I'm one of those people not so hooked on a balcony. It seems that when we have one, we have to make an effort to find time to go sit out there. Our last balcony room was on Queen Mary 2 in the Caribbean in December. It's nice to step out and see what the weather feels like, and sometimes I sat out there while waiting for my husband to finish using the shower. But we don't see as much incremental value as there is incremental cost.
Some people do find the incremental value to be greater than the cost. It's a personal preference. When we go on short cruises, we're fine with an inside room. It's the only way to really nap in the afternoon! On anything longer than 3 or 4 nights, we'll book a window so we have the light coming in, and we know if it's day or night. That light also helps us not sleep until 11am.
I have to agree with Sonny's March 30th post. If this is your first cruise and you're on a budget and you're not real picky about the size of the room you sleep in, and not super clostrophobic, you will save a great deal of money on an inside room. You can sleep more soundly as a general rule because it will also be darker but if you intend to get up early, you will definitely want to set your alarm clock. I always choose an inside room because I love saving the bucks and I can justify spending it on some extras that I may not have bought or we can go on more cruises! The ships are so much fun that we don't ever hang out in the room. If you are doing a Caribbean cruise, there's really not much to see from the balcony except water. When we sailed on Celebrity out of Seattle for the inside passage and were much closer to the shorelines, I managed to find a nice price on a balcony, and even though we popped a coat on for the chilly days, it was fun to hop on the balcony and actually see something. Seriously, if you've never been on a cruise before and you pick a good ship, the room will seem quite insignificant to you. Again, unless you are really concerned about the size of the rooms and feeling "closed in", save the money, unpack your bags, and get out of your room and party! Hope this helps, Suzi.
Not counting excursions and pre paid gratuities, I spent $300 extra, and I even bought a painting at auction. I have done the Oceanview lower level ones, you can see the sun, which I like, other than that it pretty much just is a shower and a bed.
The "sugar jar" (spending $$) also gets any rebates we receive, dividends from the co-op we buy our heating propane from, any money from recycling copper or aluminum, etc. etc. etc. These little windfalls can easily turn into smoothies or big macs in my purse, but set aside they add up to a decent little windfall for extras. I have a friend who forces herself to set aside any currency that has her numeric birthdate in the serial number--it works for her. I say whatever it takes to bet me on board!
RCCL Nordic Empress 1993
RCCL Nordic Prince 1994
RCCL Explorer 2003, 2005
RCCL Navigator, 2004, 2007
RCCL Mariner 2006
RCCL Liberty 2008
RCCL Adventure 2009 Read and post cruise reviews
Originally posted by Dave Beers:
Right now, I think we have three full-time cruise specialists as members (including the staff) and a couple more who dabble in the biz part-time like me. Plus I am recently retired but that also means I have a fixed income.
I like to go with at least a balcony cabin, and lately have gotten into the suite life although I know it is probably not a sound financial decision. We've had one inside cabin in our cruising history. It wasn't bad but I still like some natural light so we haven't returned to an inside. I am a bit claustrophobic so having at least a window makes me feel better.
Value-wise it is hard to beat booking an inside cabin. As Sonny notes, the primary things are a bed and your own bathroom. Once you leave the cabin it doesn't matter. And booking insides (or lower level outsides) means you have more money left and that means you can cruise more often. I have an owner's suite for our upcoming Alaska cruise. For the price I am paying we could have taken two Caribbean cruises in regular cabins. This is our first time to Alaska and I wanted something special (plus the extra cruise credit for booking a suite!).
The cost of extras (those costs outside of the cruise, airfare and transfers) really depends on what you want to do. Some items that will cost you extra include:
1. Having a Sunday at Johnny Rockets
2. Eat Ice Cream at Ben & Jerry's
3. Dine on a steak at Chops
4. Enjoy Pasta at Portofinos
5. Sip on a coke
6. Serf the internet
7. Have your clothes cleaned
8. Take a shuttle to the end of the pier (depending on the port)
9. Buy art at the art aution
10. Purchase photos from the ship photografer
11. Buy a CD of the cruise.
12. Rent a ship walkie-talkie
13. Rent a vest for snorkeling (depending on port)
14. Take a Yoga or Pilates class
15. Play Bingo
16. Gamble in the Casino
17. Purchase recipes of the meals served onboard
18. Play a round on the Golf Simulator (if your ship has one?)
19. Get a massage in the Spa
20. Have flowers sent to the room
21. Rent a tux
22. Visit the onboard shops - jewelry, t-shirts,inch of gold,cameras, etc.
23. Buy a latte
24. Purchase room decorations
25. Buy a Romance Package
26. Pay for group babysitting (maybe a later expense if you buy the Romance Package!)
27. Pay for after hours Adventure Ocean (if you have kids already)
28. Purchase liquor or other items from the duty free shop.
29. Take a ship (or independent) tour at ports of call. Price varies.
Those are the ones that come to mind. Your can spend a lot..or not.
Have you considered oceanview obstructed? We did that on Carnival and Princess in the past...it's a way to get a room that's cheaper than oceanview and still get some light. We loved it both times! Not sure if this is available on RCCL, but it might be worth looking into.
Other than that, how much you spend is pretty much up to you. Besides the tipping, you can decide whether to take shore excursions; if you want, you can just pay a cabbie on the spot to take you on a tour to take photos (we do that a lot). You can ask other guests to take pictures of you instead of buying the photos that RCCL sells. You can stick with the main dining room instead of going to the specialty restaurant. You can come back to the ship for lunch on port days instead of eating on shore, etc., etc...
Booked on Carnival Freedom, Feb. 2012 (Cozumel, Costa Rica, Panama)
NCL Gem, Sept. 2011
NCL Jewel, Feb. 2011
NCL Dawn, Sept. 2010
NCL Spirit, Feb. 2010
NCL Gem, March 2009
RCCL Explorer of the Seas, Feb. 2008
Carnival Miracle, May 2007
Carnival Conquest, April 2006
Caribbean Princess, Feb. 2005