Cruising, saving money

We are cruising again!

man and woman holding hands walking on seashore during sunrise
Photo by Asad Photo Maldives

We set sail on a cruise to the Caribbean in a couple of days.  We were not planning on taking another trip this year, but a deal came along that we couldn’t didn’t want to pass up.  And, since we put money away just for these such occasions, we decided to go for it.

We will be sailing on Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam, which is a new cruise line for us. This trip was appealing mainly because we will be visiting four new locations: Key West, Half Moon Cay (their private island), Amber Cove, DR and Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos.

Because this is a ‘money’ blog, I thought I’d share our cost:

  • 8 day – 7 night Cruise (balcony cabin), taxes and fees w/drink package included for 2:  $2,100.00
  • Insurance: $200.00
  • Jetblue (2 roundtrip air fares to Ft. Lauderdale): $400.00
  • Gratuities: $203.00
  • Excursions: $100.00
  • Spending and tipping$: $300.00

Total: $3,303.00

What we won’t be spending money on:

  • Excursions in every port $300.00
  • Pre-cruise hotel $250.00
  • Upgrade in flight seats (since we are taking JetBlue – no need) $800.00
  • Pre-cruise meals $100.00
  • Shopping, drinks $250.00

“Savings”:  $1,800.00

My husband booked this trip as an early birthday present to me.  I’m looking forward to the time I get to spend with him and all the ‘new’ we will experience.  I can’t quite explain why my husband and I love to cruise, but I think it has something to do with unpacking once, visiting various islands, having delicious food prepared for us morning, noon and night, and various delightful entertainment every.single.night.

Of course sometimes our most joyous times on a ship are just watching the waves go by….

aerial photo of water waves
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

What’s not to like?

Sea you soon! xoxoxo

If you would like to follow along on our adventure, I will posting on Instagram at SeaYouSoonTravel.  Request to follow, and I’ll let you in! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Budgeting, Cruising

How much does a Caribbean Cruise really cost?

Over the past two and a half years, my husband and I have taken six cruises.  Yep, you might say we had caught the cruising ‘bug’ and went a bit crazy.  Our first cruise was in November, 2016 to the Western Caribbean and our most recent cruise was this past November to the Southern Caribbean.  We’ve cruised the Eastern Caribbean twice, and took a cruise from NYC to Canada. (It’s amazing how much money gets freed up when you are done paying for college! 🙂 )IMG_2627

My husband and I had a blast on these trips.  They were amazing.  But they weren’t cheap.

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We’ve discovered that there are many ‘hidden’ costs to cruising — everything from insurance, gratuities, and drinks to hotel stays, excursions and airline tickets.   In fact, my mind was blown when I realized I could have hired a cleaning lady every week for a year for the price we paid for one week in the Caribbean on a cruise.  Ouch. 

Below is a typical budget for an 8 day, 7 night Caribbean cruise on a mid priced cruise line for a balcony cabin for two.  I’ve included air fare and a one night hotel stay, because it’s always recommended to go a day early just in case something happens with your flight.  (The ship won’t wait for you.)  If you can drive to the port, lucky you! 🙂

 

A Sample Caribbean Cruise Budget

8 days, 7 nights – Balcony Cabin MidShip on Royal Caribbean’s  Harmony of the Seas in April.

  • Cruise for two/taxes:  $2,800.00
  • Gratuities ($14.50x2x7): $203.00
  • Insurance for two: $400.00
  • Roundtrip airfare for two (Coach): $1,100.00 (from DCA-MIA)
  • Hotel in Fl.: $150 – 250 (mid range)
  • Uber/Taxi/Tips: $50.00
  • Meals in Fl.: $50 – $100
  • Specialty Restaurants: $100 (You will want to try one of them, trust me)
  • Excursions: $100-$300 (This is on the low side if there are more than 2 ports)
  • Drinks on ship: $200 (This is what we’ve spent for sodas, water, mixed drinks)
  • Misc. tips: $50-$100
  • Spending money: $250-$500 (depending on how much you like to shop and/or gamble 😉 ).

                           TOTAL:  $6,103.00

(I haven’t included all the clothes, accessories, luggage, etc. you purchase before you go on the cruise, so figure another $250).

Are you shocked?  We were.  We usually pay for everything separately which gave us the illusion that the trip cost less than it actually did.

Of course you can cruise less expensively.  You can choose to cruise off-season.  You can cruise with another less expensive cruise line (i.e. Carnival).  You can drive to the port, get an inside cabin, never take an excursion, never eat in a specialty dining room or never purchase a souvenir. You can skip the insurance and stiff the help by not tipping.  Or something in between.  Your trip will still most likely cost $2,000.00 – $4,000.00.

So, is it worth the price? Only you can decide.

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For us, it was.  The time spent together and the memories that we made will be cherished forever.

The only difference is that now (since we know the true cost of cruising) we are being much more selective with our future cruising plans.

If you have cruised, please share! Did any expenses or the final cost surprise you?