Cruise decisions...

As the date for our first cruise inches closer, we find we must make some decisions about our upcoming cruising experiences.

Our first cruise, on Celebrity Century, has had a price increase since we booked it many months ago.  We paid $2199 plus tips and taxes for a balcony cabin, for a total of $5545 for the two of us, a locked in price.  If purchased now, the total for two would be around the $9500 range (at $4199 each) with tips and taxes, $4000 more.

Here's the current pricing information directly from our cruise booking company Vacations to Go

15 nights departing January 3, 2013 on
Celebrity's Celebrity Century

Brochure Inside$1,449
The  Inside$1,049
You Save 28%
Brochure Oceanview$2,449
The Oceanview$2,449
You Save 0%
Brochure Balcony$4,199
The Balcony$4,199
You Save 0%
 
 





            








            





          
ThuJan3San Diego, CA 4:00pm
FriJan4At Sea
SatJan5Cabo San Lucas, Mexico 11:00am6:00pm
SunJan6Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 12:30pm7:30pm
MonJan7At Sea
TueJan8At Sea
WedJan9Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala 7:00am6:00pm
ThuJan10At Sea
FriJan11Puntarenas, Costa Rica 7:00am6:00pm
SatJan12At Sea
SunJan13Panama Canal (Full Transit) 6:00am6:00pm
MonJan14Colon, Panama 6:00am4:00pm
TueJan15Cartagena, Colombia 9:00am4:00pm
WedJan16At Sea
ThuJan17At Sea
FriJan18Fort Lauderdale, FL 7:00am

 





 
Over and again, we've heard from experienced cruisers as to the shock of seeing their "tab" at the end of their cruise, always backed up by a credit card, leaving no margin for negotiations or adjustments. 

We decided when booking this first cruise that we would exercise our right to "buyer beware" by educating ourselves to the possible "up" charges that inevitably exist on cruises.  After reading reviews over these past several months, talking to experienced cruisers and more recently calling the cruise line and asking questions, we feel satisfied that we have an idea as to potential additional charges.

One big point of discussion for us has been as to whether or not to purchase a "beverage package" for Tom.  I seldom drink alcohol.  Mostly, I drink copious amounts of iced tea or hot tea which is provided at no additional cost.  Tom, when socializing, may enjoy a few cocktails, otherwise he doesn't drink at all.  His drink of choice is Courvoisier, a pricey cognac, which we discovered would be $8 per cocktail plus 15% tip.

The beverage package that works for his cocktail of choice is $810 (just for him!) for the length of the cruise, allowing him to drink all he wants and includes tips.  For one second we considered this.  He feels he cannot justify the expense since he doesn't want to feel like he is pressured into getting his money's worth.

On the other hand, I don't want him to feel he can't have a cocktail when he wants one so we went to work and did the math.

If he has three cocktails a night (highly unlikely he'll drink every night), the total would be $27.60 per night x 15 nights for a total of $414.  Considering that some nights he won't drink any alcohol but instead may have a non-included soda, we feel comfortable that the drink bill won't exceed $400. 

Then, there's the question of dining in any of the non-included restaurants.  Its unlikely we'll choose to dine in these extra-charge restaurants due to our limited low carb, grain, sugar and starch free diet.  The exception to this would be a social situation whereby fellow travelers we've befriended invite us to join them at one of these restaurants.  We'll decide at the time, if it makes sense to bear the added expense.

We aren't "tightwads."  We're world travelers with a desire to continue traveling for as long as our health holds out and that we stay within the budget we've established for our travels. 

We've allowed ourselves an average of $75 per day for extras on cruises.  If our alcohol beverage budget is $27.60 per day, that leaves us $47.40 per day in other extras. 

The next expense we'll most certainly incur, is the cost of Internet access on  the cruise. At a cost of $395 for the 15 days, we will each be allowed 60 minutes of Internet access per day. (There were other less costly package available but cost per minute increased with lower minute packages).

As a result, I will write the blog offline then go online for posting, editing and adding photos. This amount uses up $26.33 per day leaving us $21.00 per day average for incidentals which is enough for us to go on two excursions, if we so choose.

Our habits of researching our travels, mindless reading online will literally be metered while we're on a cruise.  Odd?  Yes, but do-able. We'll have plenty to do to keep us occupied leaving us ample time to read one of many pre-downloaded books. 

Oops, there's another task we must complete before the month ends...download books to the Kindle app on our phones and laptops, all of which may be read offline.  Its easy for me to imagine sitting in a lounge chair on the deck of the ship reading, "NeanderThin: Eat to Achieve a Lean, Strong, Healthy Body" while Tom peruses, "The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors."    Ah, nice.

P.S.  Please excuse gaps in editing.  When copying and pasting from other websites, spacing becomes an issue in Blogger.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Jess, maybe you've thought of this but what would it cost to access the internet through your phones? I can make my phone a wifi hot spot and then access the internet through that whenever I am without an internet connection. I think some carriers charge per time and others just charge a monthly fee to do it. Let me know what you think about that?

Jessica said...

Thanks for your much appreciated comment. Yes, we have thought of that, actually using it when no Internet was available while we were in Las Vegas recently. The problem is this: When using a phone internationally for a hot spot, you are still utilizing the network for your phone, incurring international "roaming" Internet charges. Without a contract on the phone, one needs a SIM card in order to make it work, subsequently using up the data available on the SIM card at relatively high costs. Our best bet appears to be to use XCOM Global's unlimited Internet MiFi that will work in most of our upcoming locations. Unfortunately, it's a little pricey at about $400 a month. Thanks for reading out blog!

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