• Hello visitor!

    We are happy to see you have stopped by and hope you will consider registering with our community. Whether you have a question related to an upcoming cruise or just want to meet other fellow cruisers, you are always welcome!

    Hope to see you on the forums soon!

Do you find cruising expensive?

Rex

Captain
Staff member
Most people I talk to would love to cruise but they always claim the 'hidden' expenses such as flights, drinks, shopping, excursions make the overall trip just too expensive.

What are your thoughts on this?
 

KeithnRita

Deckhand
Sea cruises are still our first choice for vacations and if you shop around you can get some great rates. We now drive to port as it's just to expensive to fly from our little city airport. We have no discount airlines and we have to fly the commuter jets north to a larger airport to get a flight south. They also tack on additional charges for your bags! Our last cruise was out of NOLA, which is now our nearest drive to port. We sure hope a cruise line will reconsider Mobile. As far as excursions, we hardly book them anymore as we've done most over the years. Drinks are expensive on ships and everywhere else.
 

Pam in CA

Captain
Some cruise lines have more hidden costs than others. Also, some cruise lines have better perks, allow discounting or allow you to accumulate OBC instead of allowing only one OBC. Some cruise lines offer OBC to the military.

Flights are expensive but I have an AA credit card that I use to accumulate miles. AA has a tool bar that if you use it, you get a mile for a search, 2-5 miles per $ spent if you access an online store via the tool bar. I accumulate a LOT of miles and can fly pretty much anywhere in the world.

Drinks can be expensive but some cruise lines offer drink packages that can help control costs, whether it's soda or alcohol.

Sometimes, I'll take a cruise line tour, sometimes, I book independent tours.

From my standpoint, you need to find a cruise line that fits your needs. It doesn't have to be expensive. I took a 16-day cruise last March and because of all my OBC, I had a $20.50 refund at the end of the cruise. I was recently on a 17-day cruise and owed about $400 at disembarkation but that was because I splurged and booked the Sanctuary for the entire cruise (about $250), took ship's tours and bought wine, drinks, and a soda package. I'm not cheap and don't deprive myself. I choose what I'm going to pay for.

A good TA can guide you to how to get the most for your money. There's a smartphone app, ShipMate, that (among other things) allows you to budget expenses and compare your budget against actual expenses.
 

middy

Deckhand
I don't feel that it's too expensive, mind you I don't do many ships excursions, drink very little unless the cruise line throw in an all inclusive package and except for once and it wasn't a great experience, don't eat in the pay extra restaurants.
Many years ago did a self catering holiday abroad ,even though looked a good deal, when your feeding three at every meal worked out an expensive holiday. ( Never did that again)
 

GregT

Deckhand
In the current financial climate, being wary of where our money is spent is more important that ever. We work hard all year for our money, and want the most bang for our buck during our vacation.
More often than not, the flight to the port is the biggest expenditure. Take into consideration that with all the marvellous ports one would visit during a cruise, but only unpacking once, paying for one "hotel" and no additional travel costs - makes cruising a great value for money.
Here's some tips to trim some of the extra costs during your cruise:
- Opt out of the soda package. Drink the juices instead.
- Select excursions that just bring you to a location and drop you off, to be picked up with the group later in the day. They are cheaper, and you select which sites you want (or don't want) to see - on your own timetable, and aren't forced into the souvenir shops/areas at the end of many guided tours.
- Most ships don't leave their home port until late afternoon, so take an early morning flight and skip the pre-cruise hotel stay.
-If you are looking to bring some things home for the family, or want some special Christmas items, buy the coupon book from the Port and Shopping Guide. The freebies alone are enough to get unique gifts for all your loved ones, and if you're an avid cruiser, you can use the remainder of the book during upcoming cruises and different ports. Pearls, glass, sculptures, jewelry, crafts and clothing are a few of the delightful things included in the book.

I hope this gives you a few ideas how to turn a seemingly expensive cruise into a more affordable adventure!
 

jack100

Deckhand
- Most ships don't leave their home port until late afternoon, so take an early morning flight and skip the pre-cruise hotel stay.
I do think cruises can be quite expensive nowadays and the tips mentioned above will be useful for new cruisers. The one tip I would suggest caution with is quoted above.
It really depends on where you live and how many planes go from your airport to the cruise ports airport.
If there are several planes leaving, as morning flights, then it might suit you to fly on the same day as your cruise.
It is safer to fly the day before and stay at a hotel for one night.
It only needs bad weather or a technical problem with the plane and no other flights going to your cruise airport that day and you could lose out on your cruise especially if the first day is at sea rather than a port.
 

Pam in CA

Captain
I do think cruises can be quite expensive nowadays and the tips mentioned above will be useful for new cruisers. The one tip I would suggest caution with is quoted above.
It really depends on where you live and how many planes go from your airport to the cruise ports airport.
If there are several planes leaving, as morning flights, then it might suit you to fly on the same day as your cruise.
It is safer to fly the day before and stay at a hotel for one night.
It only needs bad weather or a technical problem with the plane and no other flights going to your cruise airport that day and you could lose out on your cruise especially if the first day is at sea rather than a port.
I agree. I live 45 minutes away from San Pedro (Port of Los Angeles) so I drive to the port. I also drive to San Diego as that's only an hour away. I never, ever fly anywhere the day of the cruise, even if it's a 2- or 3-hour flight. Weather on the East Coast can affect flights all over North America. Sometimes, for days. Even Los Angeles can be closed due to fog.

Last year, we flew from Orange County (airport code SNA) to Newark via Dallas for a Celebrity cruise. We were boarded and ready to push off when the Captain announced that one of the instruments wasn't working properly and we would have to de-plane and be re-booked. We were able to get on a flight leaving an hour later and made our original connection, arriving in Newark. All was well, right? Nope. We arrived but our luggage didn't. We were staying overnight at the airport and I was assured our luggage was on the next flight and it would be delivered later that night. Nothing. I called in the morning and our luggage was in Chicago with no ETA. My sister was hysterical, saying we couldn't go. I told her we'd go anyway and make do. I was stepping into the van to go to the pier when I got the call that our luggage was at the terminal. We passed it anyway, stopped, I grabbed our luggage and we were on our way.

This story isn't unusual and happens to people all the time. By all means, find the cheapest hotel you can but IMHO, it's penny-wise, pound-foolish to fly in embarkation day. I've booked hotels via Priceline many times and gotten great rates.

And don't save by not buying insurance. :)
 

GregT

Deckhand
I should have clarified that point - yes, of course if you've got a complicated flight with many connections it's risky to flight in on the same day. I simply meant use your own judgement depending on your circumstance. ;)
 

KeithnRita

Deckhand
When we drive to port we always get in a day early to rest. We also book hotels that include complementary parking for the duration of our cruise. The savings from port parking helps to offset some of the cost of our hotel.
 

sue87

Captain
I don't. Before we started cruising We took a yearly vacation in Maine. Drove up & back from Mass. Gas for the car. Rented a cottage, $1300 per week, bought groceries for the week & had to cook, clean, & wash clothes. Went out to eat & that was expensive. We do not have to fly to ports, we drive but not far. Do not have to buy groceries, clean, make beds, cook, wash clothes. Cruising takes us to different ports and as far as the extra costs you can control what you spend.
 

terrimerritts

Deckhand
It could be but our secret is to get someone to pay for us to go! For example, if a publisher friend needs someone to go somewhere to update travel info for a travel guide, we can get free travel (it is a deduction for the publisher) including transportation,hotel expenses, cruise, and on stops, , free admissions and meals to the places we are to evaluate. We don't drink alcohol so I imagine that is a huge savings for us nor do we go in for the pricier restaurants on the ships with choices. We carry along the things we need so not to buy them at ridiculous rates on board. For those who don't get their trip paid for, there are many ways to reduce costs.
 

Pam in CA

Captain
Terri, I agree. There are many ways to control spending on a cruise. I have maybe one drink a night and often, I just order the drink of the day for about $5. As Elite on Princess, I get a mini-bar set-up and can exchange that for anything I want. I usually exchange for cans of Sprite Zero. I also get unlimited free laundry and enough Internet minutes to stay in touch with family and friends (between 250-500 minutes.) I often take independent tours.

To me, one of the most important things to do to save money without giving up quality is to do your research. Ask questions. Check local tourism websites. You can have a great cruise without going bananas spending money.
 

dwburris

Deckhand
The only expensive cruise line for the masses I feel is Disney. You do get extras that the others don't give you. It's worth the splurge on occasion. Also the season makes a big difference in pricing. My wifre likes balconies which adds a lot to the price. If you watch for deals and will accept an inside cabin you can score. I once took a 7 day repositioning cruise on Princess for both of us for $911.00. Other than tips you control the onboard spending and I usually can find at least $100.00 OBC. We quit flying and drive now. We can cover all of the ports on the East coast in one or 2 days. Even with gas, hotels and food it's cheaper than flying. No hassles and we are relaxed since we take our time. We also arrive a day early with a cruise package at our hotel
 

FunnyFriend

Deckhand
Well they are actually really well priced. In the end, they are usually about $50 per night per person. With the plane tickets: Book early. Also, with the excursions there ARE cheaper ways to go about getting them.
 

cruiseluv

Deckhand
Depends on the cruise line and what deals you paid for. Sometimes the best deals are a week before the ship sails to book the rooms. If you don't charge extras to your room it is quite reasonable.
 
If you live near a departure port, you can take "last minute cruises" for a great price. I've seen it for as little as $30 per day. Of course it makes it tougher to plan and you have to have a flexible schedule.
 

PEB

Captain
Staff member
Cruising in itself is cheaper then renting hotel rooms paying for restaurants or bars IMHO. I think the thing that can make it seem so expensive is the fact that you use your boarding pass/room card for purchases onboard the ship. I think many people forget to keep an eye on how much they buy because it is so easy to just have them swipe your card.

The only way to keep any trip reasonable in price is to figure out your budget in advance and stick to it regardless of what type trip you take. You can plan for tips in advance, drinks and souveniers. The proplem is sticking to your budget.
 

BOOPSAHOY

Deckhand
I think you get the most bang for your buck on a cruise. We wont fly for a cruise anymore since they now go out of NY City. We are members of NCL Casino At Sea (CAS) and get a comped cabin which we upgrade to a suite for the cost of a regular cabin. The CAS program gives you a free drink card for the casino so we do all our drinking there except for maybe ne or 2 at the pool. We prepay out tours and since we have been on the same itinerary a few times we stay on the ship one of the island days and the other days we take the inexpensive beach tours and just relax. Weve done land vacations and when you add in the meal programs,airfare and the drinks they are at least 2x the cost of a cruise-maybe more.
 

haroldwilliams

Deckhand
I find cruises expensive because of the flights to the ports.I believe a lot depends on where you live. The idea of cruising has changed since I first started cruising years ago. At that time cruises went to a place with more time in port; nowadays there are a lot of ships in port and little time for single exploration. Excursions have become pricey.One some lines there are requests for double tipping.
The most negative aspect of cruising is that we have lost the idea of discretionary spending, but what can you expect when we have 50 million people on food stamps which is 1/6 of the US population. We need to make better use of our water resources, and encourage revitalization of ships to make cruising available for more people.
 

cactus8

Deckhand
Rex - The items mentioned in your post are not "hidden" expenses. They are everyday travel costs. A hidden expense would be one you weren't told about upfront and sort of springs up out of nowhere. Cruising can be expensive, it all depends on the destination, the cruiseline, and the time of year you travel. A lot of people don't realize that you don't have to pay the prices listed in brochures. I've been cruising since 1997 and I've never paid the brochure price for a cruise. With a little planning (and knowing your budget) you can get a good price on a cruise. These days some warehouse club travel services sell cruises (that's an automatic discount). I would never give up land vacations because I like to spend some time in different countries but when I'm in the mood (usually once a year) I love a cruise vacation.
 
Top