Cruises on a budget?

Jan 10th, 2009, 11:30 AM
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Cruises on a budget?

I was thinking of doing a cross country trip by car, figuring that it would be a bit more affordable than a flight and also a bit more leisurely.

After watching the travel channel, I am now in love with the idea of going on a cruise. I figure that a cruise would force me to relax since I usually am going 100 miles per hour when I travel.

Is it best to review the websites of the actual cruise lines, or is there a website that can help me search for cruises from multiple different cruise lines?

Since I have never been on a cruise before, my first search criteria would be price and port of departure.

girlietravel is offline  
Jan 10th, 2009, 12:13 PM
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Travelocity and Expedia have cruise search features where you can enter the type info you mention.

Vacationstogo gives listings of discounted cruises for next 90 days.

There are some incredible cruise deals out there right now. My 80 year old mother and I are going on a cruise and somehow my dtr and 2 of her friends are joining us - they are paying their own way (college freshman). By shopping around we found a NCL Bahamas cruise where the 3 of them can share an ocean-view cabin for the 4 night cruise for under $900 TOTAL for the 3 of them - so they will each get lodging, meals, entertainment for $300 each. They will likely not relax, but I plan on spending 4 days sitting on a pool or beach chair reading a book.
gail is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 03:57 AM
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You can go to each cruise lines web site and each ship and get their info and prices. But shop for the cruise when you decide which ship. I'd reccomend going to any travel agency and get catalogues of each line. You'll find info for each with what ports ships go to and a 'map' of each ship.They are free, you can say you're just thinking about a cruise, you do not have to book a cruise with them. Als go to! It is very safe to join and you can ask all sorts of questions, read reviews of every ship, find out cruise news, etc. Do a 7 day cruise as the short ones aren't long enough!
bonniejns is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 06:13 AM
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Actually using Yahoo! or Expedia will give you all the listings for a given cruise area though I would not recommend booking thru them as cheaper prices can be gotten elsewhere. You can also get info from the cruise line websites, esp. about ships and their features. Websites of great help include:
I do agree heartily with Bonnie about going for 7 days. You will get a better feel of things that way. Larry
jacketwatch is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2009, 04:06 PM
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The best way, I think is to find a reliable, local travel agent. We have done it that way, as well as with internet services, etc. A local agent is more likely to look out for you and you have someone to call if you have problems abroad. They also have knowledge of several cruise lines and can help a lot. Be careful of on line cruise advice and criticism sites. People's opinions, by definition, are subjective and relative. Your needs and preferences may be totally different. Also remember that a cruise is expensive and to try to save a few bucks on a special internet deal may be counterproductive. Pick a place that you would like to visit and go for iot.
Aristotle is offline  
Jan 27th, 2009, 05:32 PM
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The classic story for me to tell is of a cruiser I met who wrote me that a cruise agency was offering a TWO WEEK trans-atlantic cruise..inside cabin for $599.00 each.. on a Celebrity ship...HE GRABBED IT..HE could of had an outside for a couple of $$ more.... then of course there was the plane fare.. one way.. and a drive back home to Baltimore from New Jersey So, there are bargains out there..ships going out now with empty cabins.. you just have to do some leg or finger work.
ParrotMom is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 08:24 AM
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I STRONGLY second what Aristotle said about using a good local travel agent. There are no savings to be had by dealing with some of the web based outfits and you can be assured if you have problems you will be left high and dry by them. Agents often have access to special shipboard credits and upgrades that no one else can offer. You will always be better off to use a real travel agent at a local office. ALWAYS!
Reisender is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 01:08 PM
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While a cruise can be a great deal, it's not an all-inclusive vacation, so you have to figure in the additional costs you are likely to incur to decide if this is a true "budget" trip for you.

For example, you have to pay extra for sodas, alcoholic beverages, and even some specialty coffee drinks. On most cruises, your free choices are coffee, tea, and sometimes fruit punch from the buffet. That doesn't make some people happy, so keep that in mind.

You can bring bottled water and even twelve-packs of soda onto most cruise ships but never alcohol. If you want to bring a special bottle of wine, it may be allowed, but you will be charged a corkage fee. Drinks on cruise ships have gotten pretty expensive, about the same as you would expect to pay in a nice restaurant on land ($6 to $10 for a glass of wine, $2 for a soda, $6 to $12 for a cocktail, $2 to $4 for a bottle of water, $2 to $4 for a coffee drink).

You pay extra for excursions, and they can be pricey. On most Caribbean and Alaska cruises it's usually cheaper to make your own arrangements (unless you are alone, and then it's often cheaper to just take the line's excursion).

Cruises are always based on double-occupancy. If you are sailing alone, then you pay double on most lines, so that $500 fare becomes $1000.

The cheap fares aren't available for all cruises and usually apply ONLY to an inside cabin, which has absolutely no window.

You have to pay extra to eat at alot of specialty restaurants on ships, though the main dining rooms are always included.

Spas are really expensive (at least as expensive as at a resort on land).

The food varies widely by line; if cuisine is important to you, choose your cruise line carefully.

Cabins vary widely by line, but all except the most expensive cabins are small.

Having said all that, I think cruising is still a great value and offers a great way for you to relax and unwind.

If you tell us what kinds of things you like, we might be able to recommend a line that fits with your travel needs. But a good travel agent can do that as well.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 06:17 AM
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A good site for easy searching is Have used them numerous times, no problems. If you sign up for their emails, you get lots of info that way too.
cruisin_tigger is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2009, 09:16 PM
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I checked out vacationstogo and I loved it! thank you so much for the link.
girlietravel is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2009, 08:23 AM
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To search by port of departure I like

To search multiple cruise lines and to see which cabin is available I like Expedia.

All reservations I've made so far were with the cruise lines. Didn't have any luck with agents/agencies.
Dayenu is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 10:00 PM
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First question: where do you live? If you live near a port of departure, you are half way there to your savings. If you have to fly there etc, you are not saving money.
Good year to cruise this year as the price is cheap. There are lots of capacity and no taker. Just booked a mini-suite to Panama Canal for US$1100 each. You usually pay that much for an inside cabin. There are bargains everywhere.
Eschew is offline  
Feb 26th, 2009, 11:43 AM
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I agree with a couple of the previous posters about using a good travel agent. When we went on our first cruise, we had a lot of questions, and the travel agent was able to answer all of them. Also, she asked us a lot of questions - what was our budget? When did we want to take the trip? What were our interests? What part of the world did we want to visit? And lots more! Then she gave us options that fit our vision for our trip. And it turned out to be a perfect vacation!

Also, someone above mentioned not being allowed to bring alcohol on board. Not sure which cruise line that poster has experience with, but we we allowed to bring wine and other alcholic beverage onboard and were not charged any fees. It worked out well for us because we were cruising around Italy and would buy a bottle or two of wine every day or so and bring it back to the ship to enjoy that night. Now, they did charge a corking fee if we brought the bottle to the dining room, but we never did that - just poured a glass of wine while in our cabin and walked into the restaurant with it. They were fine with that.

Also, many cruise lines are now including airfare in the cruise price. Again, a good travel agent will find you the best deal on the best cruise for you.

Please let us know what you decide to do!
SCFoodie is offline  
Feb 26th, 2009, 01:24 PM
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I have been on 2 cruises in the last 6 months using You call the number toll free and you will get a travel agent. Just tell them what you are interested in after looking at the website. Yhey will help you with suggestions if you are not sure. They are very good to answer your questions on the phone or by email once you have a travel agent.
maryanne1 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2009, 01:34 PM
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SCFoodie: What cruise line let you bring etoh to your cabin? Most are not allowing that now.
jacketwatch is offline  
Feb 26th, 2009, 06:15 PM
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jacketwatch - had to figure out what etoh was! Oceania let us bring it onboard. We brought wine and scotch. It was a cruise around Italy and many of the passengers were purchasing wine at the various stops along the way. My parents went on a 15-day Princess cruise a few years ago and also brought a couple of bottles onboard. They had them packed in their luggage - embarked in Los Angeles.

SCFoodie is offline  
Feb 27th, 2009, 04:55 AM
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Thank you. Sorry I did not specify etoh. I too have it in my luggage but if you are on shore and try to bring it onboard it'll be taken from you and returned the night B4 you leave. It used to be that you could buy etoh on board for duty free prices and use it in you cabin, then that changed to buying only certain brands at much higher prices. Now I'm not sure if you can even do that anymore.
jacketwatch is offline  
Feb 28th, 2009, 10:43 PM
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We just booked a cruise after much research (me online) and my husband on the telephone. I tried every website I could think of from Princess' website, Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz,,, even some of the sites I've used for airfare: Kayak, Cheap Tickets, etc. We finally ended up booking through Costco Travel and saved about $500 from the cheapest fare we found.

We booked our last two cruises with and were very satisfied with the service. We hit a snag re our cabin, which they took care of in a couple of days. I wouldn't hesitate to book with them again, but as I noted their price was higher for a lesser cabin than what we ended up with.

Good luck! Hope you find something you like and can afford. It's a great way to travel.
Giovanna is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 09:17 AM
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Omg! I never thought to look at travel deals through Costco. The amount of travel knowledge on this website is amazing! Good thing I just renewed my membership.
girlietravel is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 02:14 PM
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Actually up until this last cruise we've used Costco since 2001 and their prices have always been much less than anything else I've found and this includes a land vacation as well as cruises. However I found someone who beat Costcos price by $400.00 and used him this time.
jacketwatch is offline  

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