Halloween Cruise

My girlfriend and I are going on a 5 day cruise Halloween week.  The cruise won’t be Halloween themed although I assume that their will be some type of Halloween festivities. It will be the first cruise for both my girlfriend and me.  It will also be my girlfriend’s first time out of the country. I think it will be a lot of fun.  Although I have had a lot of time away from home hiking it has been a long time since I’ve had a real vacation so I’m really looking forward to this trip.

This plan came about after my mother inquired whether we would want to go on a Christmas week cruise.  We could afford the Christmas week cruise, but the airfare basically doubled the cost of the trip.  One of the drawbacks of living in the middle of the country is that it is a long way to any ocean ports.  Driving would take about 13 hours which is more than I like driving and wouldn’t have given us much spare time before or after the trip.  We decided that the trip just wouldn’t work for us.

However, when researching cruise prices I noticed that cruise prices for the end of this month were less than half of what they were for Christmas week.  The savings allowed us to book the cruise and buy round-trip air for less than the price of just the cruise for Christmas week.  The cruise and airfare together are only costing us about $550 each.  There will be more expenses such as gratuities, airport parking, airport shuttle, and activities which will add another $200 or so.  It will still be a fairly cheap vacation.

Even though the trip is fairly cheap it will make it quite a bit harder to meet my goals of saving 50% of my income and keeping my expenses below $1274 a month.  I still have some bonus money from my travel rewards card that I will use to pay for part of the trip.  I want to pay for the trip out of money earned rather than dipping into my savings.  My current plan is to ramp up my mystery shopping and selling stuff this month in order to pay for the rest of the trip.  That will be a challenge since I haven’t come close to earning that much from these sources.  I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

Do you have any tips on saving money on a cruise or any other tips to make the cruise more enjoyable?

13 thoughts on “Halloween Cruise”

  1. DON’T DRINK SODA…it’s really expensive! Make do with tea, coffee, lemonade and water — and have a soft drink when you get off the boat.

    Don’t let the cruise people schedule any of your trips off the boat. You can do that yourself just fine via the Internet. Cheaper and more enjoyable.

    Take advantage of room service, if you’re planning on leaving early off the boat. Go back for lunch, if you’re close enough, and ask for a later seating for dinner. That gives you time to explore off the boat, yet enjoy the evening meal, as well.

    Make friends with one of the servers or cooks — they can often tell you what’s especially good that night, and make the item especially to your needs.

    Don’t gamble – odds are terrible on these ships.

    And the coffee — the only good stuff was at the coffee bars. The coffee at the buffets generally tasted like instant. If you like that sort of thing, you’ll be fine…

    Things we especially enjoyed:
    *high tea in the afternoon (if they offer it)
    *any classes – pick your favorite subject
    *movies at night on deck – they provide blankets and hot popcorn

    Relax and enjoy yourselves — life can wait until you get off the boat.

  2. We have cruised about 5-6 times and the off season is when there are bargains. A repositioning cruise for example is pretty inexpensive. If you are not familiar with those, it occurs at the beginning or end of a season when the ship goes to another area. Another thought is avoid the ship’s tours and book your own.

  3. Waiting on debarkation for my cruise as I write this. I found a credit card arbitrage onboard. I withdrew funds from my sail and sign acct from slot machines and cashed out. Keep the cash and the slot funds are charged to your credit card with no fees. Earned about $75 in rewards this cruise.

    If flying out of Kansas City the cheapest parking I found is at the Clarion. About $4 per day.

    You can take 2 bottles of wine and some soda onboard. Drinks onboard are overpriced.

    Most ports you will find free wifi somewhere.

    • We will probably get a ride to the airport, but if not I’ll keep the Clarion in mind. Withdrawing funds from the slot machines sounds like a good way to earn some extra rewards. I’d be worried that my credit card would treat it as a cash advance though.

  4. I would plan for a whole lot more than 200 for tips, drinks, and excursions. Tips alone could be 200. Excursions for us were 350 per person.

    • That is $200 each. Tips will be $115 for both of us. Although, I know there will be a little more tipping for porters and such that shouldn’t add much. We only have two stops and are booking tours ourselves to save money. The $200 might be a little low, if I need to spend more I will.

  5. We have been on two carnival cruises and I’ve written trip cost reports on both. You can get a good idea of what things cost from someone who tries not to spend a ton of extra money on a cruise ship 🙂

    Here they are:

    7 day honeymoon cruise – http://www.moneylifeandmore.com/how-much-our-honeymoon-7-day-carnival-cruise-cost-us-part-1-4890/
    5 day first cruise ever – http://www.moneylifeandmore.com/how-much-a-cheap-cruise-really-costs-1605/


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