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Comparing cruising cost to that of staying at home? What should I include?

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Hi, this one is just for fun.

We recently took a cruise for 28 days, basically the entire month of January 2023. As you can see we live in 
Buffalo and we wanted to get away from the snow for the month. This was the first time we have done this after 60 cruises. Our previous longest cruise was 14 days. We liked it so much that we signed up for 33 days in January 2024 while still onboard. We primarily cruise with RCL/Celebrity.

The purpose of this topic is to get some help in doing an analysis of how much money the cruise actually cost us when we take into account some of the expenses at home that we did not have to pay while we were away.

I would love to say that it’s cheaper to live on the ship for a month than to stay home but I don’t think it will work out that way. It will be enough for me to say that I had some significant savings that contributed to paying for part of the cruise. I have an excellent, itemized account of what the trip cost us, so that part is done.

That being said, I have listed the following items that I think we saved on while we were away:

<> cost of food that we didn’t have to buy at the grocery store (and didn’t have to cook)

<> cost of any dining out locally

<> cost of entertainment at home (movies, purchased videos online, etc.)

<> reduced cost of heat and electric while we were away (thermostat turned down to just keep the house from freezing)

<> reduced cost of water usage (minimal in my location but could be much more in the adjacent town)

<> newspaper put on hold for the month

<> internet, phone and TV - all from one provider, put on “seasonal hold” (reduced rate, not eliminated, internet speed reduced but enough to monitor home security system and CCTV system online with my phone from the ship.

<> gasoline for normal day-to-day driving around town (I took an average of the miles per week times the cost of the gas needed)

So far that’s all I could think of. Our friends have a house cleaner so that could be an example of an additional cost.

What would you include?


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I don't think you'll have any hope of making the cruise cheaper than staying home.  Thoughts: 

- If you have a mortgage or car payment, those are still running while you're on the ship. 

- You're still paying insurance and taxes on your house.  

- You could suspend your TV streaming services 


You should include: 

- Cost of getting to the port (only once, if you're doing a 14-day, which I assume is a B2B)

- Cost of parking, if you're driving

- Night before cruise hotel 

- Tips for the staff

- Cost of shore excursions, which are probably more expensive than your typical week's entertainment at home -- I mean, personally, the last "event ticket" I bought was to a middle school wrestling tournament (and it was just as fun as it sounds).  

- Drinks and meals not included in your ticket price 

- You might choose to pay for internet on the ship 

- I would not include any clothing you buy for the cruise because that'll continue to be yours after the cruise.  



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This is fun! I've never gone on a long cruise. But, I've seen people mention that they can get a discount from their auto insurance since their vehicle is parked in their garage for a period of time. This might apply more to even longer cruises, but maybe it's an option for cost savings.


Gym membership or really any kind of auto memberships that can be paused (Netflix, etc.)


Laundry/dry cleaning--unless you are paying for those on the cruise

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks for the replies. I will definitely check to see if my auto insurance gives any discount for leaving the car in a garage for the entire month. 

One item that I hadn’t thought of as far as additional expense is the travel insurance. We took out an annual policy with Allianz as opposed to individual policies per trip. It will save us in the long run but obviously, it is an additional cost for being away. The policy costs about $250 per year so the more you travel the more savings you would have over the course of the policy.

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On 2/15/2023 at 8:24 PM, yarramar said:

We live in a popular holiday region.

I wouldn't do it but we could get more per day on Airbnb than any but the most luxurious cruises cost.

I have a coworker who rents out her house one week a year during a very large, local event. Her and her husband plan that week as their vacation and go cruise around in their RV.

I don't know what all she has to do to get the house prepared but they have rented it to the same group of people for several years now so I don't think she uses any kind of rental agency.

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i have taken 3 to 5 weeks cruises for 3 years running in February, and have booked 2024 and 2025 already - generally cheapest prices are right after dates are opened and right before last payment date. So i book ahead and check last minute. I also am happy with interior or oceanview since I'm one of those who spend little time in the room. 

Since I'm well- accustomed to Caribbean ports I don't need to spend a lot to go to my favorite beaches, or enjoy the ship on the port days. I can just relax and enjoy the warm weather.

I have a couple ways to compare vaca time vs at home time - primarily by tracking expenses all year. Using a spreadsheet I know what i need to maintain my home and my lifestyle.  I dont compare at home cost vs cruise cost. I see what fits in my retirement budget. I have a fixed amount in my budget for travel. If my winter trips come in inexpensive enough I can enjoy another back to back in the fall.

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