trip.

 

7. 2 day coastal balconies @ same price as inside.

 

End result: free flight and hotel plus shipboard credit.

 

How do you do it?

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