First time honeymoon cruiser here. Just wondering when to book for best rates. Looking at april 15th on Mariner of the Seas 7 night caribbean. Looks like about 599 with my regional discount. Is this a good price? Also, what excursions are a must? Hom much actual spending money should we bring? Any help will be greatly appreciated!
That is a very good price for the Mariner. The prices jump up at the end of May, so if you can go in April, book it now. (Our May cruise on the Mariner is going at $1099 pp)
The Mariner does two different cruise, the Western Caribbean (Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamacia) and the Eastern Caribbean (St Thomas, St Martin, Coca Cay) - which one if the 15th of April doing? If we know we can answer on the excursion part of your question.
As far as spending money, I'll answer that in two ways. First, everything you buy on the ship (drinks, pictures, gift shop, spa etc) will be put onto your account balance, so you technically do not need any cash for the ship. So my first answer is... it can be $0 with the understanding that you will have a charge on your credit card at the end of the cruise. Second answer is just a typical expenditure list as you cash needs depends on your gambling and drinking style. If you are big drinkers, you can count on $50 to $75 per day in drinks. Gambling.. you'll have to add that in for yourself. Excursions? Typically about $80-$100 a person.. so if you plan on an excursion per port, that's going ring up at about $600. Gratuities are $10 per person per day, so that is $140, plus anything you might give the room service staff OR any extra tipping you might feel like doing. Spa treaments- you going for a massage or is the future wife going to want her hair or nails done? Those items can run $100 each. The only other typical money eating thing is the pictures. They take your pictures everytime you move (or so it seems), so if you want pictures, count on $15 to $20 each for those. (At a minimum, you will want your formal night pic and you boarding the ship pic, so that is $40, count on at least another $60 in pictures...)
You can probably figure it out from there. The only "mandatory" extra cash you will spend on the ship is the tip money (so bring cash for tips.. I tend to bring a $100 in five dollar bills for that) Then bring some cash for the ports (taxi's, resturants etc..)
Everything you "spend" on the ship can accually just be left on your account and they will place a purchase charge on the credit card you signed off on for use or you can pay it off with any left over cash you may have at the end of the cruise.
One thing to keep in mind is that if the rates go down you can get RCL to refund, or use the rate you paid to upgrade. We are on Grandeur in 2 weeks (WOOHOO...CAN'T WAIT) and I monitored the rates closely. We went from an inside cabin for $479 to Junior Suites for $799! We originally upgraded to JS for $849 then a few days later the rates for Seniors (ok, I finally qualify) dropped to $799. Even though this was less than 30 days out, I called RCL and they immediately refunded $100 to my credit card. If you booked through a travel agent, simply monitor the rates and let the agent know. Be sure to enter any info like state of residence. This is where the rates will adjust.
Yes, $1000 is more than enough...anything else can be charged.. In fact, use your charge card when you can and then at the end of the cruise any of your $1000 left over can be used to pay on your balance at the purser's desk. That way you don't have to worry about running out of cash.
As far as excursions, I would say snorkling in St Thomas... Go on the excursion to Trunk Bay.. The beach is unforgettable. Go to the Caribbean port chat to see a discussion on the best way to do this. We have done the ship based tour (they provide snorkeling gear), but the chat discusses getting there on your own (you need to take a ferry to get there) But, you can go to the excursion "seminar" held on the cruise (before you get to the ports) and they will go into detail on each on and then you both can choose...
Mike111, Mariner is our favorite ship so far. We are not really drinkers, so we were able to spend less than $700 for both of us, on both of our past cruises. Unless you are HUGE soda drinkers, avoid buying the Soda Stamp. We are big Iced Tea drinkers, which is FREE on board, so we spent less. A can of pop usually costs less than $2.00, so that's cheaper. We bought all our off ship trips at ports prior to going on the cruise;I'm told there are cheaper ways to buy them, but I like having someone to blame if there is a mess-up. Actual cash is needed for anything you buy or do at the ports;otherwise, any on-board expense will be charged to your Sea Pass card (like an on-board credit card, which you pay for at the end of the cruise, either with cash, or a regular credit card or debit card). While you are paying for your cruise, you can Pre-Pay the tips, and then put extra cash into the envelopes should someone deserve a little extra.
Also, think about eating one night at one of the special restaurants (we did Chops Grill-great food for about $25.00@ extra-Well worth the cost) Also, we liked the first seating for dinner-a little more crowded, but made us feel less rushed later in the evening.
You're gonna love crusing, and the Mariner.
Thanks everyone! Being poor recent college graduates, we are relegated to an inside cheap cabin for 600 with our tennessee discount. Maybe we will upgrade if rates drop. Thanks to everyone for the helpful info! I know we want to snorkel, but after that, i'm not sure. Thanks again!!