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Baldwin5 03-30-2008 05:46 AM

Thank you for the responses to the balcony vs. inside cabin. There is so much to consider the first time around:-) We unlike most people need to budget for our cruise. Which is hard when you've never been on one.
Can someone give us an idea of how much we can expect to spend on things like tipping, drinks ( a typical beer) or any unknown costs that we might not know about being first time cruisers. Thank you, Wendy

etinca 03-30-2008 06:06 AM

Also consider that I have travelled on an inside cabin once.....once. I swore that I would never do it again, no matter the cost. It is like living in a closet. I know others may have different opinions, but it drove me absolutely crazy not seeing outside.
Other costs... I know others will chime in but,
the tipping is at $10 per day per person in your party. Beer about $5 with 15% tip automatic. Shopping, excursions, etc off the ship. Gambling, shopping, drinks on the ship. Sodas and booze are not included in the price. Coffee, juices, hot chocolate, iced tea, etc are and are mostly available. All food is included except for maybe a specialty restaurant or specialty coffee. I'm sure more thoughts will come. But, you will love cruising. It is easy to get addicted. It is the best way to see the world at the best price, even on a budget.

Jim1012 03-30-2008 06:15 AM

Baldwin5-welcome to cruise chat!
You will find that many people here are or may be travel agents, and, through work, cruise alot more than people like you and I who do take almost a whole year to save up and pay for our cruises. Don't feel wierd for having to budget expenses-many of us are in the same boat.
Now, our first 7 day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean, being very careful with money, we spent about $900 extra (we do NOT drink, so that saved us much). The typical trinkets you'd buy on any vacation should be expected on a cruise. Almost every port you stop at will have locals trying to sell you almost anything, some forcefully. If you know the word "NO", you'll do fine.
On board, photos are taken all over the ship of you and others, and are available to buy somewhere on the ship in the camera shop. There are many on board shops too, where ytou can shop and buy things, some expensive, and other things VERY expensive! Tips can be pre-paid (there are basic prices that RCCL asks for it's crew-your travel agent or RCCL's travel planners can explain them. For a standard 7 day cruise, the basic tip expense for two people is $136.50. Travel insurance is a very good idea, and is $118.00 for two. (These are our expenses for a 7 day Mariner cruise in September this year.)You can also spend money in the casino-how much is up to you. There is a "drug store" type shop on the ship with basic medications,etc.
For your first cruise, I'm a big fan of paying for your shore excursions through RCCL. They may be a bit more expensive than a port vendor(not THAT much), but you ARE guarenteed that the ship will NOT leave without you if something happens on your outting, and they are late to get back to the ship. Our first Captain, Iask Olsen, stressed the need to be back in time, lest you become a new resident of whichever island you were visiting that day.
We like to book our cruise a year in advance with a standard $500 deposit for two ($250. each), and then pay $250. per month until the trip is paid. This way doesn't make it SEEM so expensive.
I'm sure there are other costs I haven't thought of, and other people will inform you of them here.
Enjoy yourself! You're going to LOVE crusing, and I can almost bet you'll be hooked like the rest of us here!

fllady 03-30-2008 06:37 AM

If you order room service, tips are usually $1-$2 dollars per person. Depending on what you ordered. Also if you have an inside cabin, my girl frind, who is also on a budget, turns her TV to the station that has the outside cam on, thisway you will know if the sun is out or raining, or if it is night time!

Sandy 03-30-2008 06:51 AM


You will find that many people here are or may be travel agents, and, through work, cruise alot more than people like you and I who do take almost a whole year to save up and pay for our cruises.
Jim, sorry but that's just not true. As a travel agent, I have paid the same for every cruise I take as you or anyone else pays. If we take cruises "through work," it's because we are escorting a group (which is work, not a vacation) and we still pay airfare and taxes, just as you would pay if you were escorting a group. And at a travel agent's so-called salary, believe me that agents who want to cruise have to save up just as much as anyone else.

You'll find that the folks on this forum who do the most cruising have nothing to do with the travel industry, and are employed in some other industry, or are retired and able to cruise.

There are a very few travel agents on the board. Currently, I don't think there are more than 3.


matkanmich 03-30-2008 07:25 AM

Traveling on a budget has helped my wife and I vacation every year to warm weather location.
1) limit your drinking, as drink prices are expensive.
2) do not go to Chops or Portofino as they are extra.
3) excursions can get pricey, there is no need to book an excursion at each stop. Some stops have excellent shopping or site seeing by using a taxi and driving around.
4) at an island when others are on an excursion it is fun to have the boat all to yourselves.

Hope this helps. Enjoy the trip.

Sonny V 03-30-2008 07:31 AM

Jim, Sandy is right-on…there's only a few travel agents on this board. I'm not, nor do I ever intend to become one.

There's probably a lot more people on a budget than you think. Wendy, paying an extra grand for a balcony isn't going to help your budget. This is your first cruise and you're going to be in total awe even in an inside cabin. I've been in several inside cabins and still enjoyed my cruise. I use the cabin as a bedroom with a bathroom. At home I don't spend much time in my bedroom when I'm awake—same thing on a ship. Even when I'm in a balcony cabin or suite I don't spend much time in my cabin. Oh, sure, it's great to have a bigger cabin with a balcony, but is it worth the extra $ if your on a budget?…I don't think so. Other's will probably disagree with me, but I've been on over 40 cruises and can give you my opinion with experience. It really depends on how tight your budget is.


Dave 03-30-2008 08:00 AM

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!).

Berick1234 03-30-2008 10:11 AM

Hi Wendy,

We've taken 19 cruises and MOST have have in inside cabins....Windows are great, but for the extra dollars, I would rather spend it on will remember them long after the cruise.....we take at least 2 cruises a year and thru our agent have gotten some great last minute deals...$299-$499 for 7 days with airfare....We don't drink much so we save a lot of money there...and after one or two cruises, we decided we didn't need ship pictures...another saving...I do like some of the higer end excursions but am willing to pay for them with some of the money I saved:-)...

Happy cruising no matter what you decide...I think cruising is still the best vacation buy..

Bob E

TexCruise 03-30-2008 10:20 AM

You really can cruise, have a great time and do lots of things without spending a lot of money after you pay for the cruise and get to the port (which can be costly if you fly in)Pre cruise or post cruise hotel and meals.

All of the shows are free. If you are on a Voyager or Freedom class then there are the ice shows. There's minuature golf, dancing, ping-pong, rock climbing wall and all sorts of poolside events that are free. Pictures can get costly if you go overboard on them. Also, you can keep tabs of your account on most newer ships(not sure about Explorer) by checking on your TV daily. That way it won't sneak up on you at the end. Cruising on a budget is just like being on one at home. It takes disipline and I know from experience that you can get caught up in the moment Enjoy your cruise.

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