Author Topic: Rant on Spending While Onboard A Cruise  (Read 16855 times)

iowajes

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Re: Rant on Spending While Onboard A Cruise
« Reply #100 on: September 13, 2017, 05:01:31 PM »
My sister stated she spent as much on booze and excursion as her cruise itself cost.   She does like good booze but that just makes me shake my head.

Excursions can be done cheaply or expensive.
Russia is one of the only places you HAVE to have an excursion, as a cruise visa only allows you to visit with a tour company. But even then the excursion doesn't have to be with the cruise line.

We've found cruising to be pretty cheap. We do an oceanview cabin unless we can get a balcony under $90 a day.  Our biggest expense is flying in. We often do free beach days instead of true excursions. Not drinking really helps. And there is no need to spend money on food.

But my SIL gets the cheapest inside cabin available and then she and BIL drink like fish. I'm sure their alcohol bill greatly exceeds what they pay for the cabin.

Debts_of_Despair

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Re: Rant on Spending While Onboard A Cruise
« Reply #101 on: September 13, 2017, 05:43:28 PM »
For those of us who are single, is a cruise worthwhile at all? I would like to do it once, even though my co-workers make it sound like a Golden Corral on water. But I don't want to be charged a double-occupancy rate.

I know Norwegian and possibly Royal Caribbean have single occupancy staterooms. 

Debts_of_Despair

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Re: Rant on Spending While Onboard A Cruise
« Reply #102 on: September 13, 2017, 05:45:31 PM »
My sister stated she spent as much on booze and excursion as her cruise itself cost.   She does like good booze but that just makes me shake my head.


Excursions I could see.  I'm looking at excursions on a possible pacific cruise and if you want to do the good stuff (like the road to hana in maui), it's going to run you $149.   I'm looking at alternatives like renting a car for the day and sharing with a few people.

Cruisecritic roll calls give some contacts for organizing tours independent of the cruiseline.  I've taken tours that are 1/2 the cost and include more perks (smaller groups, included meals & samples, less stops at commissionable shops, etc)

Are you doing a HI only cruise or something bigger?

JoJo

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Re: Rant on Spending While Onboard A Cruise
« Reply #103 on: September 13, 2017, 09:37:53 PM »
For those of us who are single, is a cruise worthwhile at all? I would like to do it once, even though my co-workers make it sound like a Golden Corral on water. But I don't want to be charged a double-occupancy rate.

actually got this same question on my blog post on cruising...https://thehotflashpacker.com/how-to-save-money-on-a-cruise/

here's the advice I gave:
Yes. This is a problem for single travelers. The single supplement is usually 2x the double occupancy rate. I traveled with family for all of my cruises so it was 3 people to a room, which is a little cheaper than the per person cost if double occupancy. The Norwegian Epic and possibly other ships are adding junior rooms for singles. Other than that, you need to watch for sales. Iíve seen times the single supplement is only 25% higher for example. The better deals Iíve seen are very close to the departure date. There are also roommate pairing services although that would put you with a stranger Ė but how much time do you spend in the room on a cruise?

JoJo

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Re: Rant on Spending While Onboard A Cruise
« Reply #104 on: September 13, 2017, 09:43:23 PM »

Are you doing a HI only cruise or something bigger?

Looking a a 4 week RT out of Los Angles.  Looking at 2 possibilities - one is on HAL and does Hawaii, Kiribati, and French Polynesians.  Other is Princess that does Hawaii, Samoa, and French Polynesians.  Neither is very mustache-like but it might be my parent's last cruise (they're in their 80's and health is going downhill). 

The Princess one is interesting as it crosses the international dateline perfectly to allow me to celebrate a pivotal birthday twice!  Literally would be my birthday on 2 days in a row.  That must be a sign, right?

Villanelle

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Re: Rant on Spending While Onboard A Cruise
« Reply #105 on: September 13, 2017, 11:48:24 PM »
My mom, sister, and I did a Med. cruise in large part as a way to fulfill my mom's lifelong dream to go to Italy.  With mom, traipsing around on our own--the preferred method for my sister and me--wasn't ideal for several reasons, so in most cities we need to do tours.  (Mom's request and she was footing the bill for them.) 

My sister did a ton of research and via the Cruise Critics message board found people on our cruise to split tours with.  They were private tours through private companies, completely separate from the ship.  We ended up sharing three tours with the same group.  There were 3 of us and 5 of them. We were able to tinker with the itineraries to get exactly what we all wanted--something we never could have done via the cruise company--and instead of 40+ people on a bus and crowding the sites, we were a party of 8.  And it was cheaper besides.

Even in St. Petersburg where one *must* do a tour with a licensed tour company due to the visa requirements, our outside-company tour was cheaper and we had a van with 16 instead of a massive tour bus.  And we were able to move faster and stay ahead of the crowds.  Everyone does more or less the same circuit, and pretty much ever location we arrived at had no line when we went in, and a huge line waiting to enter by the time we left.  And again, it was cheaper.

In most places, I prefer not doing a tour, even without the money factor.  I found Rick Steves' two cruise books (one for the Med. and one for the Baltics) extremely helpful.  But if you ever are doing a tour, don't do it through the boat, and do consider finding people on your cruise with whom to share a private tour, unless you are a very large party. 

Capsu78

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Re: Rant on Spending While Onboard A Cruise
« Reply #106 on: September 14, 2017, 02:05:49 PM »
My mom, sister, and I did a Med. cruise in large part as a way to fulfill my mom's lifelong dream to go to Italy.  With mom, traipsing around on our own--the preferred method for my sister and me--wasn't ideal for several reasons, so in most cities we need to do tours.  (Mom's request and she was footing the bill for them.) 

My sister did a ton of research and via the Cruise Critics message board found people on our cruise to split tours with.  They were private tours through private companies, completely separate from the ship.  We ended up sharing three tours with the same group.  There were 3 of us and 5 of them. We were able to tinker with the itineraries to get exactly what we all wanted--something we never could have done via the cruise company--and instead of 40+ people on a bus and crowding the sites, we were a party of 8.  And it was cheaper besides.

Even in St. Petersburg where one *must* do a tour with a licensed tour company due to the visa requirements, our outside-company tour was cheaper and we had a van with 16 instead of a massive tour bus.  And we were able to move faster and stay ahead of the crowds.  Everyone does more or less the same circuit, and pretty much ever location we arrived at had no line when we went in, and a huge line waiting to enter by the time we left.  And again, it was cheaper.

In most places, I prefer not doing a tour, even without the money factor.  I found Rick Steves' two cruise books (one for the Med. and one for the Baltics) extremely helpful.  But if you ever are doing a tour, don't do it through the boat, and do consider finding people on your cruise with whom to share a private tour, unless you are a very large party.

+1 to all of above.  I don't consider myself a "cruise only" traveler; however Used CruiseCritic forums and roll calls for the Med in 2006, the Baltics in 2015 as well as Mexico and the Greek Isles.  Have arranged or participated in private group tours in most ports were we wanted to see more than the downtown.
Our format is to take a regional cruise first and figure out which ports or regions we might want to return to for land based trips.  Our Med cruise led us back to Southern France and multiple Italy land based stays-(Rome, Amalfi and Venice) sometimes more than once-  Other times, places like Barcelona didn't "call out" for a follow up trip...felt that way about most of the ports on the Baltic cruise as well- once was enough.
Still to come- Santiago to Beunos Aries, The Galapogos Isles and possibly OZ or Asia.  Saving Alaska and Hi until we are a bit older as they should be less difficult logistically. 
None of these travels came on the cheap, but we prioritize travel higher than some/many on this forum.

JoJo

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Re: Rant on Spending While Onboard A Cruise
« Reply #107 on: September 14, 2017, 02:59:09 PM »
I got so lucky on my cruise to Norway.  There was a retired guy that organized these really creative and jamb packed boat and bus itineraries at many of the ports.  It was ridiculous how much stuff we did for 1/2 the price of a basic cruise line tour.    He actually filled up buses of 40-50 people.  He could have added a few dollars to each trip and would have made a nice little profit (who knows, maybe he did).    That might be an interesting FIRE job! 

iowajes

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Re: Rant on Spending While Onboard A Cruise
« Reply #108 on: September 14, 2017, 05:27:17 PM »
Capsu 78- we did Galapagos on the xpedition. Yes, it could be done for way cheaper, but this was easy and had everything we were looking for. Great trip.  Average age on the ship was over double ours, but it was still an amazing trip.

(And it was an all inclusive cruise- not a dime spent onboard. All excursions, tips, drinks included. I think you could buy a massage, but there was only one therapist and very limited time to fit it in.)
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 06:10:31 PM by iowajes »

MrsPete

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Re: Rant on Spending While Onboard A Cruise
« Reply #109 on: September 15, 2017, 05:42:24 PM »
I thought the whole point of a cruise was that it was all inclusive?
No, this is an urban myth.  I think the average cruiser spends about as much on "extras" as on his cruise ticket. 

You have to pay tips.  Well, no one's going to make you walk the plank if you don't, but I think most people will agree that it's only right to tip the people who wait on you all week -- it is their salary -- tips end up being about $100/person/week. 

Other things for which people pay onboard /options:

- Alcohol /bring a limited amount with you or just don't drink
- Alcohol packages, just in case by-the-glass isn't expensive enough /same as above
- Sodas and bottled water /bring your own with you
- Excursions /book your own island stop fun or just hit the beach
- Gambling /skip this
- Bingo /skip this
- Art auction /skip this
- Massages & spa treatments /skip this
- Upsell restaurants /skip this -- basic food is included in the ticket price
- Hotel for the night before /worthwhile expense ... assures you'll arrive on time and makes for a stress-free departure day
- Parking at the terminal /book a hotel that allows you to park in their lot for free

This isn't a complete list, but I think it hits the big selling points. 
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 05:45:42 PM by MrsPete »

CheapScholar

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Re: Rant on Spending While Onboard A Cruise
« Reply #110 on: September 15, 2017, 06:49:23 PM »
I saw a special on CNBC a number of years ago where a CEO of one of the major lines said that if you book an inside cabin and do not gamble or drink, the company loses money on you.  I certainly believe it. 

I started inside cabin and have now graduated to balcony.  I'd be fine inside, but my wife likes the balcony and the extra space  - and the view is worthwhile with our son now going with us.

I don't understand people paying that kind of money to go on a cruise and then they're gambling and paying huge markups for drinks.  The one thing I've learned after 3 cruises (Europe, AK, Caribbean) is that they attract ALL TYPES.  You get the obese people eating non stop along with the fitness freaks running on the track and doing active stuff in every port.

I sense most of the MMM community is still kind of anti cruise but I just love it and I hope to go once per year moving forward.

pachnik

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Re: Rant on Spending While Onboard A Cruise
« Reply #111 on: September 16, 2017, 08:32:50 AM »
I saw a special on CNBC a number of years ago where a CEO of one of the major lines said that if you book an inside cabin and do not gamble or drink, the company loses money on you.  I certainly believe it. 

I sense most of the MMM community is still kind of anti cruise but I just love it and I hope to go once per year moving forward.

Inside cabin, not interested in gambling + thought drinks were too expensive on board so didn't buy any.  This was my husband and I on our cruise at the beginning of September.  :)   

I was talking to my mom who has gone on maybe 20 cruises about the shopping on board and at the ports.  She said that some people consider a cruise a shopping trip.   On the last day of our trip, there was a 'sale' in the on board mall.  My husband wanted to check it out so we went.  It felt like a smaller version of Boxing Day (in Canada) or what I have seen of Black Friday on tv.  There was definitely frenzy in the air.  I couldn't wait to get away.

MrsPete

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Re: Rant on Spending While Onboard A Cruise
« Reply #112 on: September 16, 2017, 10:26:08 AM »
I saw a special on CNBC a number of years ago where a CEO of one of the major lines said that if you book an inside cabin and do not gamble or drink, the company loses money on you.  I certainly believe it. 

I started inside cabin and have now graduated to balcony.  I'd be fine inside, but my wife likes the balcony and the extra space  - and the view is worthwhile with our son now going with us.

I don't understand people paying that kind of money to go on a cruise and then they're gambling and paying huge markups for drinks.  The one thing I've learned after 3 cruises (Europe, AK, Caribbean) is that they attract ALL TYPES.  You get the obese people eating non stop along with the fitness freaks running on the track and doing active stuff in every port.

I sense most of the MMM community is still kind of anti cruise but I just love it and I hope to go once per year moving forward.
I also watched a cruise documentary, and they said that the cruise line essentially "breaks even" on your cruise ticket; that is, your cruise ticket pays for your food, no-cost activities, staffing, and room.  They make a profit when they can convince you to buy more.  The documentary said that selling drinks is -- by far -- their biggest money maker, and the second and third money  makers (I cannot remember which was #2 and which was #3) were gambling and excursions.

However, this didn't make any sense to me:  The inside room that costs $500 in the fall costs $1800 in the summer or on holiday weeks.  So where's the "break even point"?  Is it $500 or $1800?  (I think it's $500, but I have no proof.)  Another problem:  The inside room is $500, but a suite on the same ship is $2000 at its lowest price.  So, yeah, the suite costs the cruise line a little more -- larger space, the room steward covers a smaller number of rooms, you have access to that free booze room -- but do those things make that much difference in the actual cost.

Bottom line:  I do not believe what I heard on that documentary.  Too many holes in the story. 

Cruising can be a modestly priced vacation if you can drive to the port, if you stay in a low-priced room, and if you cruise off-season. 

boarder42

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Re: Rant on Spending While Onboard A Cruise
« Reply #113 on: September 16, 2017, 10:29:26 AM »
I saw a special on CNBC a number of years ago where a CEO of one of the major lines said that if you book an inside cabin and do not gamble or drink, the company loses money on you.  I certainly believe it. 

I started inside cabin and have now graduated to balcony.  I'd be fine inside, but my wife likes the balcony and the extra space  - and the view is worthwhile with our son now going with us.

I don't understand people paying that kind of money to go on a cruise and then they're gambling and paying huge markups for drinks.  The one thing I've learned after 3 cruises (Europe, AK, Caribbean) is that they attract ALL TYPES.  You get the obese people eating non stop along with the fitness freaks running on the track and doing active stuff in every port.

I sense most of the MMM community is still kind of anti cruise but I just love it and I hope to go once per year moving forward.
I also watched a cruise documentary, and they said that the cruise line essentially "breaks even" on your cruise ticket; that is, your cruise ticket pays for your food, no-cost activities, staffing, and room.  They make a profit when they can convince you to buy more.  The documentary said that selling drinks is -- by far -- their biggest money maker, and the second and third money  makers (I cannot remember which was #2 and which was #3) were gambling and excursions.

However, this didn't make any sense to me:  The inside room that costs $500 in the fall costs $1800 in the summer or on holiday weeks.  So where's the "break even point"?  Is it $500 or $1800?  (I think it's $500, but I have no proof.)  Another problem:  The inside room is $500, but a suite on the same ship is $2000 at its lowest price.  So, yeah, the suite costs the cruise line a little more -- larger space, the room steward covers a smaller number of rooms, you have access to that free booze room -- but do those things make that much difference in the actual cost.

Bottom line:  I do not believe what I heard on that documentary.  Too many holes in the story. 

Cruising can be a modestly priced vacation if you can drive to the port, if you stay in a low-priced room, and if you cruise off-season.

Or you can travel hack it. My wife and I took a 14 day Mediterranean cruise in a balcony with booze included. All in with excursions booked off ship and flights we were around 1k-1500.  That's total not per person and included a couple nights stay in Venice pre cruise.
PM me about how to save 6% on your annual grocery Bill!

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dragoncar

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Re: Rant on Spending While Onboard A Cruise
« Reply #114 on: September 16, 2017, 03:03:08 PM »

However, this didn't make any sense to me:  The inside room that costs $500 in the fall costs $1800 in the summer or on holiday weeks.  So where's the "break even point"?  Is it $500 or $1800?  (I think it's $500, but I have no proof.) 

It could also be somewhere in the middle.  If they are sailing with empty rooms, they are just losing money.  The $500 might be below their total cost, but above their marginal cost.

CheapScholar

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Re: Rant on Spending While Onboard A Cruise
« Reply #115 on: September 16, 2017, 03:25:02 PM »
This link gives an interesting visual for RCL profits: http://www.cruzely.com/heres-how-much-money-cruise-ships-make-off-every-passenger-infographic/

I think, in response to the question about the $500 or $1,800 inside cabin, clearly cruise lines clean up during peak season and even more so during holidays.  $500 is cheap even for an inside cabin.  If you book that (probably off peak) on any cruise line and you're not buying excursions from the company, drinking, gambling, then I think the cruise line probably is losing money on you.  But, as anyone who's been on a cruise knows, there are plenty of suckers ready to spend spend spend.