Best cruise

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gvsucavie03
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Best cruise

Post by gvsucavie03 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:50 pm

My wife and I are starting to plan for a cruise. This will likely be 5-10 years out. We need to start looking at options to get a realistic budget and then set destination and other things we'd like to do.

First, we are paying cash (credit card, pay off immediately). No home equity loans, etc.

Second, I'm in the mid 5-figure income range, so budget is a factor.

Third, 5 days to a week would be great. Carribean?

What should be a realistic budget for us? What destination/length of time should we be able to do? Any resources you've used that you could share?

Thanks!

adamthesmythe
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Re: Best cruise

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:59 pm

This is kinda like saying "what car should I buy. By the way, I will buy it 5 years from now."

The choice depends enormously on what you like. The range is from Disney cruises for families to Antarctic adventure cruises. (Personally I would do almost anything to not go on a Disney cruise). I would start by haunting cruisecritic.com.

My impression is that moderate-priced Caribbean cruises will be in the 1K/person range for a week or so, not including extras. Never done that myself (my only cruise was in the Arctic).

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dm200
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Re: Best cruise

Post by dm200 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:07 pm

gvsucavie03 wrote:My wife and I are starting to plan for a cruise. This will likely be 5-10 years out. We need to start looking at options to get a realistic budget and then set destination and other things we'd like to do.
First, we are paying cash (credit card, pay off immediately). No home equity loans, etc.
Second, I'm in the mid 5-figure income range, so budget is a factor.
Third, 5 days to a week would be great. Carribean?
What should be a realistic budget for us? What destination/length of time should we be able to do? Any resources you've used that you could share?
Thanks!
My wife and I have taken two cruises to Bermuda. That is a great 5-7 day cruise. It depends on whether you want to be at sea for a few days or not. I liked being at sea so that was one advantage (for me). Bermuda is great - clean, nice beaches, safe.

We spent almost no extra money for anything. We don't gamble, so the ship casino got zero. We do not drink much alcohol, so those charges were trivial. Unlike the Caribbean, the Bermuda cruise season is in the summer (spring to fall).

Where do you live? Getting to and from the ports that go to Bermuda might be a cost issue. Baltimore, New York City and Northern New Jersey, Philadelphia and Boston are the most common ports for these cruises.

From the first cruise (where we paid for a mid priced cabin) we learned that the lowest priced cabin was the most economical. As the date approached, we were upgraded (at no charge). With air conditioning, I would not pay extra for an outside cabin either.

amphora
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Re: Best cruise

Post by amphora » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:30 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:This is kinda like saying "what car should I buy. By the way, I will buy it 5 years from now."

I would start by haunting cruisecritic
Lol :D Perfect comparison
+1 for Cruise Critic and there are plenty of last minute deals for non-peak weeks. As for what cruise line, it depends on what's you're looking for. Some are party central or family friendly, while others are like floating nursing homes.

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Steelersfan
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Re: Best cruise

Post by Steelersfan » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:41 pm

Here's another cruise board, with an entire section just for first time cruisers: http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/

awval999
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Re: Best cruise

Post by awval999 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:56 pm

I don't think you need to save for 5-10 years to pay for a basic cruise to the Carribean. They really aren't that expensive.

You'll easily be able to get a 7 day cruise for ~$1000 for two people. Add some excursions and spending money, some cheap flights to FLL or Miami you can do it for $2000.

123
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Re: Best cruise

Post by 123 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:03 pm

Five year planning horizon for a cruise? If price is important to you the Caribbean Cruises in the summer are often much less expensive then those in the winter. If you book a cruise too early you pay a higher price as often prices decline as you approach sailing date but this varies by line. You've got lots of time to watch the cruise pricing cycles and see what works best for you. Depending on the cruise you take it's quite possible for the costs (airlines) of getting back and forth to the ship to exceed the cost of the cruise itself. For a first cruise you might want to consider a cruise that's economical to get to, or pick one where you fly to a distant point to join the cruise and the ship returns you closer to home.
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Johio
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Re: Best cruise

Post by Johio » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:04 pm

We took a week long cruise last summer to Alaska. Loved it. Spent a lot of time on cruisecritic.com, very helpful. Life is short, don't wait 5 years...go now...

tibbitts
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Re: Best cruise

Post by tibbitts » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:13 pm

You don't say where you're starting from. If you have to fly halfway around the world to reach the departure or return port that will influence the price of your cruise. It will also dramatically impact the cost-effectiveness of last-minute cruises. Saving $1000 on a cruise and paying $1000 for last-minute airfare doesn't help you.

ModifiedDuration
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Re: Best cruise

Post by ModifiedDuration » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:23 pm

amphora wrote:
adamthesmythe wrote:This is kinda like saying "what car should I buy. By the way, I will buy it 5 years from now."

I would start by haunting cruisecritic
Lol :D Perfect comparison
+1 for Cruise Critic and there are plenty of last minute deals for non-peak weeks. As for what cruise line, it depends on what's you're looking for. Some are party central or family friendly, while others are like floating nursing homes.
+2 for Cruise Critic

delamer
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Re: Best cruise

Post by delamer » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:24 pm

We paid $3500 for two people for a five-day Caribbean cruise in February. This total includes airfare, one night in a hotel prior to the cruise, cruise fare, $25/day gratuities (covers cabin steward, dining room service, assorted others), drinks (soda, wine, coffee bar), and transfer to ship from hotel. We did no shore excursions. This is a middle-of-the-road line, and a cabin with a veranda.

As others have said, depending on the destination, length of cruise, and line, prices will vary a lot. We are doing a European cruise this summer for 12 days on a higher-end line that will run about $20,000 including shore excursions.

EDIT: Expedia or one of the other online sites is a good way to do comparisons of various cruises, and shows the variety of options of prices, locations, etc.

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friar1610
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Re: Best cruise

Post by friar1610 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:05 pm

I would suggest that you first decide what locations you are interested in seeing. Then figure out if those locations are primarily served by ocean or river cruises. (You should also do some research to understand how the two differ from each other.) There are an almost infinite number of possibilities for cruising but narrowing them down, I seems to me, starts with answering the questions, "Where do you wanna go?" "What do you wanna see?"
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gvsucavie03
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Re: Best cruise

Post by gvsucavie03 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:08 pm

Wow, great info!!

I live in central Michigan, so yes, airfare will add quite a bit more. I figure closer to $4,000 by the time we budget for the cruise itself, airfare and extras.

Maybe 15 year anniversary... We are doing a Chicago weekend this year for our 10th. I'm a teacher, so yes, this is a pretty luxurious item.

I'll take a look at all of the links posted. Thanks for the ideas!

gvsucavie03
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Re: Best cruise

Post by gvsucavie03 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:09 pm

friar1610 wrote:I would suggest that you first decide what locations you are interested in seeing. Then figure out if those locations are primarily served by ocean or river cruises. (You should also do some research to understand how the two differ from each other.) There are an almost infinite number of possibilities for cruising but narrowing them down, I seems to me, starts with answering the questions, "Where do you wanna go?" "What do you wanna see?"
Carribean and AK have always intersted me. Wife mentioned northern Europe.

tibbitts
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Re: Best cruise

Post by tibbitts » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:21 pm

gvsucavie03 wrote:Wow, great info!!

I live in central Michigan, so yes, airfare will add quite a bit more. I figure closer to $4,000 by the time we budget for the cruise itself, airfare and extras.

Maybe 15 year anniversary... We are doing a Chicago weekend this year for our 10th. I'm a teacher, so yes, this is a pretty luxurious item.

I'll take a look at all of the links posted. Thanks for the ideas!
Being a teacher you are very constrained as to when you can travel. Provides the dates when you can travel (obviously varies a few days by year, but roughly) and you may get more useful replies.

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Re: Best cruise

Post by LadyGeek » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:25 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (cruise).
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tennisplyr
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Re: Best cruise

Post by tennisplyr » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:29 pm

Things can change in a big way in 5 to 10 years, but you know that. These sites might be helpful when your ready:

http://www.vacationstogo.com
http://www.cruise.com

My wife and don't particularly like Carnival though we're in our midsixties.
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

gvsucavie03
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Re: Best cruise

Post by gvsucavie03 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:32 pm

tibbitts wrote:
gvsucavie03 wrote:Wow, great info!!

I live in central Michigan, so yes, airfare will add quite a bit more. I figure closer to $4,000 by the time we budget for the cruise itself, airfare and extras.

Maybe 15 year anniversary... We are doing a Chicago weekend this year for our 10th. I'm a teacher, so yes, this is a pretty luxurious item.

I'll take a look at all of the links posted. Thanks for the ideas!
Being a teacher you are very constrained as to when you can travel. Provides the dates when you can travel (obviously varies a few days by year, but roughly) and you may get more useful replies.
Probably Christmas break since our anniversary is in January. Late June could be fine. Don't want spring break... I'd like some time to breathe.

Gill
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Re: Best cruise

Post by Gill » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:39 pm

Unless you enjoy hundreds of kids, of all ages, you might want to avoid sailings during Christmas break.
Gill

mattshwink
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Re: Best cruise

Post by mattshwink » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:41 pm

$4,000 is a decent budget. I have been on seven cruises, Caribbean, Alaska, Canada, and Northern Europe.

Favorite Itinerary is Alaska, followed by Northern Europe. Favorite Caribbean is Southern, though we had to leave from Puerto Rico.

Cruise fares vary greatly, from small inside rooms to large multi-room suites. I am a big fan of balconies, as I like spending my mornings/evenings on it. But all modern ships have lots of good public vantage points. If you are stretching your budget an inside room (no windows) is of course the cheapest.

The week before/after Christmas is very popular and expensive, typically. Still, you can sometimes find deals. Alaska only runs May-August. Same with Northern European Itinerary. You generally will be limited (which still has lots of options for Islands).

Cruise Critic has a wealth of information, as stated.

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Will do good
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Re: Best cruise

Post by Will do good » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:51 pm

If you travel in January after school are back in session you could spend no more than around $300 PP on airfare, inside rooms for $600 PP or less. Skip the shore excursions hang out by the ports and beaches and your whole week could be $1000 or less per person. Don't wait 5 years. Our cheapest 1 week cruise was $380PP :beer

GTBuzz
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Re: Best cruise

Post by GTBuzz » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:57 pm

My wife and I did a Disney cruise without kids, and it was much preferable to a cheaper Carnival cruise without kids. For example, both cruise lines have adult-only relaxation areas. On Carnival, they're filled with noisy, drinking college kids. On Disney, they're essentially empty (since most are there as a family) and it makes for a much better experience. Disney also does unique things such as rotating dining rooms, and fireworks at sea (the other cruise line ships will gather to watch from a distance). More expensive yes, but I wouldn't completely write Disney off as an option even if you don't have kiddos.

tech_arch
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Re: Best cruise

Post by tech_arch » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:57 pm

gvsucavie03 wrote:
Probably Christmas break since our anniversary is in January. Late June could be fine. Don't want spring break... I'd like some time to breathe.
Unfortunately holiday cruises are generally more expensive, but your job doesn't leave you much leeway. As somebody who averages a cruise per year, here are some broad generalities:
  • Interior rooms aren't bad if you don't need a lot of space and like to explore/enjoy the ship. I do prefer balconies, though they are a bit pricier. Consider the weather of when/where you travel to see if a balcony would make sense
  • European cruises can be cheaper than Caribbean, but the airfare difference might make it a wash for you
  • Alaska is gorgeous for scenery. Caribbean is great for beaches, snorkeling, and diving
  • Newer ships are pricier than older ships, though the amenities can make up for it; it all depends on your priorities.
  • Different lines have different reputations and target audiences. Disney offers expensive family trips; Carnival and Royal Caribbean are better for budget-minded families; Celebrity and Princess are a bit more upscale; and the list goes on.
Overall, I'd start with the destination and timing to get a feel for what's available and then pick a budget and line.

Note that the cruising season for Alaska is May - September so you won't find anything in December.

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dm200
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Re: Best cruise

Post by dm200 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:04 pm

gvsucavie03 wrote:Wow, great info!!
I live in central Michigan, so yes, airfare will add quite a bit more. I figure closer to $4,000 by the time we budget for the cruise itself, airfare and extras.
Maybe 15 year anniversary... We are doing a Chicago weekend this year for our 10th. I'm a teacher, so yes, this is a pretty luxurious item.
I'll take a look at all of the links posted. Thanks for the ideas!
Summer is the best time for Bermuda cruises. Could you drive to and from one of the ports that have Bermuda cruises? Perhaps combine the cruise with a day or two in the particular port city?
BWI airport (for Baltimore cruises) is served by Southwest airlines and that airport has among the lowest fares in the area.Southwest flies to/from BWI and Detroit.

Do you need/want to spend a lot on "extras"?

Do you need/want anything more than the "basic", lowest cost, inside cabin?

If you go to Bermuda, try to have moring and evening meals (already paid for) on the ship.

Depending on which place you dock in Bermuda, learn to use the low cost bus system to get to/from lots of places, such as the beach.

tibbitts
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Re: Best cruise

Post by tibbitts » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:12 pm

Will do good wrote:If you travel in January after school are back in session you could spend no more than around $300 PP on airfare, inside rooms for $600 PP or less. Skip the shore excursions hang out by the ports and beaches and your whole week could be $1000 or less per person. Don't wait 5 years. Our cheapest 1 week cruise was $380PP :beer
OP is a teacher - after school is back in session is not an option, nor (according to the stated schedule) are options like shoulder-season Alaska cruises.

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Watty
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Re: Best cruise

Post by Watty » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:38 pm

awval999 wrote:You'll easily be able to get a 7 day cruise for ~$1000 for two people. Add some excursions and spending money, some cheap flights to FLL or Miami you can do it for $2000.
+1


I am not a "cruise person" but I have gotten a greatly discounted cruise at this web site.

http://vacationstogo.com/

I think we paid about $350 each for a four night cruise to the Bahamas and few other stops. Since we were on a short cruise we found that we spent very little time in our room so there would have been little advantage to us in paying extra for an upgraded room.

I just looked and you could get similar cruises for even less if you are flexible on when and where you go.

There will be additional fees for tips and drinks. Many of the people that work on cruises are from third world countries and basically work for tips so I would budget for giving the recommended tip.

Some people really love cruises and other people are "so so" on them so it would be good to take a somewhat modest cruise first before saving up for years for a cruise of a lifetime that might not be what you are expecting.

One thing I do not like about cruises is that typically you get a limited time in each port when you could easily spend several days at each stop. The excursions that the cruise line sell have always seemed very overpriced to me.
gvsucavie03 wrote:Wife mentioned northern Europe
Northern Europe can be crazy expensive but most of Southern Europe, especially outside of the big cities, can be very affordable especially since the dollar is high right now. I went to Spain last year and never paid more than $100 a night for a hotel and all of them were fine and some of them were very nice places.

It sounds like the budget is a big concern for you (me too!) so here are two possible alternatives to cruises that I have done.

There are ferries that go all over the Greek Islands and in the middle of September the low season hits even though the weather is still very nice. The hotels prices drop dramatically and you can easily find nice hotels for around $50 a night or less that would be around $200 a night in the high season. You could do something like fly into Athens then take the ferry to Paros, Santorini, Naxos, day trip to Delos and Mykonos, and return to Athens for a few days. There are lots of variations on what you could do over there. At that time of year you you could just make most of your hotel reservations a day or two ahead of time to have a lot of flexibility. The hotels in Athens will be more expensive but you would only have a few days there. You would want to save Athens for return since the ferries can sometimes be delayed with mechanical problems or wind. If you went as soon as school lets out you might be able to find similar deals in early June but I am not sure what the weather would be like then.

Another option instead of taking an Alaskan Cruise would be to fly up to Juneau then take the Alaskan Ferry to other small cities up there. That would not be as inexpensive as Greece but you would have a lot longer time in each of the cities than the people on the cruise ships.

You might want to go on and get your passports since that can take a while and it would be good to have them just in case some unexpected good deal comes up.

tic
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Re: Best cruise

Post by tic » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:47 pm

+ 9 for Cruise Critic.

Some people who have never cruised seem to have a generic picture of "a cruise" which is essentially the same regardless of destination. I would just note that Alaskan cruises are quite unlike Caribbean cruises. In Alaska, since you are cruising the coast, you have a view of mountains/glaciers/waterfalls/whales/etc. essentially the whole cruise. The weather, even in summer, is typically cool (I was never without a jacket during our June cruise), so there may be no sunbathing or swimming or other things you might picture as "typical" cruise activities. It's more of a sit-on-deck-under-blanket-while-reading-with-binoculars-at-the-ready type of trip. In the Caribbean, the "view" while cruising is often an open ocean. The weather is, of course, hot. If you are the kind of couple who did a honeymoon in a cabin in the mountains, Alaska is probably your destination. If you went to the beach, the Caribbean is probably it.

Take a look at Vacationstogo's 90 day ticker. If you look at this time of year, you can get an idea for what "real" prices are for any destination for a summer cruise, which should help with budgeting. One nice thing about the Caribbean is you can leave out of several ports, so airfare can be had more cheaply.

You'll have to come back to this thread in 5 years and tell us how it was!

bfinners23
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Re: Best cruise

Post by bfinners23 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:59 am

GTBuzz wrote:My wife and I did a Disney cruise without kids, and it was much preferable to a cheaper Carnival cruise without kids. For example, both cruise lines have adult-only relaxation areas. On Carnival, they're filled with noisy, drinking college kids. On Disney, they're essentially empty (since most are there as a family) and it makes for a much better experience. Disney also does unique things such as rotating dining rooms, and fireworks at sea (the other cruise line ships will gather to watch from a distance). More expensive yes, but I wouldn't completely write Disney off as an option even if you don't have kiddos.
I second this as well. Don't write off a Disney Cruise because you think of kids when you hear Disney. I'm 24 and went on one last year with my girlfriend and there's plenty of "adult only" pools and entertainment. You really aren't swarmed by kids like you would be at an amusement park. The food is good and the ship and amenities are top notch like you'd expect.

cjcerny
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Re: Best cruise

Post by cjcerny » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:13 am

You can get a 5 day cruise for $350 a person if you shop it right. And, if you can drive to the departure port rather than fly, you'll save even more money.

I've been a number of different bargain and upscale cruise lines and I think a lot of whether you enjoy yourself just comes down to your own attitude. Of course, the service and cabins are much nicer on more expensive cruise lines, but you can find ugly passengers on any cruise line regardless of price.

My only advice for a first time cruiser would be to play it safe on the excursions and only go on the ones that are sponsored by the cruise line. They are way overpriced, but you won't have any problems either.

michaeljc70
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Re: Best cruise

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:13 am

Watty wrote:
awval999 wrote:You'll easily be able to get a 7 day cruise for ~$1000 for two people. Add some excursions and spending money, some cheap flights to FLL or Miami you can do it for $2000.
+1


I am not a "cruise person" but I have gotten a greatly discounted cruise at this web site.

http://vacationstogo.com/

I think we paid about $350 each for a four night cruise to the Bahamas and few other stops. Since we were on a short cruise we found that we spent very little time in our room so there would have been little advantage to us in paying extra for an upgraded room.

I just looked and you could get similar cruises for even less if you are flexible on when and where you go.

There will be additional fees for tips and drinks. Many of the people that work on cruises are from third world countries and basically work for tips so I would budget for giving the recommended tip.

Some people really love cruises and other people are "so so" on them so it would be good to take a somewhat modest cruise first before saving up for years for a cruise of a lifetime that might not be what you are expecting.

One thing I do not like about cruises is that typically you get a limited time in each port when you could easily spend several days at each stop. The excursions that the cruise line sell have always seemed very overpriced to me.
gvsucavie03 wrote:Wife mentioned northern Europe
Northern Europe can be crazy expensive but most of Southern Europe, especially outside of the big cities, can be very affordable especially since the dollar is high right now. I went to Spain last year and never paid more than $100 a night for a hotel and all of them were fine and some of them were very nice places.

It sounds like the budget is a big concern for you (me too!) so here are two possible alternatives to cruises that I have done.

There are ferries that go all over the Greek Islands and in the middle of September the low season hits even though the weather is still very nice. The hotels prices drop dramatically and you can easily find nice hotels for around $50 a night or less that would be around $200 a night in the high season. You could do something like fly into Athens then take the ferry to Paros, Santorini, Naxos, day trip to Delos and Mykonos, and return to Athens for a few days. There are lots of variations on what you could do over there. At that time of year you you could just make most of your hotel reservations a day or two ahead of time to have a lot of flexibility. The hotels in Athens will be more expensive but you would only have a few days there. You would want to save Athens for return since the ferries can sometimes be delayed with mechanical problems or wind. If you went as soon as school lets out you might be able to find similar deals in early June but I am not sure what the weather would be like then.

Another option instead of taking an Alaskan Cruise would be to fly up to Juneau then take the Alaskan Ferry to other small cities up there. That would not be as inexpensive as Greece but you would have a lot longer time in each of the cities than the people on the cruise ships.

You might want to go on and get your passports since that can take a while and it would be good to have them just in case some unexpected good deal comes up.
+1 for vacations to go.

I check their 90 day ticker all the time for last minute deals. I took a 12 day S America cruise for $299 last year and a 10 day European this year for $600. They also do regular advance bookings. I believe they are the largest cruise travel agency.

Itineraries do change over time, so as suggested by others I would decide on the region you want to go to and a few potential cruise lines. Given you want to take a shorter cruise, it probably makes sense to depart from the US due to airfare costs. Alaska/Caribbean/Mexico/Bermuda destinations come to mind.

The cost of a cruise will vary greatly mostly based on the actual cruise ticket price, airfare, how much you drink and how many (if any) shore excursions you take. Those tend to be the big costs for most people plus money spent if you add on time before/after the cruise in a hotel. There are also tips which are typically automatically added to your bill, but those are usually only around $15 a day per person.

As a teacher, I am not sure if you are off most of the summer and if your wife would be too. If so, that might be a time you could get a good deal (after you have the money saved), potentially last minute (it isn't really last minute...sometimes you an get great deals a couple months in advance). I've used miles (from credit cards) to get the airfare for most of my cruises.

researcher
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Re: Best cruise

Post by researcher » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:44 am

I check their 90 day ticker all the time for last minute deals...
Itineraries do change over time....
The cost of a cruise will vary greatly...
The OP is planning a cruise they won't be taking for TEN YEARS.

It is impossible to provide any relevant information on what prices or itineraries will be a decade from now.
Who knows if the websites being cited here, or even the cruise lines mentioned, will be around in 10 years.

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dm200
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Re: Best cruise

Post by dm200 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:02 am

researcher wrote:
I check their 90 day ticker all the time for last minute deals...
Itineraries do change over time....
The cost of a cruise will vary greatly...
The OP is planning a cruise they won't be taking for TEN YEARS.
It is impossible to provide any relevant information on what prices or itineraries will be a decade from now.
Who knows if the websites being cited here, or even the cruise lines mentioned, will be around in 10 years.
Actually FIVE to ten.

In my opinion, not too early to think about what kind(s) of cruises are a good fit (season, location, etc.) and whether you want to spend a lot of time at sea (such as Bermuda) or stopping almost every day (such as Caribbean).

It is also good (in my opinion) to be prepared (if cost is an issue) to resist sales upgrades to higher priced cabins, added trips, etc.

michaeljc70
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Re: Best cruise

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:03 am

researcher wrote:
I check their 90 day ticker all the time for last minute deals...
Itineraries do change over time....
The cost of a cruise will vary greatly...
The OP is planning a cruise they won't be taking for TEN YEARS.

It is impossible to provide any relevant information on what prices or itineraries will be a decade from now.
Who knows if the websites being cited here, or even the cruise lines mentioned, will be around in 10 years.
I think the idea is to get a ballpark price so that OP can save the money for the cruise. To do that, they need to decide on a length, type of cruise line and region. I also think he said 5 to 10 years.

Da5id
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Re: Best cruise

Post by Da5id » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:09 am

dm200 wrote: In my opinion, not too early to think about what kind(s) of cruises are a good fit (season, location, etc.) and whether you want to spend a lot of time at sea (such as Bermuda) or stopping almost every day (such as Caribbean).

It is also good (in my opinion) to be prepared (if cost is an issue) to resist sales upgrades to higher priced cabins, added trips, etc.
And to be aware of the ways cruises can nickle and dime you beyond the "all-inclusive*" fare. Some are apparently better than others about this.

That said, best cruise I've ever been on was small boat (~100 passengers) on Prince William sound in Alaska. But that likely won't fit budget.

z91
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Re: Best cruise

Post by z91 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:33 pm

Already mentioned a few times, but the biggest costs (to me) on a cruise are all the extras. Sure, it's all inclusive, but:
If you want alcohol or soda, prepare to pay
If you want a handheld trip offshore, prepare to pay
If you want "better" food on the ship, prepare to pay
You will have to pay tips at the end of the cruise (typically 10 USD/pp/day)
Flights back and forth (if applicable)
Taxi to/from the ship
Other random tips for porters etc..
Special activities on the ship like the spa or even a craft event can cost money.

IMO check out cruise critic (and cruise compete) for best sailing dates/pricing, but save another 25% of your fare for extras. Luckily me and my wife are fairly young and don't drink alcohol/soda, and we manage ourselves offshore, so it turns out cheap for us. Most other folks not so much.

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dm200
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Re: Best cruise

Post by dm200 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:48 pm

t60 wrote:Already mentioned a few times, but the biggest costs (to me) on a cruise are all the extras. Sure, it's all inclusive, but:
If you want alcohol or soda, prepare to pay
If you want a handheld trip offshore, prepare to pay
If you want "better" food on the ship, prepare to pay
You will have to pay tips at the end of the cruise (typically 10 USD/pp/day)
Flights back and forth (if applicable)
Taxi to/from the ship
Other random tips for porters etc..
Special activities on the ship like the spa or even a craft event can cost money.
IMO check out cruise critic (and cruise compete) for best sailing dates/pricing, but save another 25% of your fare for extras. Luckily me and my wife are fairly young and don't drink alcohol/soda, and we manage ourselves offshore, so it turns out cheap for us. Most other folks not so much.
Yes!

On the two Bermuda cruises we took, there was food, food, food - almost all the time, and the late night buffet. ALL included in the price! I believe non-alcoholic drinks where food was served were not extra.

yes - allow for the recommended TIPS. That is how most of the staff are compensated. We did not tip extra and we did not ask for any special services either.

If you like/frequent the casino (we do not), prepare for a gambling expense.

rantk81
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Re: Best cruise

Post by rantk81 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:21 pm

Not to be too much of a Negative Nancy, but I've been on one cruise, and it was one cruise too many...

I got to bear witness to all that is wrong with society, extreme gluttonous behavior, shameful treatment of the by ship staff by entitled cruise-goers. Several times I felt embarrassed on behalf of other people after seeing their behavior.

It was about a week long on Royal Caribbean.

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Re: Best cruise

Post by tdhg566 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:58 pm

Antarctica with Lindblad Expeditions. Nothing beats sitting in the snow next to a wild penguin colony and talking to the birds that walk up to you
As an Enrolled Agent I advise clients about taxes and investments. My work is retiree friendly, geographically portable, mentally stimulating, personally profitable and emotionally rewarding.

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Re: Best cruise

Post by gvsucavie03 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:27 pm

dm200 wrote:
researcher wrote:
I check their 90 day ticker all the time for last minute deals...
Itineraries do change over time....
The cost of a cruise will vary greatly...
The OP is planning a cruise they won't be taking for TEN YEARS.
It is impossible to provide any relevant information on what prices or itineraries will be a decade from now.
Who knows if the websites being cited here, or even the cruise lines mentioned, will be around in 10 years.
Actually FIVE to ten.

In my opinion, not too early to think about what kind(s) of cruises are a good fit (season, location, etc.) and whether you want to spend a lot of time at sea (such as Bermuda) or stopping almost every day (such as Caribbean).

It is also good (in my opinion) to be prepared (if cost is an issue) to resist sales upgrades to higher priced cabins, added trips, etc.
Getting ideas folks. Don't overanalyze or assume I'm doing meticulous planning. I want to set a realistic budget and think of destinations. 5-10 years is realistic in my world. I make a tenth as some folks on this forum...
michaeljc70 wrote: As a teacher, I am not sure if you are off most of the summer and if your wife would be too. If so, that might be a time you could get a good deal (after you have the money saved), potentially last minute (it isn't really last minute...sometimes you an get great deals a couple months in advance). I've used miles (from credit cards) to get the airfare for most of my cruises.
Mid-June is fairly open, July first week or 2, then busy after (I'm a band director). Wife can take time off to go. She should have her own gig by then, too (work from home).

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Re: Best cruise

Post by Tal- » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:37 pm

If budget is a big factor (and it sounds like it is), I'd narrow your search to cruises in and around the US. The two most popular (and generally, best) options are the Caribbean if you like blue water, warm weather and sandy beaches, and Alaska if you like nature, wildlife, trees, and mountains. Note that the Caribbean is less expensive than Alaska.

Once you know the area, the next choice will be to narrow in on the type of cruise line you like. Do you want budget (Carnival, Norwegian), active/party (Royal Caribbean) family themed (Disney, Carnival), or classy (Princess, Celebrity)?

Once you have a general feel for the area and cruise line, start researching. Cruise Critic really is a great option.

Good luck,
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Re: Best cruise

Post by gvsucavie03 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:52 pm

Tal- wrote:If budget is a big factor (and it sounds like it is), I'd narrow your search to cruises in and around the US. The two most popular (and generally, best) options are the Caribbean if you like blue water, warm weather and sandy beaches, and Alaska if you like nature, wildlife, trees, and mountains. Note that the Caribbean is less expensive than Alaska.

Once you know the area, the next choice will be to narrow in on the type of cruise line you like. Do you want budget (Carnival, Norwegian), active/party (Royal Caribbean) family themed (Disney, Carnival), or classy (Princess, Celebrity)?

Once you have a general feel for the area and cruise line, start researching. Cruise Critic really is a great option.

Good luck,
Cool, thanks!

researcher
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Re: Best cruise

Post by researcher » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:01 pm

gvsucavie03 wrote:Getting ideas folks. Don't overanalyze or assume I'm doing meticulous planning. I want to set a realistic budget and think of destinations. 5-10 years is realistic in my world. I make a tenth as some folks on this forum...
My point is that it is hard to provide relevant info on a "realistic budget" or destinations for a cruise happening up to 10 years in the future.

That would be like me asking...
"I want to buy a Honda Accord in 10 years. What features/options should I consider? How much should I budget for it?"

You can easily come up with a realistic current budget on cruise line's website.
For example, leaving out of MIA next summer, a 7 night Caribbean cruise is ~$1K per person, a 3 night Bahamas cruise is $350.

What will the price be in 10 years? What destinations will be available then? Your guess is as good as mine.

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Re: Best cruise

Post by gvsucavie03 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:22 pm

researcher wrote: You can easily come up with a realistic current budget on cruise line's website.
For example, leaving out of MIA next summer, a 7 night Caribbean cruise is ~$1K per person, a 3 night Bahamas cruise is $350
This is what I'm after. Thanks. Not looking too deep into details. Just a general idea and some resources.

traveltoomuch
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Re: Best cruise

Post by traveltoomuch » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:28 pm

123 wrote:Five year planning horizon for a cruise? ... If you book a cruise too early you pay a higher price as often prices decline as you approach sailing date but this varies by line. You've got lots of time to watch the cruise pricing cycles and see what works best for you. Depending on the cruise you take it's quite possible for the costs (airlines) of getting back and forth to the ship to exceed the cost of the cruise itself. For a first cruise you might want to consider a cruise that's economical to get to, or pick one where you fly to a distant point to join the cruise and the ship returns you closer to home.
+1. Like others here, vacationstogo.com is my favorite search engine.

Suggestion: pick one or more general destinations that excite you and one or more cruise lines that seem like they'd fit your taste and budget. And then just keep your eye open for a fare that you like on dates you like with ground transit logistics and pricing that make sense. Shoulder seasons can be great for deals (e.g. Alaska early and late in the season is cheaper than July), but there are tradeoffs (e.g. shorter days). I don't typically do cruise line excursions, instead preferring to rent a car or otherwise run off on my own.

As a sample budget, I did an Alaska cruise a few years back with a total cost of around $2500-3000 (for two). Cruise fare was only ~1200, on-board extras (gratuities, drinks, speciality restaurant surcharges) were 300-350, and rental cars and flightseeing trips were perhaps 400-700. Add to that airfare, a one-night hotel in Vancouver pre-cruise, a taxi in Vancouver, and a very expensive one-way rental car in Alaska. Choose a Vancouver round-trip itinerary and things become much simpler and cheaper. Choose a Seattle round-trip and they're even more simple. I'm seeing $500 Alaska cruise fares for this summer, though those are mostly on one-way itineraries (e.g. Coral Princess northbound June 10th, return June 17th). If you have the time, you might consider a two-week back-to-back trip. Spend two weeks on the ship, get to see things you missed the first time (e.g. the Coral Princess visits Hubbard Glacier one way and College Fjord the other), and save the expense of the bus ride (or rental car) to Anchorage.

As you may be able to tell, there's a lot of room in here to trim costs. You can book inside cabins or lowest-category outside and cross your fingers for upgrades. You can skip flightseeing. You can skip using the thermal suite on the ship. Maybe you can use miles for the air tickets. If you want to get drunk, you could do it during the ship's happy hour. You could buy 100 shares of CCL stock and get a stateroom credit. :happy

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dm200
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Re: Best cruise

Post by dm200 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:06 pm

rantk81 wrote:Not to be too much of a Negative Nancy, but I've been on one cruise, and it was one cruise too many...
I got to bear witness to all that is wrong with society, extreme gluttonous behavior, shameful treatment of the by ship staff by entitled cruise-goers. Several times I felt embarrassed on behalf of other people after seeing their behavior.
It was about a week long on Royal Caribbean.
Oh, yes! While we did not see such behavior towards the ship staff on the Bermuda cruises we took, I have seen it in some other circumstances. In my opinion, there is no justification for treating such staff with disrespect.

If I were of a certain racial/ethnic background, I would also probably be wary of taking a cruise where 90% of the ship crew and staff were of this same background. Such rude passengers would probably think I was part of the crew/staff! Then, I might be "in trouble" for cussing someone out!!

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dm200
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Re: Best cruise

Post by dm200 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:10 pm

One technique (that does take some degree of work) is to organize and promote a group on the same cruise. Such "organizers" can get a free trip. I have never done this, but have seen such groups promoted. This might work for fraternal, civic, church, religious group, alumni groups, etc.

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TeamArgo
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Re: Best cruise

Post by TeamArgo » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:24 pm

My wife and I took a five day Celebrity Caribbean cruise in January, as a "starter" cruise. We did many things wrong, including failure to plan much to do in the port of Nassau, and not complaining about a tablemate who boarded with a head cold. So, we ended up walking around the poor neighborhoods in Nassau and I came down with a bad cold a week after the cruise.
But, despite all that, we are now planning a second cruise to Alaska. So, we did like the trip despite the problems we had. My advice: Start with a short, inexpensive cruise to learn the ropes. You might even want to look into doing that sooner rather than later. Then plan out a bigger cruise later. (My wife, who has experienced sea sickness even on a small boat on a small lake, got patches prescribed and then had no problems.)
"A man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest" -Paul Simon (The Boxer, 1970)

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Re: Best cruise

Post by S&L1940 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:34 pm

tennisplyr wrote:Things can change in a big way in 5 to 10 years, but you know that. These sites might be helpful when your ready:
http://www.vacationstogo.com
http://www.cruise.com
My wife and don't particularly like Carnival though we're in our midsixties.
yeah, Carnival is a bummer if you are over 24 years old - and married - or, if you catch a large kiddie population cruise
if you are doing a once in a lifetime (or more) Caribbean journey, avoid the hurricane season June through November and definitely do a balcony cabin. We always keep the balcony door open, sometimes even sleeping out there. nothing like the sound of the ocean to lull you to sleep - or whatever.
and while you are planning for a bunch of years from now, if the means and the opportunity are there, take the trip sooner. you can always do it again five years later.
Don't it always seem to go * That you don't know what you've got * Till it's gone

Da5id
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Re: Best cruise

Post by Da5id » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:59 am

I'd also worry with the multi-year build up and planning your expectations may be too high. Some people love cruises and go again and again. Some go once and wonder why anyone would ever do that.

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dm200
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Re: Best cruise

Post by dm200 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:04 pm

As an "older" guy, I think I might like a cruise with the younger set - wet T-shirt contests, etc.

Then again, I don't think my wife would like it, and I doubt she would let me go "solo" :)

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