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21 minutes ago, tipofthehook said:

 

A Photograph is a good value, once every four or five cruises, especially on formal nights to choose from multiple backdrops. The quality of the finishing too is excellent, I find. No pressure to buy anything though, if you don’t like. No studio fee.

 

Or you could wait until the last day and go to the draw which very few people do. I got my magazine column headshot that way. LOL!

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I view purchasing only those things that bring us enjoyment as being frugal.

 

We have cruised without a drink plan before. It was a cruise where we planned to be off the ship almost every day. We instead took our two bottles of wine. We only ever have a drink plan if there is an offer that includes it, or there is an especially good deal. 

 

When we didn't have a drink plan we went to every event where we could get free drinks including grabbing champagne at the art sale and attending both the returning cruisers and the CC celebrations. We always attend the CC gathering but we made sure to show up early to grab an second cocktail that cruise.

 

I do extensive research on the ports we visit. We have done some fairly pricey excursions but we try to keep it to only one per cruise. Sometimes we opt to stay on board and other times we just walk around a bit instead of purchasing expensive shore excursions. On a few occasions we've picked up the same shore excursions whatever cruise line we were on was offering for far less at the dock. 

 

We always bring a decent stock of common OTC medications we use occasionally so we don't end up having to purchase it at premium prices on the cruise. I'm talking Immodium, Tylenol, Xyrtec, and the like here.

 

We've only done specialty restaurants as part of a package deal. I would never pay full price for it. I know there is a lot of discussion about the quality of food on cruises. We've always been reasonably happy. Not that we think it is gourmet, but rather for what it is we think it is fine. 

 

We don't shop in ship's stores and haven't bought anything at the sidewalk sales, but we always put our names in the drawings and show up to see if we've won. 

 

Back when worked where I wore t-shirts and jeans on Fridays we did look for good deals on t-shirts with decent weight fabric at our favorite ports. I've been promoted and I'm not able to do that most weeks, so we don't buy anything at prots.

 

 

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On 3/25/2018 at 10:24 AM, xfer said:

I second the chase sapphire card. It is great for travel.

If you are in Canada like we are, a great card is Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite.  It does cost $139 for the primary card but free for one supplementary.  Gets you:  no FX markup, 6 complimentary airport lounge visits/year, travel health/accident insurance (even for 70+ y.o.), luggage insurance, cancellation and trip delay insurance, rental car collision insurance, hotel burglary protection insurance, price protection and extended warranty, Avis® Preferred Plus membership,  Visa Infinite Concierge and the Luxury Hotel Collection,  and you collect points you can use to purchase travel (no restrictions), other goods, or credits toward your bill.  By purchasing our cruise with this card, we were able to redeem the points to pay for our flights from South Central BC to San Diego.  We got this card for promotional deal free for 1st year and likely will keep it as it's worth it for us.  You can redeem your points for credit toward your bill no matter what is on it, but you get 50% more value if you use it to redeem against travel related purchases on the card.  Perfect for us.  

 

We also like to double-dip by buying our hotels pre/post cruise on Hotels.com (free night after every 10 and they don't have to be consecutive) through airmilesshops.com.  You can also do a double-dip deal with Priceline.com through airmilesshops.com.

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11 hours ago, Drinal01 said:

What about... I don't do those fancy shmancy rooms.  Good old inside is good enough  🙂

We are booked on an inside room this time. We will see how it goes.  (Likely we won’t notice a difference since we don’t spend a lot of time in there anyways.) 

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I'm the travel planner, so I have worked out several money saving options over the years.

 

  1. First is our Chase Sapphire credit card.  We use it for everything we possibly can, especially travel and restaurants, which give double points.  The points can either be used for booking air through Chase's tool, cash, a credit to your balance due, or transferred to travel partners.  We always fly Southwest in the US, so our Sapphire points have provided air for $5.60 each many times.  Every 4 years I can get a second card with 40,000 - 60,000 bonus to add to the pot.  Using  this Visa to pay for the cruise adds double points to the points balance. When I fly internationally, I get the second Chase Sapphire card. 
  2. Piggy-backed on using the card is using the Big Box Store's travel department.  With an executive membership (an extra $60 / year) we get a 2% cash back annually on all travel purchases.  Plus every cruise we book with them gives us either a cash card to use at their store (we use it for gas), or obc on our cruise.  Example: we have a big cruise coming up this year.  From that one cruise we will get $545 obc, $152 cash back, and the equivalent Chase Sapphire points for $156 in cash. That trip alone is $853 in cash back.  If we book with RCCL, we get a store cash card for every cruise. 
  3. Using our perks on board help save money, too.  On RCCL we are Diamond Plus, and my husband gets 16 free diet cokes every cruise.  That's almost $50 in free soft drinks, which is all he drinks.  I use our free drinks  for happy hour, a benefit once you reach Diamond level on RCCL.  On RCCL and Princess we have an internet benefit.  Saves us about $50 - $100 per cruise.
  4. Then, there's determining the "real" cost of the cruise, which is offset by savings while we are gone for: groceries and food purchased, gasoline, lower utilities, if you are gone long enough cable TV can cost $25/month.  I have an average daily cost savings that I take into account when budgeting for our cruises, to determine what the bottom line is.
  5. I watch the promos on our favorite cruise lines.  NCL, Princess, and HAL run free gratuities, drinks, and internet off and on all year long.  I booked a cruise for my friend and I in 2017 that had 5 specialty dining dinners and $250 credit for shore excursions.  This was also a trip where I was able to cobble together Chase Sapphire points (transferred to British Airways), points from a new British Airways credit card, and a gift of 60,000 points from my son, for Premium Economy and Business class flights for my friend and I for a total of $1,350 each roundtrip.  My husband and I are going on a Princess cruise later this year with free gratuities, drinks, and internet.  That's a $2,000 savings.  I booked it almost a year in advance, and the price including these extras is $2,000 more now.
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/29/2018 at 12:43 AM, craftygrandma said:

Princess also allows you to bring sodas and 2 bottles of wine. NCL is the only line I know that does not allow any liquids.

Costa does not allow you to bring any drinks, not even drinking water.

It's because they charge for drinking water in the main dining room, but drinking water is free in the buffet

Edited by drsel
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  • 3 months later...

So , I’m wondering if those of you who own shares of cruise companies are sweating because the stocks certainly took a tumble.  I wonder why people would have a credit card affiliated with a cruise line. What happens if you become incapacitated and can’t cruise anymore ?   Isn’t it better to use a cash back card where the cash can be used anyplace ? 

 

Lesson learned at least for now is not buying any extras pre-boarding . Getting refunds as been very difficult.    

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7 hours ago, NHProud said:

So , I’m wondering if those of you who own shares of cruise companies are sweating because the stocks certainly took a tumble.  I wonder why people would have a credit card affiliated with a cruise line. What happens if you become incapacitated and can’t cruise anymore ?   Isn’t it better to use a cash back card where the cash can be used anyplace ? 

 

Lesson learned at least for now is not buying any extras pre-boarding . Getting refunds as been very difficult.    

We actually bought more cruise stock when it hit the bottom and are still in the plus side 

 

Don't use a cruise line credit card so can't answer that one

 

We have had 2 cruises cancelled and have already got FCC and/or been told we would get credit card refunds soon 

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3 hours ago, jpsykes said:

We actually bought more cruise stock when it hit the bottom and are still in the plus side 

 

Don't use a cruise line credit card so can't answer that one

 

We have had 2 cruises cancelled and have already got FCC and/or been told we would get credit card refunds soon 

RCI has gone up $40.00 from its 52 week low .  The dividend yield has gone down , though .   I’ve had two companies whose shares I owned go into bankruptcy so keep an eye on the ups and downs .  Buy low and sell high ! 

 

RCI canceled my cruise and it went into default FCC even though my TA had requested a refund .  It was corrected and 60 days out I’m still waiting for my full refund.  Cruise companies want to hold on to your cash as long as possible.  

 

I’m not a tightwad .  I read these posts for usable suggestions and tips.  

 

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8 hours ago, jpsykes said:

We actually bought more cruise stock when it hit the bottom and are still in the plus side 

 

Don't use a cruise line credit card so can't answer that one

 

We have had 2 cruises cancelled and have already got FCC and/or been told we would get credit card refunds soon 

 

I actually bought 200 CCL shares when the Italian Captain tipped the boat. When it doubled sold 100. Not sure what the current dividend is (expect it will be cut) but collected many increased dividends in the interim. So still ahead of the game! ;-)

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  • 1 month later...
On 2/19/2020 at 8:16 PM, Drinal01 said:

What about... I don't do those fancy shmancy rooms.  Good old inside is good enough  🙂

We usually do porthole cabins. We need a little natural light and these do the trick, but for an interior fare. 

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15 hours ago, simplelife said:

We usually do porthole cabins. We need a little natural light and these do the trick, but for an interior fare. 

I am so grieving the loss of the 4K french door cabins on Spirit Class.  They still have them, but it's now a picture window rather than doors that open for fresh air.  What a deal for an inside cabin price.

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  • 1 month later...
 
I actually bought 200 CCL shares when the Italian Captain tipped the boat. When it doubled sold 100. Not sure what the current dividend is (expect it will be cut) but collected many increased dividends in the interim. So still ahead of the game! ;-)
Carnival will not be paying out any dividend for some years now.
It needs to pay back a lot of debt first
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16 hours ago, NHProud said:

Who is going to be looking at Black Friday deals ? 

 

I will be "looking", but I won't be buying.  Actually, there have been some terrific offers available for some time.  But, it's just too "iffy" at this time for me to "deposit" some money for a cruise that may or may not sail.  

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  • 2 months later...
  • 4 months later...

1--Use reward credit cards to accumulate points to travel. We use SWA, IHG, AMEX HIlton & Chase Sapphire. We started with the 1st 2 10 years ago when our children we going on college visits. With sign up bonuses & paying private college tuition on the SWA card we have maintained companion pass for 10 years. Incredible value. IHG gives you a free room every year; 10 years later between the free rooms & points we don't pay for rooms. AMEx is fairly new--10 Priority pass visits/yr plus the points for Hilton rooms (and upgrade to Gold). Chase is BRAND new. DH just got one too--so 200K+ points for easy 3 mo. spend will get us $2K+ free travel.  Plus Chase has the best travel insurance attached to the purchase.

 

2--I have booked TA when I get INCREDIBLE extras. Otherwise I usually book direct to avoid cancellation fees. 

 

3--We rarely take shore excursions but research the area thoroughly & tour on our own. 

 

4--We buy little in port (but DO get vanilla in MX!) & even less onboard. Little we need. 

 

5--We buy 1 photo/cruise typically. MUCH cheaper than professional photos on land. Plus great souvenir.

 

6--We rarely do anything onboard that cost extra. We do sometimes gamble.

 

7--We DO typically try to book specials with the drink packages. They save us $. But if it is port intensive we are less likely to get it, if it saves us a lot. If you don't drink, no brainer. If the package isn't included, many lines allow you to bring a couple bottles of wine on board & occasionally offer drink specials. We used to bring rum runners of vodka along. Funny--our drink bill wasn't any less! We used to bring soda cans along but I'm not sure anyone allows that anymore.

 

8--We say we are fine with interiors--but 135sq. ft. on NCL Getaway was kinda tiny. 

It truly depends on how much more an OV or BALC is. 

 

9--Be flexible with line, dates, itinerary to get the best prices. Factor in ALL the extras. You WILL have to pay tips no matter what. Is the drink plan worth it?  Do you need wifi? A price can look cheap but you may be able to sail a better line/ship/cabin for not much more when everything is factored in. Everyone says Carnival is cheapest. I completely disagree. Make sure you compare the same category of cabin & factor in all the extras when comparing to be certain. (this happened on a NYE cruise DM took the whole family on. Carnival prices LOOKED cheaper--but those were for bunk rooms. Um, no. We got Princess for better price) 

Many are loyal to a line & get perks. Depends on the line, but even more what level. Many lines are devaluing those perks, especially with more AI packaging.

 

10--Bring along a least a few tablets of any meds one might need, several bottles of sunscreen. These are VERY expensive on the ship.

 

11--If you have to pay for luggage, PACK LIGHT. Once had to fly in the day of embarkation so we each took a carry on & backpack for a 7 day Caribbean cruise. STILL didn't wear everything. You change clothes a few times/day so you can re-wear. I brought black pants, shorts, dress & skirt & several colorful tops; swimsuit & cover up; flip flops, walking sandals & heels. Everything doesn't wrinkle & can be hand washed. It was actually kind of freeing. But since we usually fly SWA I tend to overpack.

 

12--Fly in the day before. Yes, it means you will need a hotel the night before. BUT you can choose flights on that day based on price over schedule to offset. Plus it gives you bumper room for unexpected delays--piece of mind.

 

13--Since we won't spend $ at home the week (s) we are sailing. So that weekly budget  for food/entertainment/gas/misc goes toward the cruise cost. 

 

14--Invest in decent luggage. I'm not saying expensive AT ALL. But we bought the cheapest luggage we could find for some years--handles got stuck, broke, wheels broke, they would rip. Last year I watched sales (Brads Deals daily email rocks) & read reviews & each got hardside luggage for around $100 for 2 or 3 pieces. It doesn't work well on a luggage rack but I do like how it holds up to lots of travel. Get a color so it is easier to identify. 

 

15--Do not book transfers thru the cruiseline (air--look into it. If it is similarly priced, it is worth booking thru them as it gives you some protections). Nearly always you can book much cheaper transfers--either shuttle, cab or Lyft/Uber.

 

16--Toiletries--travel sizes are more expensive than full, but it wouldn't be worth it to pay for more luggage for full-sized toiletries. Amazon has low priced refillable travel toiletries. They will pay for themselves in 1 trip.

 

17--Air--just discovered SWA Anytime fares are FULLY REFUNDABLE. We typically book with points which is great because we can cancel free at any time. Their Wanna Get Away fares are cancellable--but you get  credit good for one year from booking date, ONLY for the person originally booked for. 

BUT the Anytime fare isn't always much more than Wanna Get Away--I've learned to occasionally book that if it isn't much more & our plans aren't firm.

 

15--

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

We book inside the final payment window.  Balcony only.  We have a target price.   If it hits we book.

 

Most of our cruises are now booked last minute while we are on extended land trips.

 

We use a TA.  We also price cruises in different countries.  Last time we were in Australia we picked up a 21 day last minute cruise.  Booking direct by calling RCI in Sydney resulted in a price about 30 percent less that the best price our NA on line TA could give us.  We do the same with other travel products as well. 

 

We travel light and we are spontaneous travelers.  Retired.  Often we do one way or open jaw air with a few month in between outbound and inbound flights.

Edited by iancal
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  • 3 months later...
On 7/7/2019 at 9:02 AM, Souljourner said:

We fly separately. It started when the kids were young and was a "just in case" measure.

My mother never would fly.  If my dad had a conference someplace, he left her home.  She said a plane crash would leave us orphans..  When they went to Europe (1950-1963) they traveled by ship.  Sometime after I was in college, there was a married couple and they offered to split up and one of them fly with Dad on one plane and the other one fly with Mom on another plane.  That was the first time she flew.

 

THen on Feb. 15, 1961, a commercial aircraft carrying all 18 members of the U.S. figure skating team, who were headed to a competition in Prague, crashed and killed all aboard.  That cemented my mom's antipathy to flying.  She said it was like a bus ride without the scenery. 

 

 

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If you get an inside cabin, don't gamble, or drink, take your own photos and are fairly low maintenance (I don't wear makeup - Bob brings the sunscreen and moisturizer), it is way cheaper to cruise.  Wear your bulkiest and heaviest clothing on the plane - that helps to pack light. 

 

If we have been to a port before, we will just go out to the taxi rank, and bargain with the drivers - I have a list of places I want to go and I will ask them who will take us to see those things and how much it will be.  If they say a price I think that is too expensive, I walk away.  I don't have enough energy to be out past the time the ship leaves - mostly we are back by 1 or 2.  It's always cheaper than renting a car and driver from the ship.  And quite often, the taxi driver gets interested in helping us (we are interested in seeing his city and it's not the same old rides to the beach) and gives us additional information and takes us to interesting places that we didn't know about.

 

I have to say - don't cheap out on things that give you pleasure.  Don't make yourself miserable just to save a few pennies.  It's OK to be frugal, but there's no need to be miserly.

 

Edited by grandmaR
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