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hi! mariner of the seas, cabo san lucas, mazatlan, puerto vallarta. we want to do the zip line and the all inclusive resort, but they are both in puerto vallarta. I didnt really see any excursions that looked amazing in cabo or mazatlan and the thought of getting off the ship and onto a bus doesnt sound like my idea of vacation. We would like to go to the beach and eat some good food, thats all! Being our honeymoon, it would be cool to do something special, but we are really on a tight budget, so i am all about finding the freebies and bargains, no shame!

 

No shame at all!!! The zipline in PV is supposed to be amazing--my brother and his wife did one there, and said it was great. I would recommend going on the PV thread and asking about it on there. You can probably find an independent tour to do it cheaper than on the ship.

 

My bf and I aren't really "excursion" people, and we like just walking around the ports. We find that drinks are definitely cheaper on land--we were in San Juan and got 5 beers for $5--that was cheaper than one on the ship! You should be able to find similar things in Cabo and Mazatlan, I would think. We brought some of the beers back on the ship and had no problem. I don't know about bringing wine on, but I don't think RC allows you to bring bottles on, even if you pay a corkage fee. There is a "wine package" you can look into or you can have someone send you a bottle of wine on the ship as a wedding gift! Also, not that I condone bringing your own booze, but you may want to read up on the "rum runners" that people talk about. :)

 

Also, with drinks of the day, don't get the commemorative glass and you'll save a few bucks.

 

As for food, there is no reason you should have to pay for anything, as everything is included in your cruise fare. We prefer the early dinner (we are mid-30s ourselves), b/c when we had the late dinner, there was no way we had room for the midnight buffet!!! But we did find that the early dinner was mainly families with kids and "older" folks, so just keep that in mind. They plan the shows to fit around dinner times, so you shouldn't have to worry about that.

 

Bring with you anything you think you might use--sunscreen, imodium/pepto tylenol, playing cards, etc., as they will cost about 5x as much as on land. And if you've never been to Mexico, and you plan to get something to drink, do not drink anything with ice or drink water that is not bottled.

 

You can always get people to take your picture on the ship, so there is no reason to have to buy one of the ship's pictures--just bring your own camera. I love taking pictures for people. Also, tell people it's your honeymoon!!! If you get someone like me around you, they'll be buying you drinks and stuff. :) I love stuff like that!!!

 

If you're looking for stuff for your kids, the ship always has a sale on t-shirts and stuff one night of the cruise. Also, in Mexico, they have these little armadillo looking things in all the markets, and they vendors expect you to haggle with them, so you can get fun little souvenirs for really cheap.

 

The Promenade rooms are supposed to be really nice and you will probably appreciate having the light from the window. But yes, close the blinds. :)

 

BTW, congrats on surviving cancer!! I just have migraines, but have lots of meds, and never have any problem. I always bring a printout of what I take just in case something happens to me and my bf would need to tell someone what I'm taking, but have never been stopped.

 

Hope that helps. Have a wonderful time!!!

Edited by bluegirlum
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Fact is, before I began reading these threads, I imagined we would spend 1oo bucks onboard. Armed with ten pages of spending tips, my eyes have certainly opened! At least I am learning before the end of my first cruise with the final bill...

 

Please don't think you have to spend much money onboard (unless you want to ;)). You will see reports of people literally spending $1000+++++ on their onboard account but that is HUGELY unnecessary to have a good time. Perhaps pick one indulgence (beers by the pool, casino visits, a trip to the specialty restaurant, a formal photo, an expensive shore excursion, whatever interests you and your new husband) and try to limit everything else. Don't forget you can ask for onboard credit if you'd like instead a standard registry!!!

 

My first cruise - last December - my total onboard expenses were:

$140 tips ($10 per person per day x 7 days x 2 people)

$48 photos (3 8x10s for Christmas gifts)

$93 spa (2 manicures + tip)

$1 postage from Guatemala

= $282 total - $100 onboard credit from travel agent = $182 for 2 people

Frankly, we wouldn't have even spent that much, but our OBC couldn't be used toward tips (some can, some can't -- check with your travel agent!) so we had to spend at least $100 (hence our trip to the spa) and then the photos were just because we needed some gifts anyway.

 

Second cruise, my total onboard expenses were:

$115 tips ($11.50 per person per day x 10 days x 1 person)

$87 drinks

= $202 total for 1 person

 

Upcoming cruise, I'm budgeting for:

$147 tips ($10.50 per person per day x 7 days x 2 people)

$40 specialty restaurant ($20 per person x 2 people)

= $187 total for 2 people

 

So you can definitely keep your onboard account in check. We are not big gamblers/drinkers, so that definitely cuts down on the expenses. Tips are the only required onboard expense - anything else is just an extra you can choose to indulge in or choose not to spend on.

 

We always book shore excursions independently, finding it a better value, which is why you don't see it in my onboard expenses. We pay cash in port :) BUT that will add to the cost of your trip as well - though a $20 cab fare + $10 in chair/umbrella fees is an affordable way to spend the day.

 

Can someone please explain bringing our own wine aboard and paying corkage? That sounds legit, but potentially expensive?

Most cruise lines allow you to bring your own wine onboard. Check with your cruise line for limits - some are unlimited, some are 1 bottle per person. If you open the bottle of wine in your own room and drink it in your room or carry it yourself to a lounge/theatre/wherever, it is FREE (well, other than the cost of the bottle you bought at your local wine store :rolleyes:). If you choose to take it to the restaurant and have your sommelier/waiter open it for you, serve it with dinner, and store any remaining wine for the next day, there is generally a corkage fee of $15-25.

 

I wish I could help you with the info about the promenade room...but out of my 2 cruises, both were insides and so is my upcoming cruise. Someday I'll try out the balcony, but I'm waiting for my romantic cruise getaway with my future hubby...haven't had an excuse to cruise with him yet!

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When on vacation, our family of 4 chooses not to count every last penny. When on vacation, we want to feel like we're on vacation. I spend my whole year "budgeting." I don't want to on my cruise.

 

That said, we are budget minded year round, so naturally it flows over into our vacations weather we are thinking about it or not. I've tried to use my Visa year round, to build my free airfare, but have found that the times our family is able to cruise, are typically "blocked" and we usually end up having to pay a for a portion of our "free-round-trip" flight anyway. So I've switched to a Princess Visa, that I use all year long, and once we book our cruise they just take the amount we've earned right off. That's always is a good savings. At least pays for our tips and sometimes the fare of one of our kiddos. (And I pay off the Visa monthly so the interest doesn't counter my credit)

 

We do look for good deals on cruises and have used the kids sail free lines in the past. But when we feel like being pampered a bit more, will splurge on a more "expensive" line and just look for a good deal.

 

Cruising with 2 kids is never inexpensive. I feel like we're paying for 2 cruises that my hubby and I could have gone on, when we take them. But the time spent with them is priceless and still cheaper than if we were to go to fly to a resort and purchase the hotel, buy all of our food and entertainment individually. So cruising itself, we feel, is a deal.

 

We do give our kids the option to go into the shops and buy a fun snack (usually chips) once a day and one or two ice creams (if they are not offered free somewhere on the ship) with their little card. It makes them feel grown up when they get to do that. We do allow them to have a soda card if the price is more reasonable than just buying a couple a day. The rest of the day is water for them, which is what they need to stay hydrated anyway. My hubby drinks soda like a fish, so I think he is the one person on this earth that the ship actually looses money on the soda card with. I don't really care too much for soda so opt for a drink of the day if it appeals to me. But other than that, don't drink much other than water, which I love anyway. Good savings there!

 

We don't gamble. Huge savings there. I always bring those travel packets of Tide and a few dryer sheets, in case we have need to do some emergency self service laundry. Otherwise wait until we get home.

 

We spend the time leading up to our vacation researching our destinations so we can do our own thing once off the ship, unless we need to use the ship excursions for safety reasons. We bring our own snorkel gear from Costco and pack it in it's own duffel bag so we are ready to taxi to our beach of choice. I will swing by a local Walgreen's before boarding the ship and purchase some sand and water toys that we can easily store under a bed, to make beach time more fun. Then we toss them before returning home. Even with those small expenses, we still come out less expensive than one ship excursion for the 4 of us. And I don't forget to pack extra of our favorite sunblock from home. The kind on the ship never seems to be good and overpriced.

 

I also have read in one of my cruise books that you can ask the ship to prepare a picnic lunch since your food has already been paid for. We've not tried this, but sounds interesting. I have brought zip lock bags and tossed a few rolls in for some beach snacks, which also doubled as fish-feeding food. Not sure if we are supposed to do that or not, but they were left over from one of our room service meals and thought better to use them than to let them go to waste. With a big breakfast, they were enough to tide us over until we got back on the ship for dinner. But if need be, we do like to find a local eatery for lunch.

 

Mostly, we save by not taking the excursions. We splurged in some areas and save in others. After our first cruise and having a whopping bill at the end, we learned our lesson and enjoy where we feel the need and pass on the less important things to us.

 

Happy cruising!

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Where was the 5 beers for $5? We'll be there in May and want to walk and enjoy a local bar----thanks!

 

You don't have to walk very far, actually. If you go left out of the gate, you walk about 100 ft to a little strip mall. It's more like a liquor store than bar, but they have little tables set up. We actually sat on the sidewalk and just people watched. We found it after we had walked around OSJ, so it was nice to just sit and watch people pass by!

 

Have fun! Make sure you're on the port side of the ship when you come in. The view is amazing!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Enjoyed the comments on this thread. We are admitted "bargain shoppers".

 

A few years back we starting purchasing a small print or piece of art by a local artist from one of our ports of call on each cruise. It's a nice reminder of our past vacations to see a print of Indepence Square in St. Kitts on our living room wall, or Hubbard Glacier on the foyer wall, etc.

 

We enjoy that more than t-shirts or overpriced "Made in China" junk!

 

Happy cruising.:D

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bqkali-thanks for taking time to give such detailed answers. you're hired.

 

Fact is, before I began reading these threads, I imagined we would spend 1oo bucks onboard. Armed with ten pages of spending tips, my eyes have certainly opened! At least I am learning before the end of my first cruise with the final bill...

 

Gratuities- I would MUCH rather our money go to tip those providing excellent service than on an inflated bar tab. Although he and I are not drinkers, we are going on our first vacation in 14 years (and three kids later), so I imagine there will be some indulgence, just in a way that is smart. I will be mentally calculating each and every purchase, I have no choice, but this is not a bad thing. I could not enjoy our cruise if I had no idea what our bill would be after.

 

-Can someone please explain bringing our own wine aboard and paying corkage? That sounds legit, but potentially expensive?

 

It would be wonderful to read any opinions on a promenade room? I do want a balcony so badly yet it is our first cruise and we are on a budget. I have this feeling I am going to long for one though. As for the prescription, I am a Cancer survivor and have a couple of vitamins I keep in a M-F thing old school style, just wasn't sure how the embarkation process goes with luggage being checked. I figure I will be flying with everything I bring onboard, so it should be fine. Its not like they open each bag and stuff is spilling out all over the dock. My husband is teasing me for my new cruise obsession...I cant get enough! 83 days until sailing...

JuicyG in Napa

We've had an ocean view cabin on a promenade deck and loved it. We were on a small ship that did not have a large number of balcony cabins and they began at double the price of OV cabins. Those walking on deck could not see in the cabin window unless they put their face right up to the glass. From inside it was a large clear view. Beautiful wood deck chairs (nicer and more comfortable than those on the standard balconies) lined this deck and there were always some available for relaxing. The deck was not overly busy or noisy. No noise from the deck could be heard in the cabin. The door to get outside was about 5 or 6 cabins away, an easy/quick walk. It was as good as having a balcony in many ways. You could always select sun or shade by using either the port or starboard side of the deck....not possible with a fixed balcony placement. I enjoyed the expanse and comfort of the deck, watching the activity, greeting other passengers, and developing conversations I would not have the opportunity to do if on a private balcony. What I did miss was the opportunity to eat some meals in private on a balcony and to have fresh air in the cabin at any time. As with all cruises, a lot depends on the particular ship. For us it was a great choice that left us with $$$ for another cruise.

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Please note that your political comments should be left off these boards. You have every right to express your opinions whenever and wherever you want to. To me, however, this is not the place or time to tell us your opinions. The purpose of these boards is to provide information to persons interested in cruising, not to find fault.... conservatives, liberals , left wing. right wing or any other polical belief.Thank you.

 

I enjoy reading all the different ideas, spending money here and savingg money there. It really does ruin the thread when people start that

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Absolutely, never never take any of the ship arranged shore excursions. They are ALLWAYS ridiculously overpriced. Exploring on your own is MUCH better and way less expensive.

Don't buy overpriced shipboard booze. Understand that when you are at sea, you are technically in a duty free zone ..... you should be paying LESS than what it would cost you ashore

Hey , most lines will let you bring aboard a bottle or two of Coke or Root beer. Empty out the soft drink and fill it full of your own booze.

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We stayed in an inside, OV, and balcony suites, it's just the 2 of us, our children our grown, and they are all roomy just for us. We spend such little time in our cabins and my husband likes to sleep late, so I don't get to use the balcony for early morning.. it was a waste for us.. So I would rather put the money for a balcony suite onto something else. But that is just personal preference... They are just a little larger than the other cabins I thought. We aren't big soda drinkers so I bring a 8 pk of 12 oz bottled coke and a 12 pk of sodas for hubby and a 12 pk of bottled water for the room, some bring a little more or buy the drink cards if they are heavy soda drinkers. I also bring the travel size laundry soap, ( Tide has a 4 load travel size) and the fabric softner sheets in a baggy, they are a dollar a sheet on board the ship. And it's not that I wouldnt splurge for the specialty resturaunt, but so far the dining room has been very good with very good service on both the Princess and the Carnival, I just havn't tried it yet.. but I haven't cruised that much yet. We don't drink much but do enjoy a few, so either prebuy the drink gift cards or buy the dod cards, which both save money. We don't do the bingo, the art, few of the pictures, and very little gambling. We do a lot of the shows and we enjoy the music. I do like it that it is that ... it is your vacation and you can spend as much or as little as you want.. doing as much that costs or as much that doesnt cost all up to you.. it is so versatile and so much to do on and off the ship.

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my DH and I have been on 2 cruises,I was on the S.S.Norway back in 93 for a country music cruise. we had a porthole cabin on that one, and it was nice.exept for me trying to open the cabin door with the suitcase in front of it and falling flat on my face into the room,because of the lip on the door jam:o

Thank goodness no one was around- it was a trans-atlantic ship therefor the lip on the door.Now she sits rusting away off the coast of India.

O.K. back to the subject at hand:)

We booked our first cruise together for our 10th anniversary-OV on the RCL-Adventure of the Sea's-we got our doc's and we had been upgraded to a balcony.

We met some wonderful people that live about an hr away from us here on CC, and they taught us a whole lot!!!!!

we booked our excursions thru the cruise line(wont do that again)

it was a wonderful experience .but with a hefty pricetag:rolleyes:

We have found that Carnival offers us the best bang for the buck

we are sailing this comming November and will be doing excersions on our own with friends we are sailing with.

We did do the dining room a few times the last cruise which was the Legend,but its not for us

We like to go to the buffet,I know I know alot of people gross out at that and I have to get that out of my mind. But we can pick what we like,eat when we want and go do things we want to do without having to be on some sort of schedule.

And for the extra bit of money, we always do the early saver we get the balcony.Love it Love it:D it is just soooo relaxing to sit out there and enjoy ,the sun, the moon, the water, your spouse.

The last cruise our SS acct wasnt bad, we did the tips and I only had one DOD the whole cruise,I dont gamble,did buy myself a mug,but that was about it. when we are at the ports,the DH and I look for t-shirts just a little something to remind us of our trip, and I got a few small pieces of jewelry when we were in Cozumel.

we will be celebrating my 50th birthday on this cruise(although birthday is in June) and I couldnt think of a better way to spend it,with my honey and friends:)

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Booked our first cruise (10/31/2010 on Serenade OTS Southern Caribbean) last week after hours of time reading on CC. Great suggestions for saving money in many of the threads. I have been checking current rates for our cruise regularly and already have a $90/person rate reduction. I would not have known to check the rates without CC. I will use the advice I get on CC to book private excursions. We will be celebrating our 25th anniversary so I am not going to pinch pennies at the expense of enjoying ourselves but I am not going to spend money I don't have to.

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Please don't think you have to spend much money onboard (unless you want to ;)). You will see reports of people literally spending $1000+++++ on their onboard account but that is HUGELY unnecessary to have a good time. Perhaps pick one indulgence (beers by the pool, casino visits, a trip to the specialty restaurant, a formal photo, an expensive shore excursion, whatever interests you and your new husband) and try to limit everything else. Don't forget you can ask for onboard credit if you'd like instead a standard registry!!!

 

My first cruise - last December - my total onboard expenses were:

$140 tips ($10 per person per day x 7 days x 2 people)

$48 photos (3 8x10s for Christmas gifts)

$93 spa (2 manicures + tip)

$1 postage from Guatemala

= $282 total - $100 onboard credit from travel agent = $182 for 2 people

Frankly, we wouldn't have even spent that much, but our OBC couldn't be used toward tips (some can, some can't -- check with your travel agent!) so we had to spend at least $100 (hence our trip to the spa) and then the photos were just because we needed some gifts anyway.

 

Second cruise, my total onboard expenses were:

$115 tips ($11.50 per person per day x 10 days x 1 person)

$87 drinks

= $202 total for 1 person

 

Upcoming cruise, I'm budgeting for:

$147 tips ($10.50 per person per day x 7 days x 2 people)

$40 specialty restaurant ($20 per person x 2 people)

= $187 total for 2 people

 

So you can definitely keep your onboard account in check. We are not big gamblers/drinkers, so that definitely cuts down on the expenses. Tips are the only required onboard expense - anything else is just an extra you can choose to indulge in or choose not to spend on.

 

We always book shore excursions independently, finding it a better value, which is why you don't see it in my onboard expenses. We pay cash in port :) BUT that will add to the cost of your trip as well - though a $20 cab fare + $10 in chair/umbrella fees is an affordable way to spend the day.

 

 

Most cruise lines allow you to bring your own wine onboard. Check with your cruise line for limits - some are unlimited, some are 1 bottle per person. If you open the bottle of wine in your own room and drink it in your room or carry it yourself to a lounge/theatre/wherever, it is FREE (well, other than the cost of the bottle you bought at your local wine store :rolleyes:). If you choose to take it to the restaurant and have your sommelier/waiter open it for you, serve it with dinner, and store any remaining wine for the next day, there is generally a corkage fee of $15-25.

 

I wish I could help you with the info about the promenade room...but out of my 2 cruises, both were insides and so is my upcoming cruise. Someday I'll try out the balcony, but I'm waiting for my romantic cruise getaway with my future hubby...haven't had an excuse to cruise with him yet!

I shop the Manager's Picks and bargain bins at Total Wine. I get some really good wines for just a few dollars. After paying corkage, I still have spent far less than the cheapest bottle at ship's prices and my wine tastes much better.:)

Edited by simplelife
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what i am going to say is pretty similar to everyone else!

 

where we save:

-NO excursions from the cruise line! (researched online and did cave tubing in belize for $35 bucks pp, instead of the boats $90 pp :D)

-No photos, unless dire (we didnt bring a water camera to jamaica, so had no pics from dunns falls so i bought the ones from NCL and i dont regret that, but i will never buy a formal shot. can always find someone to take it w/ my camera!)

-I Make sure to bring drug store essentials (i learned from experience that sunblock can run you $15.00 and cold medicine can be $10.00, ouch)

-Interior cabin all the way! Lowest category too. (as ppl always say, you dont spend much time there, and we dont get seasick so low on the boat is fine with me. i could use the exercise going up and down stairs anyway ;))

- No specialty restaurants (the dining room is so great, why bother?? although i did the teppanyaki on NCL jewel once and it was the best meal of the trip...)

- I love Iced Tea! (So no soda's for me.)

- No spa on the boat (i always manage to find massages on the beach somewhere, and i gotta say i love that atmosphere, and its a fraction of the price)

- Cheap souvinirs (i like to get something from each place but it doesnt need to be pricey like art or fine jewelry. i collect turtle figurines or get some cheap beaded jewelry. or things like hot sauce or alcohols. something really FROM the islands i guess)

 

where we spend:

- BAR TAB! (DH drinks A LOT so we allot a large amount for this....:rolleyes:)

- I do like the casino slot machines (but we allot a certain amount for this, like mayyyyybe 30-50 bucks for each of us, so its still fairly frugel. when its spent its spent. last cruise we went in with 9.25 and came out with 100.00!)

- Pre cruise night (it helps us to breathe a sigh of releif! we come from new england so weather can be an issue. but still, we get an inexpensive hotel)

 

thats about it!

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This being our 7th or 8th cruise, the one thing I can say to anyone who is on board the ship is to use the room service..Its free, and if you have a balcony, even better. Theres nothing better than getting up in the morning and having a fresh crosant and some fresh fruit along with your coffee looking at the ocean while sitting outside the cabin...We don,t do excursions, we book on line..We don,t eat at speciality resturants..If you don,t like something, order something else!! And yes I do order 3 plates at every sitting. I have the waiter bring the 3rd plate after we eat our main meal and we sample the 3rd or even the 4th selection on the menu..Of course, have them remove what you,ve just ate, cause god forbid you wouldn,t wan,t to look like a slob...lol..I,ll have most but not all of my table mates join in on the sampling..Thats the cruise experience people, there,s nothing wrong with it, you,ve paid for it, so enjoy it..

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just my $.02 especially since I have only been on one cruise and will be taking my second in exactly 2 weeks from today. BUT here is my input:

 

First cruise bought the soda card, (I am a soda JUNKY) wasn't worth it.

My wife bought $200 worth the pictures, that are now sitting in a drawer somewhere?

 

Specialty resturants, (food does not impress me at all, if I can get filled up on a hamburger I see no need to buy a steak)

 

ALWAYS book excursions OFF the ship

 

Bought drink coupons prior to cruise, didn't even use them all BUT were a good value for the ones we did use.

 

First cruise had an inside cabin, didnt spend much time in the room anyway, but have a balcony on this one. (must admit that both cruises were a Christmas gift from my parents) (The ULTIMATE Savings)haha

 

My wife did the spa I think about $90 but I won $140 in the casino so I paid for the spa treatment and bought her a ring she liked.

 

My big expenditure this cruise will be renting a Harley Davidson for the day and my wife and I crusing around Kauai for the day. But this WILL be the highlight of our trip!

 

There are MANY MANY good ideas on these boards and especially on the thread.

 

Thank You

 

My view is that I am on a STRICT budget 51 weeks a year, when I go on vacation I don't want to be on a budget, I want to do whatever it is I want to do. That also doesn't mean spend like a druken sailor. :D

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i buy and sell a lot of things on ebay. the money i earn by selling things i will turn around and use to buy other things on ebay i may need for my trip. also, i have a debit card attached to my paypal acct which is where ppl deposit their payments to me. so far for this trip i have paid for our stone island excursion, bought an underwater camera bag, and bought a rum runner flask with the $ people paid me. its like free cash! i feel like i got my excursion and all that other stuff for free :D

i plan on paying for our passport cards, travel insurance, a new camera, other odds and ends i want to get for the trip and maybe our other excursion with the $$$ i earn on ebay.

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Booked our first cruise (10/31/2010 on Serenade OTS Southern Caribbean) last week after hours of time reading on CC. Great suggestions for saving money in many of the threads. I have been checking current rates for our cruise regularly and already have a $90/person rate reduction. I would not have known to check the rates without CC. I will use the advice I get on CC to book private excursions. We will be celebrating our 25th anniversary so I am not going to pinch pennies at the expense of enjoying ourselves but I am not going to spend money I don't have to.

 

I'm new to the boards and our first cruise is scheduled for Nov 15th on Carnival. I'm interested in how you "shop" rates? I've read a lot about this and how you can get your rate lowered if you find a cheaper price but I have no idea how to do it! Can anyone offer a simple explanation of the best way to do this?

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SonShine1 Quote: I'm new to the boards and our first cruise is scheduled for Nov 15th on Carnival. I'm interested in how you "shop" rates? I've read a lot about this and how you can get your rate lowered if you find a cheaper price but I have no idea how to do it! Can anyone offer a simple explanation of the best way to do this?

 

If you have booked an Early Saver rate... you can "shop for lower prices". You can find the lower rates on either Carnival itself, or other sites that are opened to the public (don't have to belong to a club in order to buy through them), then you fill out a form and send it into Carnival.. your pvp can help you on filling it out. I have reduced my cruise in October twice now, and both early saver rates. If you have already paid for your cruise in full, you can either take an upgrade or onboard credit. I check out the rates all the time as they go up and down a lot.

Be sure and check out seauonboard.com lots of good information for first time cruisers.. including what rooms to and not to book, if noise is a concern.

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