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All in all we plan to have a blast and hope we do not get to addicted to cruising.:D

 

 

Oh you will be!! Not to mention cruise critic itself. I should be spending my time planning my wedding....but instead I'm spending more time planning my honeymoon and on these boards! !:eek: :D Definately addicting.

 

I wish you an amazing cruising experience!!

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We have not gone yet but when we do in October we have budgeted $1200.00 which the generous Government sent us. Our cruise cost us $129.00 exchange fee from our Worldmark membership points we had. Our flight was free because we gave up our seats on a trip to Mexico last year and received two round trip tickets to any where they flew in the Continental U.S. (arrived in Mexico about three hours late). We will probably come home with some money but if we spend more it will still be an inexpensive cruise. We have budgeted $10.00 each for the casino daily since my wife can't be near a casino without trying the slots. Hope they have the penny ones. I only wish the had holdem poker games. All in all we plan to have a blast and hope we do not get to addicted to cruising.:D

 

Hello,

 

Most likely , you will become addicted to cruising. There are several reasons for this, none of which involves spending money. Have you ever seen a moonbeam on an ocean at night, or a sunset where you have a 180 degree view of the sky? How about a laugh and a smile with young people from all over the world? Or maybe see a show with an entertainer whose show you really enjoy and he or she will stop and chat with you. Maybe you like to go for long walks...with the wind at your back as you walk around the ship. You might meet someone from a very different part of the country or the world than Idaho (my DW and I going to Sun Valley on 6/8/2008), that you enjoy talking with. And then there is romance...get dressed up a bit and have a very nice dinner on formal night and so on.

 

As a first time cruiser, it is very important that you arrive at your port of departure at least the day before, or even two days as you are going on your cruise in late October. Have a back up plan if your flights are cancelled.

 

Do not hesitate with any questions, no matter how unimportant or trivial they may seem to you.

 

Have a great time (I am sure that you will).

 

Fred

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Re: "Frugal" cruising.

 

I spent 2 days this week working myself into a frenzy trying to find the BEST deal on a cruise we'd already booked. I found an online TA who would give us a $50 OBC, and a bottle of wine. OMG, I need to change our reservations. But I've booked the perfect set of cabins for those who are travelling. Oh crud, what can I do? Yup, lay awake all night worrying. That's the best thing to do. Oh, what to do? Lose the perfect set of cabins and re-book, and get us a $50 OBC and a bottle of wine? Keep the cabins, knowing I've not gotten the "best" deal? ARRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!

 

Decision: do NOT make myself crazy worrying about "missing out". When I first booked, I was happy/delighted with the cabin arrangements and the costs. So why aren't I happy now? 'Cuz I decided to make myself crazy. A good night's sleep has WAY more value than a $50 OBC.

 

We are frugal by nature and necessity. We don't drink a lot onboard, but we choose tours that matter to us, regardless of cost. We hit the casino once or twice (slots) and blow $10 or $20 on the entire cruise for gambling. We don't buy souvenirs or photos, and don't shop the onboard ships. To cover the "lost" $50 OBC and bottle of wine :) we'll have a few vegetarian meals at home, instead of going out for dinner. And I'll sleep through the night, not worrying about the "best deal" -- sometimes it just isn't worth the price I'd have to pay.

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What a great topic! I find myself that it is possible to be TOO frugal... I hem and haw over every single trip, researching (through these boards, often!) to make sure I'm getting the best deal. I'm such a cheapskate, and it is difficult to let go sometimes and just enjoy the trip.

 

On board, again, there is an issue of sticker shock, as the cruise lines do appear to be trying to make their money through extra services and drinks... so we, like almost everyone else in this thread, avoid those. I hear Celebrity has good spa specials, so I'm going to see if I can loosen my pocketbook just enough to try one of those. Also I hear that if you get on board early, you can volunteer to be a model in the spa and get a treatment for free!

 

I'm also planning on bringing my own bottled water onto the Millenium in case the water quality is poor.

 

We're booking out excursions outside the cruise line - a helicopter tour of Mendenhall glacier costs $280 offered by the cruise ship, and same exact tour is $250-ish if booked directly from the tour operator. (this being said, we decided we were too cheap to book it at all and decided to just hike at Mendenhall. :D )

 

-Karyn

 

p.s. good to learn from ChevyCruiser that the high gas prices are just a figment of left-wing imagination - so that means I can get back my $8/day fuel surcharge from Celebrity?? ;)

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i can also do all of the above plus walk right through the casino without dropping a coin. we have 3 gambling boats within 30 miles of where i live. if i want to throw my money away i can do it on one of them. doing other things on the cruise is more important to me.

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ktcruiser: you are correct! if you board early enough and head to the spa you can ask if they are giving any demonstrations and if they need "models." I happened upon this on the Mariner of the Seas.. I was just wandering into the spa and it was early and the ladies asked me if I would like to be the demonstration model for the $200 Ionithermie "cellulite reducing treatment" (for free). Heck yeah! I had the treatment and laid on a table wrapped in towels and they paraded some tour groups by... did it work? I have to say that I was glad that I did it because I didn't see/feel any difference and was happy that it was not my $200 that I spent!!!

 

I have also seen folks "model" for tooth whitening sessions and chair massages -- all for free (if you are ok being part of the sales pitch). It's actually kind of fun, and not something I'd do on dry land, but something about being on a cruise makes you loosen your tightly wound self a bit :rolleyes:

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We're booking out excursions outside the cruise line - a helicopter tour of Mendenhall glacier costs $280 offered by the cruise ship, and same exact tour is $250-ish if booked directly from the tour operator. (this being said, we decided we were too cheap to book it at all and decided to just hike at Mendenhall. :D )

 

I have always thought that the extra cost is worth the insurance of not being left behind if the tour runs a little over

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I have always thought that the extra cost is worth the insurance of not being left behind if the tour runs a little over
I hate ship's excursions, but it has more to do with the large crowds and barely-hidden sales agenda than with the cost. If the choice were to go on a ship's excursion or just walk around in the shops by the port a bit, I'd never go on an excursion! I really dislike the ship's excursions that much.

 

I do research our private excursion plans carefully to make sure they're safe choices, and I don't cut it too close getting back to the ship on time. We've never had a minute's trouble.

 

I'm always surprised at how many people seem to be afraid to do anything except a ship's excursion -- it just makes no sense to me. On our last cruise, our table mates had a particularly horrible ship's excursion to some Mayan ruins; the mom had looked forward to that excursion more than anything else on the whole trip, and it turned out to be horrible from the get-go. They talked about crowds, poor tour guides, and a bus driver who refused to turn off the air conditioning even though everyone on the bus'd been soaked in the road. And to add insult to injury they'd paid $$$$ for their family of five to take that trip! They were amazed that we'd paid about half what they did, and we rode ATVs through the jungle and saw several less-impressive ruins. We were rained on too, but because we were "on our own", we were able to cut out our stop at the beach and head back to the ship a little earlier. We felt awful for that poor family!

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Hello,

 

The previous poster raises some excellent points about ship excursions. However, there are some excellent ones and there are some very bad ones, and you need to do your research very carefully as to what you want to see and do, and whether you can afford the ship's tour. There are two advantages to a ship's excursion, First, the tour starts right at the ship's pier, which means that you do not have to look for taxis or walk considerable distances to get out of ports. Secondly, there is a guarantee that you will not miss the ship. And based on our experience many guides who provide ship tours are excellent.

 

Inexperienced travelers, disabled , some older persons, and people who simply are not comfortable touring foreign places by themselves have no alternative but to use a ship's tour.

 

In terms of saving money (the main purpose of this post) my DW and I will do our research. Is it possible to walk into the city from the ship. You can do this in Alicante and Malaga Spain. Does the ship provide a free shuttle such as in Dubrovnick? Are trains reliable such as in Ireland and Scotland, from Cobh to Cork or Rossiyth to Edinburgh? We always use public transportation (Fiji, Sydney, London, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Malaga, Venice, Milan and others).

 

Generally though we have found that the best use of our time and money, is to use the bus transportation provided by the ship to the center of a city such as from Cadiz to Seville or Marseille to Aix en Provence, and then go on our own. This is usually very reasonably priced with the guarantee that we get back to the ship.

 

Hope that this helps.

 

Fred

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What a great topic! I find myself that it is possible to be TOO frugal... I hem and haw over every single trip, researching (through these boards, often!) to make sure I'm getting the best deal. I'm such a cheapskate, and it is difficult to let go sometimes and just enjoy the trip.

 

On board, again, there is an issue of sticker shock, as the cruise lines do appear to be trying to make their money through extra services and drinks... so we, like almost everyone else in this thread, avoid those. I hear Celebrity has good spa specials, so I'm going to see if I can loosen my pocketbook just enough to try one of those. Also I hear that if you get on board early, you can volunteer to be a model in the spa and get a treatment for free!

 

I'm also planning on bringing my own bottled water onto the Millenium in case the water quality is poor.

 

We're booking out excursions outside the cruise line - a helicopter tour of Mendenhall glacier costs $280 offered by the cruise ship, and same exact tour is $250-ish if booked directly from the tour operator. (this being said, we decided we were too cheap to book it at all and decided to just hike at Mendenhall. :D )

 

-Karyn

 

p.s. good to learn from ChevyCruiser that the high gas prices are just a figment of left-wing imagination - so that means I can get back my $8/day fuel surcharge from Celebrity?? ;)

 

Just a side note - ask how the ship gets their water. Some ships load water from dockside at some ports. But most of the time, ships will desalinate their own water. If the water is desalinated, it will be absolutely pure, with no chemicals or taste. I would never bring water on board - just a couple of bottles to fill.

 

I like to do all the research before I go - not so much to save money, although often that is one of the results. I've been doing this kind of research LONG before we went on cruises, and also long before the internet. I used to write up trips and what to look for and what to buy for my parents when they traveled in the 60s (especially for guided bus tours), and for my husband when the Navy took him off to some exotic port.

 

I do this both because it is fun for me, and also so that when something happens (as it inevitably will), I can present to my husband some alternative possibilities.

 

This applies to the ship tours. Sometimes I take them, and sometimes I don't. I know that I could probably do most of what they offer on my own for a little less. The question is - will it be better in all ways. Will I not only save money, but be able to do more of the things I want to do, or will it be just additional hassle for no additional benefit.

 

Two examples:

First Example - taking the ships's tour

 

On St. Kitts they offered a train tour of the island. It was quite a bit more expensive than I would normally pay for a tour but it looked really good to me. Some people that waited to book because the train didn't always run (being broken down) couldn't get places on the tour because they waited too late. I really loved the tour. I found later that I could have booked this tour on my own and it would have been maybe 10% less, but I probably wouldn't have had the pier pick-up and delivery back to the pier AND we got back on this tour QUITE late. I wrote:

 

The gangway was to be pulled at 5:30 for a 6 pm sailing, so Bob was chivying me along saying that I would be left ashore. I was walking onto the gangplank at 5:30, but I was far from the last person to board. We pulled away from the dock less than a half an hour later.

 

So it CAN happen that a tour would get back late.

Second example: Going on our own

 

In Rome, most people take the train from the port into the city. Many of the tours that were offered involved a lot of walking, which I didn't think I could do. The Naples stop was about the same - you could take a train to Pompeii or a ship's tour. The option the cruise offered were tours which were 9 hours and $175 each (including lunch). A private car from the ship was $750.00 for a half day The ships tour was too long and they went to Pompeii last in Naples, and the private car was too expensive.

 

So I did the research and got a private car and driver for with an English speaking driver for two people for a full day in both ports for $1345.00 total price (double the time of the $750 ship's car). In Rome we went to the Vatican and saw the Sistine Chapel, and the Colliseum and the guide took us to several lesser known but extremely interesting sites. In Naples we went to Pompeii first while it was cool and before a lot of people got there, and then drove down the Amalfi Drive. [We did pay admissions separately and also for lunch.] The driver picked us up at the ship and dropped us off in plenty of time.

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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 -

 

 

You mean oil isn't up to $125. a barrel, the DOW didn't plunge 400 points yesterday and the unemployment rate isn't the highest it's been in 20+ years?

Gee, thanks for setting us all straight with your purely unbiased POV that it's all obviously a plot by the Commie/left-wing run airlines and cruiseships to raise prices. :eek:

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We're not cheapo's when we cruise, we budget so we can enjoy our vacation.

 

To us, it's not a vacation if we only drink the plonk....errr, the wine/sparkling wine that's given out for free, or if we don't buy a nice photo.

 

That said, we're not junk buyers and I don't need more dust collecters in the house. I collect 'fridge magnets, so that's my one gift shop splurge. I'd never wear an ill fitting cheap tee shirt advertising someone else's product so don't see a need to buy those for me or anyone near and dear to me. I live in NYC and there's no shortage of cheap watches or junk jewelry. I don't buy it at home, so no need to buy it aboard ship! LOL!

 

We enjoy buying a few photo's and wait til the end of the cruise to pick out the ones we like the best. We've never regretted buying them years later, even if they do only live in the desk drawer.

 

We're not big drinkers and those mixed cocktails are so fattening, we stay away from them for that reason. But then we stay away from afternoon high tea (which has no extra charge) for the same reason.

 

We don't go to the specialty restaurants or for "premium" ice cream, that have an extra charge because it's our own little protest that cruise fares should be all inclusive when it comes to food. I resent the idea of better food for a charge and fear it will bring down the quality of main dining room dining if more and more people support it. On the other hand, I wish that caviar were offered for an extra charge in the main dining room, or at a classy bar. One ship we went on years ago offered that and we splurged on it a few times along with some nice bubbly. I'd never expect a ship to give it away free. When I see people pigging it up with extra lobsters ("cause it's free!") I cringe. I can only imagine what this kind would do w/ complimentary caviar!

 

Spa treatments are overpriced. I'd never get a manicure or pedicure aboard ship. However, I sometimes treat myself to a facial or a massage if I'm in the mood.

 

As far as excursions, we prefer not to travel with mass crowds or go on "get back on the bus" tours. Sometimes that means we spend less (such as a local bus or taxi) and sometimes it means we spend more (private tour guide). It depends on where we are traveling to. We let our personal preferences guide us, not our pocketbook. For example, in St. Petersburg Russia, we spent a lot more for four of us to hire a private guide. But on a carribbean island, we took a cheap taxi to an acquarium, not the ships overpriced bus ride. But again, the decision was based on our personal travel preference for comfort, not because we wanted to save a few bucks.

 

And we always budget to tip the ships staff well.

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We always purchase our cruise from an on line TA using cruise compete. We keep a sharp eye out for price decreases prior to final payment and we never make final payment until the day that it is due. We NEVER use cruise line pre/post hotels or cruise line tranfers (cost and convenience). We seldom use cruise line excursions-mainly due to quality but the price is usually much less. We never use cruise line air for NA based cruises. We use Priceline or Hotwire to book 3 or 4 star rooms. The monies we save by doing this pay for our pre cruise holiday.

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Chevycruiser.

 

Sounds like you save a little money by not buying a news paper and keep up with the news. At least watch FOX News which will make you feel good. Even they admit to a little down turn in the economy and some small fuel increases the last year. Must be some reason the left leaning cruise lines adding the fuel charges

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We work hard so we vacation/play even harder.

 

There is no way we would be frugal or cheap while vacationing. We will NOT question what we purchase, eat or drink. We will not be bored to save a few bucks by missing bingo or avoiding the casino. We will also continue to dine in the specialty restaurants.

 

###

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We work hard so we vacation/play even harder.

 

There is no way we would be frugal or cheap while vacationing. We will NOT question what we purchase, eat or drink. We will not be bored to save a few bucks by missing bingo or avoiding the casino. We will also continue to dine in the specialty restaurants.

 

###

 

We are retired - so not working. Playing hard is not an option for us anymore. We think the casino is boring, and playing bingo is for old people.:p

 

We WILL be careful what we purchase, eat or drink because we want to get value for our money, and we don't equate spending money with having a good time.

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5. We're not gamblers so we look for money in the casino! When people have had just a little too much to drink, they'll leave spare change in the slot machine trays and more often credits on the machines!

 

:D :D :D ROTFLMAO

 

I love this.

 

I don't understand why cruisers who aren't interested in finding new ways to cut back on expenses would read a thread like this. I have gotten some great info.

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I agree that you can be a tightwad cruiser and not be a tightwad. I wish the people who love their balconies and uncontrolled spending would not reply to these boards.

 

We don't spend money on liquor, but we don't drink. If my husband wants an occasional drink, he buys one but we do not need drinks to have a good time. Then again we don't eat lunch even though it is free. Nor do we ever order 2 lobsters. We also don't gain weight and I usually lose weight from the walking.

 

We never take cruise transfers. Why pay so much when you can pay the same amount for a limo or taxi. I've read too many horror stories. I like to watch my luggage until it is loaded into the bin.

 

I book my own flights because I will only fly direct and it is usually cheaper (since we live in NJ). I don't have to worry about my luggage or missed connections or being given a 5:00 p.m. flight for a cruise that docks at 5 a.m. I can choose my seats. We usually come in a day early and it is still cheaper than cruise line arrangements.

 

We don't get a balcony because we don't use it. We found that out the one time we did take a balcony. We love to have an early breakfast in the buffet. We are usually there early enough to get a window seat and sit at a table and enjoy our meal. We have no interest in eating on the little veranda tables. We love to experience sailaways from the deck where we can run from one side of the ship to the other. We also usually experience arrivals while eating breakfast while others are sleeping. Do you love an aft balcony. We have the large aft balcony behind the buffet dining room to use for free.

 

We don't gamble, but if we did it would not be on a cruise ship. We live in NJ close enough to the casinos to visit a few times a year. We spend most of that time on the boardwalk or at dinner and a show.

 

We don't take excursions if we can avoid them. My husband hates the half hour bathroom stops at a giftshop. We also never buy any more knick knacks and the tour buses usually include some shopping stops. I hate to waste my valuable time shopping. Also, we are very prompt and we don't like the rude people who ruin our day by getting back late.

 

I don't like spa services. I've had a few massages and I don't like paying someone to give me a sales pitch. On the other hand, I love the whirlpools. Lucky me!

 

I do like to spend some time in the fitness center, but best of all is a long walk around the outside decks. We might participate in a few of the sports activities like miniature golf or ping pong because we like doing that more than playing bingo.

 

This is a no brainer, we love the lectures and the bridge games when available. We try not to miss these. The lectures are free and you get a preview of the ports you will visit in a nice relaxed atmosphere, not huddled around a tour guide on an excursion with 40 other people.

 

I love doing the research, just as I spend time answering questions on cruise critics. It extends my vacation for months while saving me money. If you think having a wonderful day experiencing a city on foot or tram or a beach on your own is tightwad spending, call it what you want. Someday, if we cannot do the cities on our own, we will take the excursions.

 

I buy cruise insurance because I make my own travel and tour plans. But my insurance is cheaper because I am in an inside room. I usually under insure and not over insure. No need to insure the flights & hotel room if I book them myself.

 

Enjoy your cruise and do the things that you really like. But if you cannot afford everything and you have to choose between taking the cruise and watching your money or not taking the cruise because you can't afford a huge sea pass bill, I would think about cutting out some of the expensive extras and taking the cruise. You might be surprised how much you enjoy some of the less expensive experiences. I'll see you at the rail as we sail away.

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Hello,

 

Most likely , you will become addicted to cruising.

 

Fred, we will be arriving in Miami one day ahead of our cruise. We arrive at 8:00 AM Friday and cruise at 4:00 PM Saturday. I appreciate your comments. We look forward to leaving Idaho behind and enjoying this first cruise. Enjoy Sun Valley. I have spent a great deal of time there in the past before I retired from the company I worked for.

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Hi! We' ve been cruising for years. Due to family size each trip we must purchase 2 cabins, family of 5. Every time I try to have onboard credits available. This last cruise for our oldest sons' graduation we were able to take a friend and due to onboard credits we could enjoy everything we wanted. It is cheaper for us to buy a coke when we want one than the package. sometime it is definately better to calculate what you would spend daily. I think we spent about 28 to 30 dollars between the five up for 7 days for sodas this is less than a child's portion on the prepaid plan. I did pick up a couple of sodas in port but it is much more economical than the soda plan.

 

Chose wisely, plan ahead, definately try to find onboard credits and have a great time!

 

Renee

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What a joke.

 

What does this mean??? I for one think this is a great thread. we will be going on our first cruise in August and I have been budgeting and re-budgeting. by time the cruise gets here I will definately need it. Well keep up the good ideas and happy sailing to all.

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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.

 

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

 

I learned my lesson from my first cruise and have managed to go three cruises in a row with a zero sail and sign card balance at the end of the cruise. One time I had a $8 charge at the end of the week - a far cry from the first cruise!

 

1. I bring a fridge pack of soft drinks with me and a few bottles of water.

2. I play the Trivia Game whenever possible. I've been fortunate to win six bottles of champagne.

3. Get the drinks at the past guest party and cocktail party on formal night.

4. Save on beer by buying the $1 beers in Cozumel.

5.Book excursions with the independent vendors instead of Carnival.

6. Remember that they will stick a Carnival logo on anything that doesn't move and try to sell it. Like Nancy Reagan said, "Just Say No" :D ...

7. Avoid picture taking, art auctions, bingo and lottery tickets.

 

Tightwad? I guess I am....

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Wow, I did/didn't do a lot of the items you listed for fear that I would have an enormous bill at cruise end and had a MARVELOUS time! As a first time cruiser I had a budget and whether on vacation or not the word budget was singing in my head :)

I did get a pedicure/manicure the near the end - there was a great special offered so I couldn't refuse

I didn't buy many specialty drinks... maybe two the entire cruise

I didn't need the drink card... coffee/tea suited me just fine

We did special dining but only the FREE ones

I didn't utilize laundry service HOWEVER I was tipped as to where a laundry room was on my floor and visited it twice - it was free!

Not into art - no interest; I will keep in mind the free champagne next cruise!

I did use internet service daily!

Booked our own excursion/tours - cheaper!

 

Thanks for the great tips!

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just back from the Navigator and our on board credit was 110$. We had paid for our excursions before we left. We bought three photos as they were very good and the rest was spent on diet coke and a small pair of ear rings. We had a brilliant time.

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