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Welcome to Tightwad Cruising - What Do You Do?


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What a pleasant surprise. I really expected the OP to get blasted out of the water by the snobs and people that complain if you don't tip more than they think you should. Instead I found a wealth of worthwhile tips and advice. Thanks to all.

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Love this thread !

Love this thread !

 

Don't follow all these tips but do agree with most.

One tip I don't agree with is only sailing with a particular cruise line so as to reach a loyalty reward level .

Even odder to me is getting a suite so as to double your loyalty points.

 

This sounds to me penny wise and pound foolish. Getting free laundry or a 2 for 1 coupon on a portrait is no great savings.

 

We start each cruise search with no preconditions. We will cruise with whoever offers us the best value.

 

This search led us to a Celebrity cruise in 10 days. (Yes I am very happy)

Staying on top of wild price swings, teacher discounts and TA bonuses,

we will have an extended balcony cabin with tips included for a total of $775 each.

We have made our excursion plans using our CC roll call . Really a tremendous way of getting quality excursions

at non cruise-line prices.

 

We worked even harder to get decent airfare then the cruise. You need to be very flexible.

In order to save a total of $400 ,we will actually have to stay overnight in Toronto before flying to Montreal the next morning after the cruise.

A little nuts especially since the morning flight is at 7 AM but that how we kept the total price down.

 

Everyone has to decide what is important to them. We try hard to maximize value not

necessarily cruising as cheaply as possible. To each his own.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just booked a limo for our airport transfer on our upcoming cruise. :D Carnival's bus shuttle from the Orlando Aiport to Port Canaveral is $70 per person, so $350 round trip for the 5 of us going. Getting a limo was $250 round trip total. Talk about saving money in style!

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I enjoy my vacation. If I can't afford to do that, I "do not" bother.

 

For those of us who are "thrifty," not spending any extra money on the ship is enjoyable. So many things are included that I would normally worry about spending money on -- appetizers, desserts, lemonade instead of ice water, food my kids will try and then barely touch, the fanciest thing on the menu instead of the cheapest, multiple games of mini-golf for the kids, shows, other activities like ropes course, room service breakfast (except tip of course), the list goes on! :) We don't like to gamble, rarely drink, and aren't interested in spa services, and people are happy to take family photos of us if we offer to return the favor. We're content bringing on our sodas, which we like better, and bringing refillable water bottles and packaged snacks in ports. The one thing we don't skimp on is enjoying activities in the ports, we just find ways to save, like private tours, when possible. I didn't pay for the cruise to miss out on the destinations.

Oh, and we drove twenty hours to the port, which was a huge savings for five people on an expensive flight route. We also recommend using some kind of no-fee rewards cards for all purchases, including your cruise, because why not?

We do NOT skimp on tips. When we go out to restaurants at home, which is rare, it's our usual practice to bring a "two-for-one coupon" or go on "kids eat free" day and then give a big tip. On a cruise, we add a little to the automatic tips.

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On our most recent cruise we thought about purchasing the luggage valet program but at $20 pp it seemed a waste. I thought more about it when we were schlepping the bags through the terminal ( it gets a little harder every year:p) So.. maybe we will get a porter next time. Does anyone know what a customary tip for a porter would be?

 

On another note... the cupcakes on the RCI ships are yummy, but not worth the $2.75 as they are mostly icing anyway. Now we know.

 

I use the cruise line rewards credit card throughout the year and use the points accumulated for OBC. We had $400 worth this cruise and used some of it on specialty restaurants, one discounted glass of wine and DH's traditional T shirt purchases, as well as gifts for our little granddaughters and one soda package. We ended up with a negative balance on our bill at the end of the cruise:D. We did do the "next cruise" program and that will give us more OBC for next year. With our remaining OBC our discounted deposit was only about $50.

We only did one excursion, which was not a cruise line sponsored tour.

If we didn't have the OBC we wouldn't have spent what we did, so we enjoyed it very much.

 

Next year when I book I am going to look into private travel insurance to see if it is better and/or cheaper than the cruisecare insurance.

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If going to Europe take Rick Steve's Guidebooks for each city or country. Mediterranean Cruise Ports(Rick Steves) and use it to go to local restaurants.

 

I have found out after last year taking two cruise sponsored cruise tours that the price they are asking can be too much. What we are doing this time is to tour the city the ship is docking at such as Ponto Degaldo, Toulon and Livorno.

 

We look for local restaurants and enjoy lunches in the port city to sample the local specialties. We love getting an early start around 8:00 AM and see the city before the tourists. If there is a special museum we will go to it. Once we're done about 1 or 2 PM we're back on the ship to use the pool while others are on their all day excursions.

 

My saying is if you want to return to another city go there and spend time more than the rushed day the cruise is giving you.

 

Also get the most Onboard Credit Possible and use it for dining, laundry drinks etc.

 

We have found that by packing light you can take public transportation such as the train from Rome Port to Rome and walk instead of payin $80 per person you can go for $30 for 2.

 

Head for the tourist information booth and pick up a map in each city and you can also download Rick Steve's tours of museums or cities for free.

 

A good traveler is one who can be independent and know how to save money.

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"If going to Europe take Rick Steve's Guidebooks for each city or country. Mediterranean Cruise Ports(Rick Steves) and use it to go to local restaurants. "

If you do this you will be lugging along a lot of unnecessary weight. Instead, take notes from such guides and type or write them on index cards, and sort the cards by location. Then you can just grab the appropriate card(s) and take them with you when you arrive there.

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"If going to Europe take Rick Steve's Guidebooks for each city or country. Mediterranean Cruise Ports(Rick Steves) and use it to go to local restaurants. "

If you do this you will be lugging along a lot of unnecessary weight. Instead, take notes from such guides and type or write them on index cards, and sort the cards by location. Then you can just grab the appropriate card(s) and take them with you when you arrive there.

 

Not if you get it downloaded to your kindle or i-pad! About £11 from Amazon in the UK.

2BAC:)

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On our last cruise the ship had a happy hours hat had two for one drinks that saved us a few bucks. Took advantage of it and had a large wine to,take to the dining room. Rum runners come in handy. The pit boss in the casino bought us drinks almost every night (first time that has happened). Enter some of the contests on board and you might win a bottle.

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Private insurance can be a lot cheaper if you are young. I just paid only $33 for my daughter with private insurance for an inside room on Carnival. For my 88yo mom though on RC it was cheaper to use the cruiseline insurance. Most private insurances charge by age and also by per existing conditions.

 

We take advantage of any free drinks we can, captains welcome aboard, welcome back, etc. if you are a drinker, I recommend being loyal to Royal. Once you are Diamond you can have free drinks every night in the Diamond lounge. Also 24hr coffee machines. Also large balcony discounts or saving certificates.

 

I still decide where I want to go and find the best itinery at the best price. Last year I booked a 14 day cruise tour on Princess in a minisuite for $2000. The 7night cruise alone on RC or Celebrity in a jr suite was more than that!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Figured I'd comment on our cruise from a "tightwad" perspective. The cruise was great and it was easy to limit our on-board spending.

Celebrity made homemade ice cream each day in spectacular flavour. Why anyone would pay extra at the gelateria (for gelato) is beyond me.

The drinks at the coffee bar are extra but the desserts and wonderful cookies are no charge.

We would stop by each day of our port intensive cruise to pick up some goodies for that days tour plus a bunch more for the trip home.:D

 

We brought on 2 bottles of wine (as usual) and a 250 of Vodka (as usual) with no problems.

The vodka was replaced with a same sized rum at the 2nd port which was mixed with cafeteria fruit punch.

Happy hour on our balcony with a homemade cocktail - heaven!:)

 

We spend $45 each for a debarkation tour that included airport drop-off and luggage handling.

We thought it was a small treat. Long story short, the bus broke down and we ended up waiting over an hour for its replacement.

It was a decrepit bus to begin with and the replacement wasn't any better.

We got in a chunk of the tour and we were at the airport in plenty of time.

I called Celebrity and they very quickly credited us back the entire cost of the tour. Ask and ye shall receive.

You pay a premium for ship tours. They should meet their promises.

 

Final tip is don't be wedded to one cruise line. Our cruise was less for a balcony then any other cruise we looked at.

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Dont waste your money on the cruise line doing your laundry.

IF you get a stain on your shirt bring stain stick so it doesnt set in.

bring your own soda and water to save on cost.

 

One of the local bus companies offers round trip to the ship and no need to pay for parking.

 

I allways tell the room steward to remove the items from fridge. (SO I wont be tempted).

 

Make sure you do some research on your destination and find out what there is to do that is free or low cost. I did a little research for a friend and found out that in Bemuda there is a nature sanctury open daily.

Edited by cruisingnana87
missed another tip
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Dont waste your money on the cruise line doing your laundry.

IF you get a stain on your shirt bring stain stick so it doesnt set in.

bring your own soda and water to save on cost.

 

One of the local bus companies offers round trip to the ship and no need to pay for parking.

 

I allways tell the room steward to remove the items from fridge. (SO I wont be tempted).

 

Make sure you do some research on your destination and find out what there is to do that is free or low cost. I did a little research for a friend and found out that in Bemuda there is a nature sanctury open daily.

If you are considering bringing water or soda, check the rules for your line. Some limit or prohibit carrying these onboard.

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On our most recent cruise we thought about purchasing the luggage valet program but at $20 pp it seemed a waste. I thought more about it when we were schlepping the bags through the terminal ( it gets a little harder every year:p) So.. maybe we will get a porter next time. Does anyone know what a customary tip for a porter would be?

 

On another note... the cupcakes on the RCI ships are yummy, but not worth the $2.75 as they are mostly icing anyway. Now we know.

 

I use the cruise line rewards credit card throughout the year and use the points accumulated for OBC. We had $400 worth this cruise and used some of it on specialty restaurants, one discounted glass of wine and DH's traditional T shirt purchases, as well as gifts for our little granddaughters and one soda package. We ended up with a negative balance on our bill at the end of the cruise:D. We did do the "next cruise" program and that will give us more OBC for next year. With our remaining OBC our discounted deposit was only about $50.

We only did one excursion, which was not a cruise line sponsored tour.

If we didn't have the OBC we wouldn't have spent what we did, so we enjoyed it very much.

 

Next year when I book I am going to look into private travel insurance to see if it is better and/or cheaper than the cruisecare insurance.

DH and I may try to save in lots of areas, but Luggage Valet/Direct is not one of them. Whenever we can we always use it. Put the bags out the ast night with the airline tags on them, put your boarding pass in your purse. The nexdt morning at disembarkation, you are usually off the ship in the first group after self disembark. Do not have to worry about pushing and pulling the luggage off the ship and through the terminal. In fact, you can skip the entire "find your luggage" in the terminal. On to the airport (there again we may spend a little more and do our own transportation..no cruise ship transfers to the airport for us). Once at the airport, you do not have to check in with the airline and check your bags. After security, go to your gate. Your luggage with be in baggage at your home airport. We save in lots of other ways, no photos, casino, bingo, drinks, etc......but then again, that is our lifestyle at home too. We take both cruise ship and private vendor excursions. We are making memories so we spend what is necessary. We do not eat in the speciality restaurants. We tip above the tips that are added to the shipboard account. We aso watch the pricing and if it drops, we call our TA immediately. At home, we live very modestly and cruise the same way...well, I do have to have my balcony room. It actully comes down to personal preference.

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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

I don't know that I'd necessarily call you a tightwad. Like me, I just don't think you have a lot of desire to buy all that "stuff." I don't buy wine or drink cards or bingo or art or internet services or specialty dining, etc. It's not that I'm trying to save money, I just don't find any of that stuff to be the least bit enticing. If I had zillions of dollars I still wouldn't buy it. If I want a drink at dinner however, I order it without worrying about what it's costing me. If I want a box of chocolates from the gift shop I'll walk down and buy it. And I do book ship excursions (yes, even the expensive small group tours) because for me the convenience is worth the cost. I'm amused by the people who will spend $500 on drinks they won't remember in the morning but they won't spend half that amount to see a spectacular port that will stay in their memory forever. They definately have a different reason for cruising than I do! I save money so that I can spend money. I think that's different than being a tightwad.

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DH and I may try to save in lots of areas, but Luggage Valet/Direct is not one of them. Whenever we can we always use it. Put the bags out the ast night with the airline tags on them, put your boarding pass in your purse. The nexdt morning at disembarkation, you are usually off the ship in the first group after self disembark. Do not have to worry about pushing and pulling the luggage off the ship and through the terminal. In fact, you can skip the entire "find your luggage" in the terminal. On to the airport (there again we may spend a little more and do our own transportation..no cruise ship transfers to the airport for us). Once at the airport, you do not have to check in with the airline and check your bags. After security, go to your gate. Your luggage with be in baggage at your home airport. We save in lots of other ways, no photos, casino, bingo, drinks, etc......but then again, that is our lifestyle at home too. We take both cruise ship and private vendor excursions. We are making memories so we spend what is necessary. We do not eat in the speciality restaurants. We tip above the tips that are added to the shipboard account. We aso watch the pricing and if it drops, we call our TA immediately. At home, we live very modestly and cruise the same way...well, I do have to have my balcony room. It actully comes down to personal preference.

 

Could you elaborate further upon Luggage/Valet/Direct? I have no idea what this is. Do you have to be going directly from the aeroport to the ship? If so this would not be applicable for us this cruise as we are overnighting at both ends. I would still like more information on this. Thanks.

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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." LOL! I guess the ever-increasing gas prices we are paying must be because of the left-wing media. What a joke!

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Snefeles -since politics has already been brought up, I'll just add.... Wasn't the war against Saddam supposed to bring cheap oil to our pumps 4-ever?

 

Cruising is a treat to me. My mortgage is paid up, I'm single and live in a country with solid UHC. I don't scrimp.

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Could you elaborate further upon Luggage/Valet/Direct? I have no idea what this is. Do you have to be going directly from the aeroport to the ship? If so this would not be applicable for us this cruise as we are overnighting at both ends. I would still like more information on this. Thanks.

On the fourth or fifth day of your cruise, you will get information about the luggage direct, EZ Check, etc. Each cruise line has a little different name for it. What this means is that if your flight home is on the same day as you debark the ship and if your flight is after a certain time (11:30..I think). You can pay $30.00 a person for this service. This is in addition to regualr check bag fees by the airline. You complete the documents for this. The last evening of your cruise, you will get your airline tags for the luggage and your boarding pass. Put the airline tags on your luggage and put outside your door. You will not see your luggage again until you are at the baggage claim area of your home airpot. You do not have to search for your luggage at the terminal. You do not have to go to your airline check in counter and check your bags and get your boarding pass. Also we were in the first group to debark the ship after those handling their own luggage. In fact, we were able to whiz past some of those in the terminal and outside getting transportation. Once outside, our prescheduled town car arrived within minutes and we were onn our way to the airport. He took us directly to the entrance for our airline. We just went directly to TSA line and then to our gate. This service is also great if you have a late afternoon flight and want to do a tour. We use it everytime we can. I think the money for the service is well worth it. DH and I are both senior citizens and he has some serious health issues. It would be almost impossible for us to try to take our own luggage off the ship.

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I believe in spending as much as you are comfortable spending. I'm more tight on the booking than I am once I start vacation. I feel like I put the work in ahead of time to save, so once I board, I do whatever I want within reason for my own budget.

 

  • I don't book excursions on the ship.
  • My house isn't fancy enough for any art for sale on a ship but I do sign up to look and drink their champagne anyway.
  • I will treat myself to a spa treatment. In fact, I look forward to it each time.
  • And my DH usually will treat himself to something as well.
  • I drink as much or as little as I want

So long as you have a good time, whatever works for you!

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On the fourth or fifth day of your cruise, you will get information about the luggage direct, EZ Check, etc. Each cruise line has a little different name for it. What this means is that if your flight home is on the same day as you debark the ship and if your flight is after a certain time (11:30..I think). You can pay $30.00 a person for this service. This is in addition to regualr check bag fees by the airline. You complete the documents for this. The last evening of your cruise, you will get your airline tags for the luggage and your boarding pass. Put the airline tags on your luggage and put outside your door. You will not see your luggage again until you are at the baggage claim area of your home airpot. You do not have to search for your luggage at the terminal. You do not have to go to your airline check in counter and check your bags and get your boarding pass. Also we were in the first group to debark the ship after those handling their own luggage. In fact, we were able to whiz past some of those in the terminal and outside getting transportation. Once outside, our prescheduled town car arrived within minutes and we were onn our way to the airport. He took us directly to the entrance for our airline. We just went directly to TSA line and then to our gate. This service is also great if you have a late afternoon flight and want to do a tour. We use it everytime we can. I think the money for the service is well worth it. DH and I are both senior citizens and he has some serious health issues. It would be almost impossible for us to try to take our own luggage off the ship.

 

I always just considered booking an excursion that dropped you & luggage off to airport at the end - if looking for a way to keep sightseeing a bit before a later flight. But this could have really helped me on my last cruise. I can normally deal with my luggage ok but back surgery has changed that temporarily. This really is a great option for those who aren't able to lift & pull all that luggage.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just got back from my first cruise and our bill at the end was under $100 for 2 people (really just tips). We booked an outside snorkeling excursion, brought wine onboard, didn't do any extras on the ship. We did spend about $10 in the casino, but I didn't want to use my card for that, so it kept me from spending more.

I think if you're frugal in life you'll be frugal even on vacation. We had a great time and didn't break the bank. I also found all of my cruise clothes at Goodwill! Spent less than $50 for everything!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think the best way to save money (for me at least) is to not book an excursion through the cruise line. Instead, I buy a travel book for each place we are going to. They help me plan out my time there, and they also serve as a memento for each place I've been to. Also, I don't go crazy in the casino. Maybe $20 a day. We'll usually go to one specialty restaurant per cruise. Neither one of us are big drinkers, so we usually have 2 drinks each per day. (I always laugh at the people who get extremely drunk every day...Don't you want to remember your vacation at all???) For 2 of us, we usually get away with around $500 total on our ship board account for a 7 day cruise.

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I'm more tight on the booking than I am once I start vacation. I feel like I put the work in ahead of time to save, so once I board, I do whatever I want within reason for my own budget.

 

I agree - we work hard all year for this vacation and save and scrimp for 51 weeks. I don't worry once we're on board :D

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