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tx121

Has Pandemic Changed Your Frugal Mind on Cruising / Vacation?

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Posted (edited)

I've always been in a way, not a cheap but a frugal cruiser.  I'm one to look for great deals but never splurge on anything above a balcony, even if it only cost $100-200 more per person. Im in the crowd that says, "well you're never in your room anyway, so why pay more to upgrade?"

When it comes to doing specialty dining, I'm in the crowd that says "Whats the point, I can get this type of meal back home, why pay more? Ive already paid for food in the dining room. Or no Ben and Jerrys, we can get free ice cream up at the pool deck"

When it comes to using the spa services and amenities, Im in the crowd that says "Wow these prices are overpriced and I can get a massage cheaper at home"

When it comes to excursions, I'm in the crowd that says "sheesh I'm not paying these inflated prices for shore excursions! I'm not taking a private tour, I will just use the public transport and explore on my own"

*Lesson learned, on our last attempt to do Cinque Terre on our own from Naples, it was a mess and almost missed the ship because of the inconsistent times of trains and crowded trains". 😳

 

You catch my drift. Well this pandemic has changed my frugal mind. When you realize these days when something like a vacation seems so out of reach, you appreciate things more. Life is short and we should pamper ourselves especially when on vacation (within your budget of course). 

 

Have you been a "frugal cruiser" like myself or have always been the type that says "I'm on vacation, spend the money"? Do you think your spending habits will change once you are able to travel again?

 

 

Edited by tx121

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Before this pandemic and the passengers stuck at sea, we would only book inside cabins.  Our thinking was we are not in our cabin and we could cruise more.  Now we have upgraded to balconies just in case we have to spend time in our cabin.

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We are still not going to purchase meal plans or spa treatments. However most of our sailings over the past 30 years have been ocean views. If I can't afford the cheapest balcony even if obstructed we won't go.  We will probably seek out airbnbs and all inclusive resorts before we cruise again.

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I'm more on the frugal end of the spectrum.  That allows me to afford more vacations.

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We are on the frugal end as well. Mostly balconies if price is close to OV or inside due to having Dianmond+ discount on balconies. Now with the Covid issues, we will probably only sail in a balcony going forward.

T

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We are frugal vacationers. We look for the best deal and bang for our buck. We were going to splurge a bit on our first cruise because it would be ~2 years since our last real vacation. We would typically spend $3k on vacation for the 3 of us for a week. We use to go to Disney often, but that is approaching $5k for a week now for 3 people. Our initial plans for saving is...

 

1. Book inside and see if we can upgrade to a balcony for $100pp

2. Unfortunately, the drink package is necessary because I would be over the break even. At least RCL allows my wife not to have it because of a medical condition that she can't drink alcohol.

3. All excursion and spending money has to come from our weekly allowance. Instead of $100/wk we have to put $20 of it into the cruise account. If we don't have the money to do excursions from that account, then we just walk around the port or explore on our own. It doesn't take much for this to grow though. Sticking to a good budget makes it easy. We have $800 saved in 3 months. We also have some odd $300-$400 in cc points that can be used. If we sail in Nov, we should have about $2k for spending, excursions, etc. I think that is overkill. We only have an excursion in St Maarten and the balance is $200. I have a $300 limit for the casino. I go so rarely so when I get the opportunity, I play. I can lose $300 and the most I won was $8,000. So, that is a possibility.

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We started off quite frugally, always booked inside cabins, but, as the price dropped and we went to OV and Balcony and sometimes suite category if it's a great price drop, now would only sail with an OV at the very least,  We don't do speciality dining unless it's a special occasion and get the free drinks being a D+ member.   Saying that, we cruise twice a year as we have limited vacation time, when we eventually retire if it's a choice of two cruises in an inside or one in a balcony I will happily go for the inside cabin.   Our bill at the end is usually ok, a couple of drinks and maybe an excursion.

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I'm pretty frugal but no more interior or OV's for me.  Balcony or not going 

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Going forward it will only be a balcony for us.  We will continue to book our excursions with fellow CC members off the roll call, most of which have been used by previous CC cruisers and are well rated.  We splurge on a 3 or 5 specialty dinner package depending on the length of the cruise.  The drink packages would be a waste for us as our bar bill is always less then $200 US on a cruise.  We think we spend wisely for our budget and it has allowed us to take many cruises and we are looking forward to cruising when it gets sensible again.    Maybe we will try all inclusive resorts a few times while we are waiting.

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Posted (edited)

I don't think us as frugal...but we are a family of 4 and have started cruising 2x -3x per year.  Flying in from Toronto + cruises adds up.  So it's the total vacation cost / year and thus, we  often book an inside room.  We've never done the straight inside but the ones with a window such as a promenade.  I actually like these rooms.

 

With covid, it won't change our spending habits on specialty dining (we like the MDR) or spa packages, but we now consider balcony rooms more.  Having said that, for our next one, we do have a Central Park interior as we are looking at >1K to upgrade.  Will have to see how things are closer to the date to see if we are comfortable with this.  It has a window to the outside but no balcony.  We also have a balcony rooms book for our other cruises.

 

Also...as we keep losing cruises, it makes it more tempting to purchase the drink package...for all the savings that we had, we could put the money elsewhere to something we will enjoy as a treat (but we also come with kids so probably would be a waste).

Edited by LuCruise

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2 hours ago, tx121 said:

I've always been in a way, not a cheap but a frugal cruiser.  I'm one to look for great deals but never splurge on anything above a balcony, even if it only cost $100-200 more per person. Im in the crowd that says, "well you're never in your room anyway, so why pay more to upgrade?"

When it comes to doing specialty dining, I'm in the crowd that says "Whats the point, I can get this type of meal back home, why pay more? Ive already paid for food in the dining room. Or no Ben and Jerrys, we can get free ice cream up at the pool deck"

When it comes to using the spa services and amenities, Im in the crowd that says "Wow these prices are overpriced and I can get a massage cheaper at home"

When it comes to excursions, I'm in the crowd that says "sheesh I'm not paying these inflated prices for shore excursions! I'm not taking a private tour, I will just use the public transport and explore on my own"

*Lesson learned, on our last attempt to do Cinque Terre on our own from Naples, it was a mess and almost missed the ship because of the inconsistent times of trains and crowded trains". 😳

 

You catch my drift. Well this pandemic has changed my frugal mind. When you realize these days when something like a vacation seems so out of reach, you appreciate things more. Life is short and we should pamper ourselves especially when on vacation (within your budget of course). 

 

Have you been a "frugal cruiser" like myself or have always been the type that says "I'm on vacation, spend the money"? Do you think your spending habits will change once you are able to travel again?

 

 

 

I'm reasonably sure you didn't visit Cinque Terre from Naples, as it's south of Rome!  My guess is your port stop was La Spezia or Livorno.

 

I'm still frugal, especially when it comes to cruises. Three of my four upcoming cruises in 2021 are in inside cabins, and the 4th is an OV on Empress - simply because the cabins are so small.

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14 minutes ago, NancyIL said:

 

I'm reasonably sure you didn't visit Cinque Terre from Naples, as it's south of Rome!  My guess is your port stop was La Spezia or Livorno.

 

I'm still frugal, especially when it comes to cruises. Three of my four upcoming cruises in 2021 are in inside cabins, and the 4th is an OV on Empress - simply because the cabins are so small.

Yes you are right..wrong port it was La Spezia! Lol! In Naples we did Pompeii via public transport. 

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I am the opposite in most areas.  I choose the kind of cabin I want, usually a balcony, even though we have stayed in suites.  Suites are not really my forte as the ones we have stayed in have tubs instead of showers and I have had 2 knee replacements, so getting over the side of a tub to take a shower is difficult for me.  I also cannot walk up stairs easily, so a two level suite is definitely a no go for me.

 

We do get the dining package on all our cruises because , to me, the food in the MDR sounds far better than it tastes.  I also like the ambiance of the specialty restaurants as opposed to the dining rooms.  I feel the service is better as well.  We enjoy having a glass or two of wine with dinner and I don't like to have to order 2 glasses when I sit down so I get them with dinner instead of with the entree and one with dessert, if it shows up at all.

 

I am not a big drinker, but I like to be able to get what I want when I want and that includes the specialty coffees, so purchasing the alcohol package makes sense to me. Even with access to the DL, I prefer to order my brand of drinks elsewhere.  I probably have 5 drinks max daily as I don't drink before the happy hour time. I do drink a lot of bottled water during the day.

 

I don't get massages as my DH was a physical therapist and gave the best..  To me, I'd rather do one "good" vacation a year than go on two "cheap" ones.  The day I have to watch pennies on a cruise is when I will stop going on vacation.  I guess I am fortunate as I do get to go on at least 2 cruises a year even with having to fly to the ports.

 

Fortunately, we are all different and there is room for all of us on cruises.

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Interesting topic. In some ways we're frugal and in others we're more extravagant. We've always booked a balcony but never get the drink package and rarely go to specialty restaurants. I prefer to book excursions independently but the DW insists on booking through the cruise line so we're not "left behind" at the port. I have a feeling that our cruising habits will change a little because I've been unemployed for 18 months now. Fortunately the DW has a secure and well paying job so we'll continue cruising in some form when this Covid crap is behind us.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, tx121 said:

Yes you are right..wrong port it was La Spezia! Lol! In Naples we did Pompeii via public transport. 

 

 Rick Steves' Mediterranean Cruise Ports book warns against trying to visit the Cinque Terre from La Spezia, as the large number of cruisers overwhelm the small towns. Or in your case - almost "miss the boat"!

 

Just wanted to add that I like going on tours in ports - unless I have specific plans to do things on my own. Sometimes I book ship tours, but I'm always happy to join private tours that others on our roll call have organized. I generally book a particular cruise because of the itinerary, so it's worth the money spent on a tour to maximize my time in a port.

Edited by NancyIL

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We have always been a combination of the two.  We are frugal on certain things but there are other areas where we'll splurge.  We will remain this way going forward.

 

-For a precruise hotel we've used hotwire/priceline to save some $$.  In Europe we tend to stay at 3* hotels that are clean and in convenient location.  In Europe the star level refers to the amenities, not the rating.  Things like room service, pools, onsite restaurants, bellhop, etc. are not important to us so we won't pay more to have these services.

-We usually book an inside cabin.  We are usually only in the cabin to sleep/shower so can't justify upgrading to something bigger/with a better view (that we likely won't use as we're usually not in the cabin).

-We take the savings from that inside cabin and will splurge on some nice experiences during the cruise.   This could be things like a dinner at a specialty restaurant, a drink package or particular tour in a port.

 

As for excursions in ports, we will pay more for a better experience.   While some ports can easily be done with public transportation or on your own, others do require a tour.  For example, when we visited Livorno we joined others on our roll call for a fabulous tour through the Tuscan countryside with a stop at a winery for lunch.  There is no way we would have got this same experience had we limited ourselves to what was available using public transportation.  So instead of looking to see "what can we do on the cheap" we research the ports to determine what we want to do and then figure out how is the most cost effective way to do it.  Usually on a cruise we end up having a combination of DIY tours using public transportation, private tours (shared with others from a roll call) and the occassional ships tour.

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Money is no object if we see value in it. Sadly value, at least in our minds, is pretty hard to find. Our last four cruises (in the last four years) have been in suites. Before the cruise lines got greedy, we were averaging 45-50 days a year, all in balconys. If or when cruising resumes I don't think we'll see value in any category.

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Up to 2 years ago were very frugal - wanted to do more vacations.  But since DH had serious health problems - I stopped putting off the "maybe someday we will be able to (insert fly 1st class, use a limo to the boat, Royal suites, etc.).  We did our first Star Class suite 2 years ago and his face lite up beyond belief.  Even though he spent most of the vacation in our cabin - he couldn't stop talking about it (it was a surprise to him).  Since then whenever he has a relapse we talk about another Royal Suite Class suite.  In all honesty, even if I have to take a 2nd job,  I would rather be spending the money making beautiful and unbelievable memories with him than having the money in the bank and not having the memories.  Yes, I scour RCI website daily looking for a cruise (before April 2022 - need to use our FCC) for a great deal on a Star Class suite.  

 

If anyone sees any fabulous deals on Star Class Suites on a ship leaving from FLL - please let me know.  

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Posted (edited)

We are frugal cruisers and cruise about 35 days a year or so, go to Disney about twice a year, and typically a couple other week kind vacations.

 

We’ve done cruises where our balance at the end is less than a $100 And that’s for a family of four.  (We prepaid grats.) We have never done a specialty restaurant.   Don’t buy drinks as we are diamond, and never buy souvenirs except for a magnet.  Our kids are trained at this point with the knowledge that we are not buying a bunch of junk from the souvenir stores.

 

That being said,  due to Covid, and the loss of practically any travel which has increased our travel budget and the fact our daughter is 5 now and finally getting to the age where we can start doing some more exciting tours rather than just bus tours, we have started to expand our budget some.  We still won’t spend for a drink package or specialty restaurants, but will spend a little more on the pre and post cruise hotel and experiences and some other smaller amenities like maybe actually getting a drink at a restaurant rather than ordering water every time or getting a little nicer hotel room.

 

You only live once!

 

 

Edited by rimmit

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Posted (edited)

Over the past few years, we have progressed to suites as opposed to regular balconies. We spend a good amount of time in the cabin so the extra space is valuable to us, plus Royal and Celebrity's suite perks are a nice addition. We splurge on the cabin and would never get the drink package, seek out inexpensive shore excursions (or just stay on the ship), only take the free D+ photos, maybe a three-night dining package depending on the ship, little or no shop purchases on the ship unless its for the kids/grandkids. If I could only keep my wife out of Ballerina Jewelers in St. Thomas.🙄

 

While we have spent almost nothing on travel this year, I have redirected the travel budget to our master bathroom and driveway -- not very exotic, but necessary. I guess I'll take a lawn chair and a beer and play steel drum music on the new driveway. The neighbors will think I've finally gone over the edge. 

 

This current situation has only highlighted to us the value we place on cruising and our choices when we go. I retired two years ago and continue to look forward to cruising around the world. Looks like I may have lost a year's time that I will never get back.  We have 7 cruises booked between May 2021 and April 2022, all in GS or above on Royal or SS on Celebrity.

 

mac_tlc

Edited by mac_tlc

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Posted (edited)

Our cruising habits and spending habits will not change. 
 

We cruise several times each year and hope to continue to do so. We enjoy ourselves  on each and every cruise or land trip and hope to continue to do so  
 

We’ve had amazing travel experiences throughout the years. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

 

m

 


 

Edited by cruisegirl1

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6 hours ago, tx121 said:

I've always been in a way, not a cheap but a frugal cruiser.  I'm one to look for great deals but never splurge on anything above a balcony, even if it only cost $100-200 more per person. Im in the crowd that says, "well you're never in your room anyway, so why pay more to upgrade?"

When it comes to doing specialty dining, I'm in the crowd that says "Whats the point, I can get this type of meal back home, why pay more? Ive already paid for food in the dining room. Or no Ben and Jerrys, we can get free ice cream up at the pool deck"

When it comes to using the spa services and amenities, Im in the crowd that says "Wow these prices are overpriced and I can get a massage cheaper at home"

When it comes to excursions, I'm in the crowd that says "sheesh I'm not paying these inflated prices for shore excursions! I'm not taking a private tour, I will just use the public transport and explore on my own"

*Lesson learned, on our last attempt to do Cinque Terre on our own from Naples, it was a mess and almost missed the ship because of the inconsistent times of trains and crowded trains". 😳

 

 

 

 

I was right with you until you said you went to cinque terre from Naples.  This has nothing to do with frugal, it has to do with bad choices.  I mean say what?  How many days were you in port in naples?  thats about an 8 hour train ride.

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6 hours ago, tx121 said:

I've always been in a way, not a cheap but a frugal cruiser.  I'm one to look for great deals but never splurge on anything above a balcony, even if it only cost $100-200 more per person. Im in the crowd that says, "well you're never in your room anyway, so why pay more to upgrade?"

When it comes to doing specialty dining, I'm in the crowd that says "Whats the point, I can get this type of meal back home, why pay more? Ive already paid for food in the dining room. Or no Ben and Jerrys, we can get free ice cream up at the pool deck"

When it comes to using the spa services and amenities, Im in the crowd that says "Wow these prices are overpriced and I can get a massage cheaper at home"

When it comes to excursions, I'm in the crowd that says "sheesh I'm not paying these inflated prices for shore excursions! I'm not taking a private tour, I will just use the public transport and explore on my own"

*Lesson learned, on our last attempt to do Cinque Terre on our own from Naples, it was a mess and almost missed the ship because of the inconsistent times of trains and crowded trains". 😳

 

You catch my drift. Well this pandemic has changed my frugal mind. When you realize these days when something like a vacation seems so out of reach, you appreciate things more. Life is short and we should pamper ourselves especially when on vacation (within your budget of course). 

 

Have you been a "frugal cruiser" like myself or have always been the type that says "I'm on vacation, spend the money"? Do you think your spending habits will change once you are able to travel again?

 

 

I have been a frugal cruiser .I am very happy with an Oceanview cabin.I had a balcony twice and did not like it.I never do specialty restaurants primarily because I do not eat fish or fowl and very rarely meat.

As far as shore excursions I did many but not for quite some time.I never paid for ice cream or coffee or liquor on a ship.I am fine for everything that I get for the price of the cruise.The above applies to Mrs.66 as well.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, pasodancer said:

I would rather be spending the money making beautiful and unbelievable memories with him than having the money in the bank and not having the memories. 

 

So very true...couldn't agree more.

 

To tx121...we are exactly the same way...until an illness came our way........time to spend it...we can't take it with us...and yes, as rimmit said "LIfe is short"....corrected "You only live once".

Edited by bonsai3s
corrected quote

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