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Welcome to Tightwad Cruising - What Do You Do?


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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.

True - but the luggage/valet direct is not offered by all air-lines and not for all destinations. If you haven't received information on it in the past, there was a reason. I think it works best for US destinations when the cruise was out of Florida or Seattle. I have been told that it won't work for those of us who have to clear customs (non-US passport holders) or have a destination outside the US.

 

It is a great solution for some, and worth the price. Unfortunately, it won't work for all of us

 

-Holly

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  • 2 weeks later...
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!

 

Yes, that sounds like us, except that I only used the hair salon the once....never again ! We were celebrating our 40th Wedding Anniversary aboard P&O Ventura and we were having our vows done aboard. So, as a treat, I had my make-up and hair done. I asked if they used waterproof mascara, was told " No" !!!! And to put it into my husbands words" Your hair looks like the Queen Mother"!!!!! I was horrified as to how they had done it, never said anything to her ( that's an English trait, I'm afraid ! ) and went back to my cabin and did it myself !!!!! Wasn't going to tell OH how much it was , then realized that it would be on our TV for him to see !

 

As for the tips, I agree with some people that we do pay the daily tips as there are other people that we don't see that are working just as hard in making our cruise great.

 

We do buy the coffee card as we get lots of use out of it.

 

We are both retired now so of course have to watch our pennies, but I invigilate several times a year for our University, and recruit for my last company to get my cruises.

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I enjoy the "library" on board. It's never in the same place but on all the cruises I've taken there is a shelf or two of good "beach" books. It also saves space on my carry-on. Books on the airplane are heavy and bulky.

 

The other tight wad tip is to pack light. I find I only need 1/2 the clothes I take. DH and I pack in one bag, then add my daughter's hairdryer and other bulky things-- usually shoes. The Cruise liner doesn't charge for your suitcases on board but the airline we fly does.

 

I mention these two ideas because, my cruise starts when I leave my house. :)

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  • 1 month later...

I am one for saving money but not at the expense of sacrificing anything.

 

I book Trans Atlantic Cruises because they offer the best bang for the buck plus extras that you normally wouldn't get on shorter cruises.

 

I attend the Art Auctions and enjoy the champagne and learning about the art. I take this as an educational experience.

 

I love the specialty restaurants so use the OBC for them. On Royal Caribbean Chops is worth the extra charge in my opinion.

 

I don't go for the specialty coffees as the free coffee, teas, iced teas are good enough but will splurge on special drinks here and there.

 

Find airfare using consolidators I'm willing to save money on tickets I know I will use. If I can get miles awesome if not so what anyways its hard to find award tickets unless its off season.

 

I got a one way airfare on an Airline Consolidator for my upcoming cruise from Brazil to Barcelona from San Francisco for $474. Not only did we save a lot on what American carriers were charging we're flying on AeroMexico, spend a day in Mexico City touring the old city and TAM to Brazil.

 

I found a Mercure Aparthotel in Sao Paulo for $90 with breakfast per night with breakfast. The room has an electric stove. And the hotel has an indoor pool, sauna and fitness center.

 

In Santos I used Hotwire Credits for a $129 room at the Mercure with an outdoor pool, fitness center and sauna.

 

We take the Air Bus from Sao Paulo to a hotel located 10 minutes from our hotel for $15 dollars each+a $10 Taxi Ride. $40 in total vs the $80 a taxi or shuttle would take.

 

In Barcelona i found a 4 star hotel in the L'Example District for $88 per night+$20 in taxes and recovery fees on Hotwire. Again we know our dates and we're saving as other hotels were $130+ per night.

 

We will take the AirBus at $6 per person back to Barcelona Airport.

 

I love going to local restaurants off a square by a church and enjoy a good meal with a carafe of house wine for $15 for 2. If you hear locals speaking the language and its crowded you know your at a good place. Always take the daily special price fixed menu or look for other specials.

 

 

I also enjoy picnics so you can go to a local market pick up good bread, cheeses meats olives and dessert with a bottle of wine for 15 dollars and pick a nice place to picnic.

 

In the Azores we bought some delicious bread, local cheeses, Wine and cookies and enjoyed a picnic overlooking the port and we saw ships coming in and enjoyed the view.

 

In the Canary Islands when we went on a ship shore excursion during the free time we found a nice restaurant off the square by the church and had a great lunch.

 

You can really turn the shopping free time the cruise lines give you to go and find a nice restaurant and save.

 

In Livorno this past April I walked around the town on my own. Had a nice espresso in the local indoor market for 2 euros. Sitting at the espresso bar was fun while watching the locals.

 

Then I found this pizza place offering a 10 percent discount to the crew and passengers of our cruise ship. I got an excellent 4 cheese pizza and a carafe of wine for 10 euros which included tip.

 

Saving money by eating locally is fun and economical.

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I am one for saving money but not at the expense of sacrificing anything.

 

I book Trans Atlantic Cruises because they offer the best bang for the buck plus extras that you normally wouldn't get on shorter cruises.

 

I attend the Art Auctions and enjoy the champagne and learning about the art. I take this as an educational experience.

 

I love the specialty restaurants so use the OBC for them. On Royal Caribbean Chops is worth the extra charge in my opinion.

 

I don't go for the specialty coffees as the free coffee, teas, iced teas are good enough but will splurge on special drinks here and there.

 

Find airfare using consolidators I'm willing to save money on tickets I know I will use. If I can get miles awesome if not so what anyways its hard to find award tickets unless its off season.

 

I got a one way airfare on an Airline Consolidator for my upcoming cruise from Brazil to Barcelona from San Francisco for $474. Not only did we save a lot on what American carriers were charging we're flying on AeroMexico, spend a day in Mexico City touring the old city and TAM to Brazil.

 

I found a Mercure Aparthotel in Sao Paulo for $90 with breakfast per night with breakfast. The room has an electric stove. And the hotel has an indoor pool, sauna and fitness center.

 

In Santos I used Hotwire Credits for a $129 room at the Mercure with an outdoor pool, fitness center and sauna.

 

We take the Air Bus from Sao Paulo to a hotel located 10 minutes from our hotel for $15 dollars each+a $10 Taxi Ride. $40 in total vs the $80 a taxi or shuttle would take.

 

In Barcelona i found a 4 star hotel in the L'Example District for $88 per night+$20 in taxes and recovery fees on Hotwire. Again we know our dates and we're saving as other hotels were $130+ per night.

 

We will take the AirBus at $6 per person back to Barcelona Airport.

 

I love going to local restaurants off a square by a church and enjoy a good meal with a carafe of house wine for $15 for 2. If you hear locals speaking the language and its crowded you know your at a good place. Always take the daily special price fixed menu or look for other specials.

 

 

I also enjoy picnics so you can go to a local market pick up good bread, cheeses meats olives and dessert with a bottle of wine for 15 dollars and pick a nice place to picnic.

 

In the Azores we bought some delicious bread, local cheeses, Wine and cookies and enjoyed a picnic overlooking the port and we saw ships coming in and enjoyed the view.

 

In the Canary Islands when we went on a ship shore excursion during the free time we found a nice restaurant off the square by the church and had a great lunch.

 

You can really turn the shopping free time the cruise lines give you to go and find a nice restaurant and save.

 

In Livorno this past April I walked around the town on my own. Had a nice espresso in the local indoor market for 2 euros. Sitting at the espresso bar was fun while watching the locals.

 

Then I found this pizza place offering a 10 percent discount to the crew and passengers of our cruise ship. I got an excellent 4 cheese pizza and a carafe of wine for 10 euros which included tip.

 

Saving money by eating locally is fun and economical.

 

Great suggestions!!!

What airline consolidator did you use? I often look at these transatlantic sailings, but I never can find decent air fares. Do you have names of any other airline consolidators you've used? Any other tips for selecting and planning the transatlantic sailings would be appreciated.

I've used many of your above tips.....like you, I consider myself a "traveler" rather than a tourist. I enjoy mingling with the locals and try to experience life as the live it as much as possible. Getting off the tourist path, as well taking local transportation, is a way of adding to that experience.

If there is a reason you can't post this info. on C.C., I will give you an email if you'd be willing to take the time to forward it by email.

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To find a great deal on one way fares I would suggest checking skyscanner.com and check them throughout the week because prices change.

 

We didn't do a transatlantic. For our Baltic Cruise we disembarked 1 port early starting in Stockholm and disembarking in Riga Latvia. We ended up booking 3 one way fares at a very reasonable price last June. We also stopped in Iceland before the cruise. Our flights were Cleveland OH to Keflavik Iceland, Keflavik Iceland to Stockholm, Sweden and Riga, Latvia to Cleveland OH. The total price was around $1250, which is comparable to a roundtrip ticket at that time of the year.

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To find a great deal on one way fares I would suggest checking skyscanner.com and check them throughout the week because prices change.

 

We didn't do a transatlantic. For our Baltic Cruise we disembarked 1 port early starting in Stockholm and disembarking in Riga Latvia. We ended up booking 3 one way fares at a very reasonable price last June. We also stopped in Iceland before the cruise. Our flights were Cleveland OH to Keflavik Iceland, Keflavik Iceland to Stockholm, Sweden and Riga, Latvia to Cleveland OH. The total price was around $1250, which is comparable to a roundtrip ticket at that time of the year.

 

Thank you for the info.

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I used Airvalues.com and they were true to their word. Try them out if you are willing to have restrictions on your tickets and can commit to your dates.

 

There is a slight chance your fare may not be available but they do let you know either way.

 

You get a confirmation of your purchase right away and then within 24 hours you do get your Eticket(if the airline has E-Ticketing which most of them do) and Ticket Number. Call your airline right away and confirm the information and assign seats and add frequent flyer numbers.

 

Good luck and Happy Savings(:

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We have a list of cruises that we want to do. We do them based on getting a very attractive fare. We get to the point where we understand what is a good fare, what is our 'target' fare, and then we keep checking.

 

Usually we keep an eye two ships, sometimes three on a given itinerary. We typically end up book inside the cancellation window, and always a balcony. Sometimes the target price only hits for a day or so and is gone.

 

We booked a 14 day Caribbean cruise over Christmas this week. We had a target price of as close to $100-110./day, inclusive of taxes, for a balcony. We were watching HAL, Celebrity, and Princess. Our number hit so we booked. And we book with a good on line agent and typically get an OBC that just about covers our gratuities. This is how we have done our last three Med cruises.

 

We do the same with independent land trips. It works for us because we are both retired and can spend the time on it. Delaying our South Africa land trip by a year resulted in a savings of 20 percent simply because of currency fluctuations. Same for a recent Greece and Turkey trip. The time to go is when demand is down and your home currency is strong vis a vis the country you are travelling to.

Edited by iancal
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  • 2 weeks later...

Everyone likes to do things differently. We are cheap. And what those that aren't might not understand is that it actually makes us happy. We don't miss out, we just do things differently and enjoy the heck out of it and in the end when my S&S said $0 after gratuities I was thrilled and I had a great time! I did buy a few thing in port, trinkets and did a couple of tours but not drinking is a big saver, thank goodness we don't enjoy it. We could have a bar bill that would pay for a second cruise!

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  • 2 weeks later...

We save for a year or two and only bite on embarkation ports where we have friends (Galveston/Long Beach/Tampa), this way we save on hotel and fees getting to port.

 

These cruises are for 7 days with a few days on each end to visit friends, so we make it 10 days. We cruise as 3, wife, dd and me. We carry on all luggage to avoid plane baggage fees and porter tips at port. Pack very light re-wearing shirts and pants twice to avoid laundering on ship. We don't do MDR, so no dress up is needed.

 

We drink in port only to avoid crazy ship alcohol prices

 

Save tips by never ordering room service, just not needed.

 

We don't gamble

 

Port days we wander around visiting museums, hiking trails visiting schools or orphanages and self-explore avoiding excursion costs for the most part.

 

We cap our trips at about 1200 for 3 tickets with taxes and fees included, figuring 6-800 for plane tickets and gas for the 6 hour drive to the airport. Total 2k for the 3 of us, few hundred for port expenses, gratuity etc...

 

That;s how we roll

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  • 4 months later...

How do you save on Transportation to and from PORT? any of you do local transport instead of taxis? do you share taxis with others you have met?

 

What other tips for trasportation?

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but we tend to cruise on the cheap. We search for off-season or repositioning cruises 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 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.

 

so can you elaborate how you aquire these on board Credits? I don't yet have Carnival Stock. But I am Frugal by nature and enjoy simply cruising and being on the water So if i am frugal, then I can cruise more. How do you get the OBC?

ANYONE??

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You can shop different travel agents - some offer a price that is no higher than the cruiseline but offers perks like on board credit or them paying gratuities.

 

Be careful to find out their policies before switching the booking to them. Some will charge for each & every small change (making it useless to ask them to drop the price of the cruise if it has come down a small amount), some charge a fee if you cancel, and I think all will reduce the size of the OBC they have given you if they need to reduce the cruise fare to match a price drop.

 

Other ways besides shareholder credit - some credit cards will offer OBC for points you have racked up. Barclay card will for carnival, and they give double points for any carnival related charges you make. Sometimes a bonus of several thousand points with your first purchase. Only a good deal though if you pay off your card monthly - the interest will far outweigh any OBC you earn. Unless you get a zero interest promotion.

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Less than two weeks away from my first cruise, so I don't know how this plan will hold up, but current intentions:

 

I'm not really a drinker, so I'll just stay away from the alcoholic options . . . but get a premium nonalcoholic package so I can have all the fancy coffees I want (and hey, it costs less than two martinis a day).

 

If I acknowledge the art auctions, it'll just be to look, not interested in buying.

 

Not planning on going to the casino at all.

 

Not getting the laundry service -- hey, one advantage of being an overpacker!

 

Going internet-free for the duration; saves money and annoyance at the spotty service (though I'll binge on the hotel's free wifi on the way back).

 

Might hit the spa for a treatment or two; none in my area so it sounds like a nice treat.

 

I'll browse the gift shops, both on the ship and on shore, but mostly just to grab a few things for friends back home.

 

And from what I've seen on the site there's only one excursion that really caught my eye, which sounds like it'll be cheaper than getting a taxi.

 

Probably won't get any pictures.

 

Might go for specialty dining once; Qsine sounds amazing to at least try once.

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@triana m we've researched the to the port transportation a bit and here is what we've done. We usually fly in night before do we make sure our hotel choice includes airport to hotel and hotel to port complimentary shuttle! In return our flight was much later so did an excursion that dropped us off back at the airport! Cost about 10 dollars more per person but we had an excursion and the transportation right to our terminal! And we have shared a taxi as well

 

 

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Hi Guys,

 

I have found and used a new website which tracks the price of cruises free of charge:

 

CruisePriceTracker,com

 

Not only did the site save me checking the price of my preferred sailing on a daily basis it also saved me a few hundred Dollars which I enjoyed spending onboard at the Crown Grill on my recent Caribbean cruise

 

Hope this helps

 

 

 

 

We have a list of cruises that we want to do. We do them based on getting a very attractive fare. We get to the point where we understand what is a good fare, what is our 'target' fare, and then we keep checking.

 

Usually we keep an eye two ships, sometimes three on a given itinerary. We typically end up book inside the cancellation window, and always a balcony. Sometimes the target price only hits for a day or so and is gone.

 

We booked a 14 day Caribbean cruise over Christmas this week. We had a target price of as close to $100-110./day, inclusive of taxes, for a balcony. We were watching HAL, Celebrity, and Princess. Our number hit so we booked. And we book with a good on line agent and typically get an OBC that just about covers our gratuities. This is how we have done our last three Med cruises.

 

We do the same with independent land trips. It works for us because we are both retired and can spend the time on it. Delaying our South Africa land trip by a year resulted in a savings of 20 percent simply because of currency fluctuations. Same for a recent Greece and Turkey trip. The time to go is when demand is down and your home currency is strong vis a vis the country you are travelling to.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks everyone for the great tips! Here is my list (sadly learned most due to rookie moves) of things I won't spend $$ on anymore:

 

Spa-waste of money..overpriced (unless you can get a deal) and the quality isnt as good as your regular masseuse...those therapists have no incentive..not like you will be a repeat customer on a typical 7 day cruise

 

Drink Package-It makes you overdrink beverages (too much pop, juice, and beer is bad for you). Just buy when you want it.

 

Plan ahead and book/do your own thing at port

 

Avoid art auctions

 

If you need cash dont use the ATM, get it in the casino, charge to your cc will be as a purchase instead of atm or cash advance

 

I'll say it again... Just plan ahead ! :-). Dont be afraid to ask for a lower price :-)

 

 

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Living in Florida we have access to all sorts of last minute deals.

We save money on everything we can:

Inside cabins ( unless we are offered a very cheap upgrade)

Parking (never at the port) In Tampa we paid $3 a day.

Excursions and Ports ( we use to book through the cruise line, but now we free style it and with help of these boards we can really find cool things to do)

Shopping ( we do very little, and last cruise we actually shopped on Amazon while in port after we priced what we looking for ) I do buy duty free liquor.

Drinking ( Not huge drinkers but we snuggle on a some rum and vodka and make our own drinks with the juice from the buffet) My DW does enjoy a few beers

Pictures ( We rarely buy one, we did last cruise as it was our 10th anniversary)

Wifi (never on board, free in ports, I actually prefer finding an internet cafe and paying the $5 for some time on a real computer)

Gambling ( We play penny slots and limit ourselves, we normally break even)

ABSOLUTELY NO BINGO ( I realized on our 1st 5 cruises, it was our biggest

expense on our folio and we never won)

My last 7 day cruise on the Epic for 2 , we spent a total of $1200 including the cruise and we splurged a bit more than normal. We didn't deny ourselves anything and we can afford another cruise fairly soon again.

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I go on vacation to be on vacation and not worry too much about the money. Last cruise I did get a special massage tip included $140. We ate in two specialty restaurants that was worth the extra money but mostly ate in the main dining room. Because I gamble that is where most of my money goes that is what I enjoy I don't drink although I did get a complimentary drink card in the casino so I did enjoy a few pina coladas the drink card came in very handy for my sister-in-law who does drink total drinks that she had was 35 drinks on a weeklong cruise that saved her a bunch of money. Because I did gamble on my last cruise I was able to book my next cruise rather cheaply. I booked a three-day getaway on the Pearl and am really splurging on getting the penthouse suite but it is for an incredible price for two of us the total for this cabin is only $1200. I could've got a complementary balcony cabin and paid only port charges and taxes but hey I'm on vacation and I'm going to splurge because the price is right I will also get drink cards for the casino again but this time bring my hubby who does drink it will be well worth it for him

Edited by GeriC
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Great topic! I'm very frugal on a cruise. I don't like to waste money on stuff I don't need. I'd rather cruise kore often then spend tons of money on the ship. I can get away with not spending more than $100 on a cruise (besides tips). No massages, no gambling, minimal drinking, walking my shore excursions, little to no up charge restaurant dining, no shopping, no pictures (that's the biggest rip off IMO). I go on the cruise to relax and enjoy what I've already paid for. Some people feel it won't be as fun if you can't spend how you want to on vacation. I can have just as much fun and talk safe a ton of $$.

 

 

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Before you even get on the cruise, there are ways to save money....I posted on my blog, how to cruise on a budget. Take a look if you like.

http://karanandmichael.blogspot.com/2014/03/traveling-on-budget.html

Hope it helps...

 

 

I like your blog intro to budget cruising. Thanks for the link.

Hope you and your family had fun cruising.

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  • 2 months later...

Drink Package-It makes you overdrink beverages (too much pop, juice, and beer is bad for you). Just buy when you want it.

 

I never buy the pop package as it's watered down. For less than the average day cost I'll buy the tinned instead.

 

On Princess, I do buy the coffee card. Works out to half the cost of a Starbuck's Frappaccino and unlimited freshly ground coffee that tastes a heck of a lot better than reconstituted syrup coffee they serve everywhere else onboard.

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