Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
roxievegas

What a "Free" cruise will cost ya

Recommended Posts

My husband and I go to a local Indian Casino in southern California.  He received an offer for a free cruise - we both received an offer last year and took family members in April 2019.  This cruise was the same itinerary as the April trip - 7 night Mexican Riviera on the Royal Princess.  We decided not to upgrade to a Balcony (no oceanview cabins on Royal).  So we were going to go as cheap as we could. (upgrade cost to a balcony would have been additional $630)

 

To  start - the free cabin is an inside - you pay the port taxes which is $125.46 pp and then you pay $100 per person deposit which is returned to you with OBC on your account.  So your total is $450.92 to book the trip.  We were on deck 8 - Emerald in Mid-ship location.  We have been inside and balcony and have not had a problem with any of the cabins or locations.

 

 now you get to do your add ons:

 

$44.00 pp  for vacation protection plan (we are on medicare, need medical coverage for out of the U.S.)

$203.00 - pre paid the gratuities total for the cabin

$59.99 - wi fi for one week - you don't have to pay in advance, wait until you are on board - price is the same for boarding day $59.99 and use your OBC

$7.08 - one case of water - I brought on single packets of lemonade powder that you add to one 16 oz bottle to add flavor.

 

Spent on board

 

$35.40  - one dinner at the Ocean Terrace

$34.81 - 3 alcohol drinks during the 7 days

$31.30 - coffee every morning at the international cafe - I get a large brew at $1.75 and husband gets "americana" large for $2.75 -with tax $5.02 every morning

 

total bill for cruise $910.50 minus the $200 OBC which paid for the 101.51 charged to the room, rest spent in the casino

Not going to cause a debate with how much gambling costs were, but will let you know that I hit a $569 jackpot and a $500 jackpot, so it does happen, but gave it all back.

 

We did not get off the ship in Cabo.  We do not like Tender ports and have been to Cabo many times.  We got off in Mazatlan for one hour - spent $75.00 and went back on ship.  Did not get off in Puerto Vallarta.  The weather was nice - in the 70's - not warm enough to use the pool, but nice enough to sit out around the pool and read.

 

We did "Movies under the Stars", saw a show, ate in the main dining room 4 times, ate in Alfredo Pizza twice, buffet for lunch.  All the staff and services were excellent and we had no problem with the food.

 

Only complaint:  Getting off the Ship.  We live an hour from the San Pedro port, so we parked our car in the port parking and did not want to leave our luggage outside the night before, so we did the walk off with our own luggage.  Departure morning is a cluster - getting an elevator with your luggage and everyone else is hard - so we walked down to deck 6 with our luggage, waited with a couple of hundred other "walk off"'s .  We started our follow the leader off the ship around 7:30 and we were through customs and in the parking lot by 8:15, we were home one hour later.

 

We have another cruise with Princess on the Royal in May - 14 night round trip Alaska. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

forgot

 

- $133.00 for 7 day parking

now total is   $1,043.50 minus $200 obc

(won't try to figure out gasoline)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, roxievegas said:

forgot

 

- $133.00 for 7 day parking

now total is   $1,043.50 minus $200 obc

(won't try to figure out gasoline)


That’s actually a bit less than I thought a free cruise would cost

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not necessarily accurate.  I doubt everyone would include casino play as a cruise cost, many do not go near the casino.  I found dining room and buffet coffee perfectly adequate, and could live without the alcohol drinks.  So I would imagine it could be done for quite a bit less.

 

Of course, I would have to trade the parking costs for the price of a plane ticket.

Edited by stoneharborlady

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting. I would have to figure in all the gambling at the local casino that it would take to be offered the free cruise. 
 

Cruise On. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Once upon a time, I passed on a chance to attend an all expense paid trip to a conference in Hawaii.  That 'free trip' cost the man whose did go over $4000 since he had to take his wife and three sons.  He told me later that now he understood why I said I couldn't afford a 'free trip to Hawaii'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No such thing as free.  Same as with the promos, yes, they give you "free" stuff, but it's paid for in different ways, often by increased fare costs.  They don't give anything away for free, they know exactly what their promos cost them for every cruise customer and they price accordingly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, kywildcatfanone said:

No such thing as free.  Same as with the promos, yes, they give you "free" stuff, but it's paid for in different ways, often by increased fare costs.  They don't give anything away for free, they know exactly what their promos cost them for every cruise customer and they price accordingly.

 

Doubtful that this was a Princess promo.  Very likely the land casino sponsored it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this is not a prize or princess promotion.  This is an offer that casinos in Las Vegas and other locations with give in conjuntion with the cruise line.   The offer is given based on your casino play during a specific time.  Some hotels offer with other cruise lines.  We have done it twice with Harrah's casino both times on Princess.  You have to choose a cruise and the max nights is usually 10 nights, and they only offer so many cabins on each cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, denmarks said:

What about the income tax you will have to pay on the prize?

Any slot machine win under $1,200 is not taxable in the U S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, memoak said:

Any slot machine win under $1,200 is not taxable in the U S

Source?

 

Casinos are only required to report winnings over $1,200 to the IRS. But that does not mean the winnings are not taxable.

Edited by frugaltravel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, but you are allowed to deduct Gambling Losses up to the amount of Winnings.  So if the OP "gave it all back",  no federal tax would owed on the winnings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ischeer said:

Yes, but you are allowed to deduct Gambling Losses up to the amount of Winnings.  So if the OP "gave it all back",  no federal tax would owed on the winnings.

That is not what memoak said - they said any winnings under $1200 are not taxable which is incorrect.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OP, very interesting and informative for someone like me who’s always wondered what a ‘free’ cruise might actually cost. Thanks for the breakdown. As a non-gambler, will most likely never be on the receiving end of such a gift 😁.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I knew this topic would go off base with the gambling issue.  The topic was the cost of the cruise, not the gambling.

 

If you go to your local 7-ll and buy a scratcher for $1.00 and win $2.00 - you should report $1.00 winning to IRS - how many people do - no one does.

 

I am not a tax expert, but on a previous cruise I won a $1,800 jackpot and I filled out the paper work with the ship casino.  I received my money and the following January I received a 1099-G (i think that was the form) that had my winnings on it.  I reported it on my taxes and I also report my losses which if you have a casino "membership" they keep track of your win/loss and will give you a report which will offset your winnings.

 

Again the point of the topic is how cheap you can go if you are not paying for the cabin - not the gambling.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems you've added in a lot of extras to your free cruise. 😏

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All the "extras" you paid for are the same ones you would buy if you had paid for the cruise so that was not unexpected.  Years ago my dh won a "free" trip to the super bowl.  It was a contest on his radio station.  They had two private lear jets that flew all the winners down to Miami, took them out to breakfast, Super Bowl tickets (tickets said $200 but station paid $900).  When game was over they flew them back home.  (I let my son go instead of me).  My dh asked in advance what the value of the trip was as we knew we would get a tax form.  We figured out that this "free" trip would cost us about $1800 in federal and state taxes.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Adding our children to our Hawaii cruise only "cost" 299.00 each, so we said Why Not?  Forgot to figure the airfare to get them to Hawaii, the added cost in tips, the extra money for everything they ate off the ship, the souvenirs they brought back.  I would do it again in a heartbeat even though the added cost was around 5 grand 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My friend received a free cruise from our local casino and she invited me to join her.  We chose a 7-day Canada/New England cruise last September.  We upgraded our cabin to an oceanview, for a nominal cost.   After paying taxes and fees, airfare to NYC and a hotel in NYC, taxis and dinner in NY, we each spent about $1,000.   It really wasn’t bad for a week’s vacation.  Obviously, free is never free, but it can be a decent deal.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, doverboy said:

Adding our children to our Hawaii cruise only "cost" 299.00 each, so we said Why Not?  Forgot to figure the airfare to get them to Hawaii, the added cost in tips, the extra money for everything they ate off the ship, the souvenirs they brought back.  I would do it again in a heartbeat even though the added cost was around 5 grand 

 

Thanks, Dad!!  When are you booking another cruise for us. 😉😝

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter Now for a Chance to Win a 7-day Cruise for Two
      • Q&A with InsureMyTrip
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...