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palavra
05-18-2010, 06:35 PM
Can a cruise be a budget vacation? I don't mean bare bones, but economical. We have a budget of about $1800.00. Will we be able to do anything more than a short cruise to the Bahamas?

4Seasons
05-18-2010, 06:40 PM
How many people are you talking about and are you just meaning the cruise price only and no excursions, airfare, pre/post cruise hotel, insurance?

abmitch01
05-18-2010, 06:40 PM
I've done many reasonable cruises in the off season to Bermuda. I like those because I live on the East coast and can drive to the ports in NYC or Boston, thus saving airfare. Cruisecompete.com has travel agents compete and they give you their best offers.

abmitch01
05-18-2010, 06:42 PM
I don't do many excursions through the cruise line. Depending on where you go, you can make out better booking directly on the island.

We get inside cabins, too to save money.

4Seasons
05-18-2010, 06:53 PM
We did Costa for spring break this year, 2 adults and 2 teens. They had kids sail free (just had to pay tax/port charges on them).
Sailed in an inside I3 stateroom, our cruise fare for all 4 including tax was $1415. Our gratuities were somewhere around $180. We didn't do any organized excursions just preplanned and did our own thing. Went shopping in St. Thomas, walked to El Morro (fort) in Old San Juan then walked the city and had lunch, in Nassau I went to Sandals while hubby and kids went to Cable Beach.
I'm not a huge fan of Costa, it was ok but I probably wouldn't sail them again.
MSC Cruises has kids sail free.

palavra
05-18-2010, 06:54 PM
Sorry that I didn't give more information. We are a family of three-2 forty somethings and an 8 year old. We live in Georgia, so we are within driving distance of several ports-Tampa, Port Canaveral, Charleston, Mobile and possibly even Miami.

doxdogy
05-18-2010, 07:06 PM
Also don't forget that you can also leave from Jacksonville. It all depends how long, what time of year, cabin type.

youcansmellit
05-18-2010, 07:38 PM
We have been thinking of doing another cruise. The last one we did on Princess was out of control. It was just under $7000. We went all out but we have been hesitant since. If it would be possible for us to do a 7 day cruise under $2000 I would be ecstatic!:banana:

Mom2aGoofyBoy
05-18-2010, 08:56 PM
We are a family of 3 as well and just got back from a 7 day cruise on carnival out of port canaveral a few weeks ago. We used cruise compete and got for an inside room it was about $1450. That doesn't include tips ($10/person/day) or excursions. We didn't do any ship excursions, we walked to the pirate museum in Nassau, took a cab to the beach in Saint Thomas, and did a island tour in St. Martin- maybe $200 total.

I you are ok with a shorter cruise we have done the 5 day out of Jacksonville a well, I have seen those down about $300/pp.

It definitely can be done, to kep everyone happy we do 2 vacations a year (disney and a cruise) so I try to keep them both to a budget! Have fun planning!

Julia

HeatherC
05-19-2010, 05:17 AM
You can definitely do an nice cruise for that amount. I just did a 5 day Royal Caribbean cruise to Bermuda for under $400!

You should visit cruisecritic.com to check out the forum boards and ship reviews. It's like the DIS for cruising.

Also check out sites like travelzoo to find out the latest weekly deals.

Once you have a ship picked out, use cruisecompete to have agents give you their best offer. You can always get at least a shipboard credit that can help pay your bar bill.

I think cruising is a very good value for a family. We are doing a 9 night cruise over Thanksgiving for five of us for $3500 total! That includes all our tips and meals. I think that's a great value.

Have fun researching!

louey
05-19-2010, 08:31 AM
I've done many reasonable cruises in the off season to Bermuda. I like those because I live on the East coast and can drive to the ports in NYC or Boston, thus saving airfare. Cruisecompete.com has travel agents compete and they give you their best offers.

May I ask how the cruises out of New York are? A cruise to Bermuda is something I want to do and being able to drive to the port is a definately plus. I don't think Carnival does any from NY only Royal which cruise line did you go on. Thanks, sorry for all the questions :)

fletchers5
05-19-2010, 09:07 AM
Palavra.....Yes you could easily do a cruise for 3 for that amount..which would include everything. The one thing you didn't post is the time of year you would like to go. First off..summer is the most expensive. If you can cruise in Sept or Oct or early spring...those times are the least expensive. I have cruised many times and normally do the spring or fall. I have cruised as cheap as $250.00 per person to $600.00 per person. Inside cabins are the cheapest and my way of thinking is " you are never in your room anyways". Go onto Carnivals website and start putting in the port you would like to leave from..the month and see what comes up. When you find a cruise that looks good go to cruisecompete dot com. Plug in the info and all the travel agents will quote you. You will get some great prices that way.

We usually don't do the exursions..I do alot of investigating on the net and find out what there is do on the islands and we wing it that way. Always have had a GREAT time. If you go to cruisecritic dot com..they have loads of information about each port.

fletchers5
05-19-2010, 09:14 AM
Loury.....about Bermuda....MY FAVORITE CRUISE...we have gone twice. Both times though were out of Boston. Norweigan Cruise Line seems to be the best price for Bermuda. Bermuda is always a little more expensive than your caribbean cruises.

You will leave port and sail for 2 days...arrive in Bermuda and the ship stays in port for 3 days. You use it as a floating hotel. Come and go as you please. WONDERFUL....on other cruises you may get to 3 islands but only have 6 to 10 hours on each island. Never seems like enough time. With staying in Bermuda for 3 days you REALLY get to see the whole island.

The best time to cruise to Bermuda in my opinion is September or October. First of all because it is CHEAPER in these months and also the WATER is WARM. You need to realize that Bermuda is basically straight across from North Carolina so the weather seems to be the same. The water has all summer to warm up. Going in April or May the water may not be warm enough to swim. Going in the summer months is Expensive.

Another great thing about Bermuda is the fact that Nobody bothers you. They don't drag you into their shops...they leave you alone. They are very friendly. I have been to 7 different islands and what a difference there is.

On the other hand....for shopping Bermuda is expensive. They ship everything in from the states. So if you are looking for a great port for shopping Bermuda is not the place to go. You go for the BEAUTY of it..the relaxation of the island.

Bermuda is always my top choice for Cruising.

Bren's Mom
05-19-2010, 09:24 AM
Absolutely you can do it with that budget!

There's a 5 night Western Caribbean from Tampa. Radiance of the Seas, Royal Caribbean. Leaves October 30th. Total for all 3 people, $1,367.78, that's in a balcony stateroom. It would be much less for an inside or non-balcony outside stateroom.

Add to that your costs for drinks and excursions plus gas to get to Tampa.

Oh, or even better. A 7 day on Carnival's Legend from Jacksonville on November 14th is $539 pp for a balcony...although I can't seem to find the 3rd person charge.

fletchers5
05-19-2010, 10:13 AM
Carnival Inspiration
5 night western out of Tamp
October 4th
Inside cabin

Total $855.52 includes taxes and port charges



Carnival Valor
7 Night out of Miami
October 17th
Inside cabin

Total $1171.00


Both of these are from Priceline...you can do even better if you go to cruisecompete.com

HeatherC
05-19-2010, 10:47 AM
The 5 day Bermuda cruise I just did was out of New Jersey on Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas. It is a Voyager Class ship....rock climbing walls, ice skating, inline skating, etc..

These are awesome ships for families with kids.

This was our 3rd time on a voyager ship and we just booked the same ship for 9 nights over Thanksgiving. Can't wait!

You can go to RoyalCaribbean.com and do a virtual tour of their ships.

Hope this helps!

abmitch01
05-19-2010, 12:08 PM
I can't remember what the port was called out of NY (it was NCL), but I do recall there is parking right there and the process was easy. I've done the Boston with NCL to Bermuda cruise 3x. I think getting on and off and home was easier from there even though I am closer to NY. But there wasn't a huge difference.

4Seasons
05-19-2010, 12:44 PM
May I ask how the cruises out of New York are? A cruise to Bermuda is something I want to do and being able to drive to the port is a definately plus. I don't think Carnival does any from NY only Royal which cruise line did you go on. Thanks, sorry for all the questions :)

For 2011 Carnival has expanded their Northeast departures to Bermuda:

Carnival's 2011 Bermuda departures include:

Baltimore (7-day cruises on the Carnival Pride) - April 10 and 17, September 18, October 2 and November 6.
New York (7 and 8-day departures on the Carnival Miracle) - April 14 and 21, and September 11 and 27.
Norfolk (6-day sailing on the Carnival Glory) - October 16.
Charleston (6-day voyages on the Carnival Fantasy) - April 23, May 19, June 16, August 25, September 15 and October 6.

Acklander
05-19-2010, 12:59 PM
We're able to drive to the ports as well, so we wait until about 3 weeks before the cruise to book and have gotten some fantastic deals. Check some of the cruise specialists websites for an idea of how much it would cost by waiting until the last minute.

4Seasons
05-19-2010, 01:27 PM
Holland America just released some fall dates with 3rd/4th passengers are free (just pay tax).

I just booked a quad category VF4 balcony stateroom for us (myself, hubby and 2 teens) for $1915 total (Dec. 12 sailing)

This is on the Nieuw Amsterdam, their ship coming into service this July.

AllesonWonderland
05-19-2010, 05:08 PM
Sorry that I didn't give more information. We are a family of three-2 forty somethings and an 8 year old. We live in Georgia, so we are within driving distance of several ports-Tampa, Port Canaveral, Charleston, Mobile and possibly even Miami.

I'm jealous of how many ports you can drive to! ;) Our first cruise we had to fly because we lived in the Midwest. Now we can drive to Galveston or New Orleans. Our budget buster is that we have to go over Spring Break or in the summer so as to not take the kids out of school. I'm planning a cruise for next spring break and it's going to cost more than our Disney vacations have. :headache: But, since there are only 3 of you, if you have some flexibility I'm guessing you could snag a good deal. Have fun researching!

Chelley00
05-19-2010, 08:35 PM
May I ask how the cruises out of New York are? A cruise to Bermuda is something I want to do and being able to drive to the port is a definately plus. I don't think Carnival does any from NY only Royal which cruise line did you go on. Thanks, sorry for all the questions :)

We did a 9 day Princess out of NYC in June for our anniversary (Bermuda, St Thomas, Puerto Rico and Grand Turk). We had a GREAT time and would do it again in a heartbeat. Our next cruise we want to do just a Bermuda stay and will probably go with NCL or RCL since they get to Bermuda and dock there for a couple of nights.

4Seasons
05-19-2010, 09:01 PM
We did a 9 day Princess out of NYC in June for our anniversary (Bermuda, St Thomas, Puerto Rico and Grand Turk). We had a GREAT time and would do it again in a heartbeat. Our next cruise we want to do just a Bermuda stay and will probably go with NCL or RCL since they get to Bermuda and dock there for a couple of nights.

All your 5 and 7 night Bermuda cruises dock for a couple of nights there.

Holland does 7 night Bermuda from NY and Carnival will do select dates next year as well.

MrsPete
05-20-2010, 07:20 PM
Can a cruise be a budget vacation? I don't mean bare bones, but economical. We have a budget of about $1800.00. Will we be able to do anything more than a short cruise to the Bahamas?Three of you . . . one an eight-year old. Yes, you can do that, but you must make the right choices to do it:

First, you have to choose off-season. I love fall for cruising. Yes, it's hurricane season, but you'll never be in any danger. As long as you can get TO THE SHIP, you'll cruise. If weather is a problem, the captain has the authority to take you to a different area to avoid the hurricane.

I happen to like Royal Caribbean, so I checked their website. I picked Liberty of the Seas, which is one of their biggest, relatively new ships (they have older ships too, but I personally like the newer, larger ships with all the amenities). If you go mid-October in an interior room, you can all three cruise for $1598. Oh, and that's for a 7-night cruise.

Or the three of you can sail on Grandeur of the Seas for 4-nights for $947, but that's an older ship with fewer niceties. And it's 4 nights instead of 7.

We're cruising in July for a GREAT price: Balcony cabins for $799/person -- but that's one of the best prices I've ever seen. The best way to get a good price is to book waaaaay in advance and keep looking for price drops. They'll match a new lower price, but you have to call in and ask for it.

Those price will include your cruise ticket, most of your food, basic drinks (but not alcohol or soda), and most entertainment. It'll give you access to most amenities on the ship: the pools, the ice skating rink, the evening shows, the screening room, the sports deck, dancing areas, and more.

Keep in mind that isn't EVERYTHING that you'll need for a cruise:

You must set aside tip money for the people who wait on you. Plan on $11/person/day. Unavoidable.
You'll be driving to port, which is a big money-saver, but you'll need to park. Parking runs $15-20/day at the port. Unavoidable.
You'll probably want to do something on the days you stop in ports. You can just visit the nearest beach, or you can spend $$$ to do great things like swim with dolphins, horseback ride, or tour lovely cities. This is a place you can spend as much or as little as you like.
Most people spend something on alcohol, the casino, and photographs on a cruise. You can also spend $$$ on the spa, specialty restaurants, and other extras onboard. Or you can spend literally nothing on these things and still have a blast.

MrsPete
05-20-2010, 07:26 PM
I'm jealous of how many ports you can drive to! ;) Honestly, living close enough to drive to the port is the only reason we can afford to cruise. We live near a very expensive airport, and airfare for the whole family can be almost as much as the cruise. So we drive. No matter how far it is.

momoflizandains
05-20-2010, 07:56 PM
I, too, am looking for ideas on cruising on a budget. I am dying to take one, but they seem to add up fast. How do so many people afford the Disney cruises? That's what I really want but have a hard time with the cash.

Thanks for the ideas.

SnowWhite2
05-20-2010, 08:04 PM
I loved my cruise to Bermuda. We went 6 years ago with NCL. Left from Philly. Spent one night in St George and then 3 days in Hamilton (downtown). I want to go again but I want to be in Hamilton. Any cruise ships dock there anymore? I really don't want to dock at Kings Wharf. Too far out of the way.

Worfiedoodles
05-21-2010, 06:34 AM
One more cruise cost you probably weren't considering -- and not a big one -- but you do have to pay for soda. You can usually get some sort of package for each person, just something to figure in. Also, if you're on a ship with specialy restaurants, you will probably want to eat in some, and there is an additional charge for that -- or the coffee bar, juice/smoothie bar, etc. We are not big drinkers at all, but we always end up with more costs that you would have thought for incidentals. You can't take food or drinks off the ship, so you will probably have some costs when you are docked, too.

We still think cruising is a great value!

Maria :upsidedow

need2cruise
05-21-2010, 07:42 AM
On Carnival they allow you to take soda on and your room steward will keep ice in your room to keep them cold. We aren't huge soda drinkers, but we took a 6 pack of the bottles on and it was nice to have if we wanted something besides the water/juice/coffee.

I also vote for fall months! Weather is in high 70's-80's....PERFECT!!! Well, perfect for me since I live in the cold state and anytime to travel to anywere above 30 is great!

Last year, our total cruise price in Nov was $1200-$1300. This covered our 5 night cruise on Carnival, 2 round trip airfares, 1 checked bag, excursions for both of us at 2 stops, some alcohol, tips and a hotel the night before our cruise (plus taxi fees to/from the port). I found a great deal through cruisecompete.......lucked into 2 roundtrip airfares for a total of $238 for both......so it came together nicely! Wish I could get these rates often! lol