Thursday, July 7, 2011

Vacation Part 10: Cruising Tips

Jarrod and I have compiled a few tips, so I thought I'd share.  We are by no means cruise experts, I've been on 3 and Jarrod has been on 2, but we do have a few little tips that we will continue to use on cruises here after.  We love to travel and the only way we can travel a lot is to keep each trip cheap cheap cheap.  It's a common misconception that everything is free on a cruise while in fact, food is the only thing that is free.
Here are a few tips to save money or get the most for your money.
1. Listerine bottles.  If you like to have a few drinks when you are on vacation, sneak some on.  Do you remember seeing my drink on this post?  It was $14 and the ONLY drink we bought on the trip, but it's not the only thing we drank.  Before we left, we bought Listerine, carefully cut the seal (without taking it off) and emptyed it out into another bottle.  We washed them and poured in our alcohol of choice, then we put in a few drops of food coloring, 3 blue and 1 green.  Perfect, right? (However, make sure you get the Listerine smell out before you pour in your alcohol)
2. Take the sit down dinner option.  It is 10 times better than the buffet every night.  Come on, you get the buffet during the day, why not take the nice option for the evening.  
3. Don't buy into the "sales."  The massages, spa treatments and pictures are NOT worth the money.  I don't know how many times I heard people say, "why not, we're on vacation."  No people, you still have to pay for it when you get home and I promise, you can get it cheaper at home.  If you want pictures of yourself, take a camera.
4. Excursions: When you book your cruise, look to see what excursions you want to do and then look online and find a local shop that does the same excursion for a lot less (make sure you read the reviews) .  Jarrod saved about 80 bucks on his dive.
5. Get a basic room.  I've had a nice balcony room and it was great, but as little as you are in your room, it's worth saving a little extra money.  The only reason I enjoyed the balcony was waking up and seeing the beautiful scenery as you come into a port.  However, it's easy to walk up the stairs and enjoying the same thing.
6. Always take the stairs (I realize this has nothing to do with money).  If you like to eat as much as we do, you need to find a way to walk it off.  There are 10 plus floors on these boats and all the entertainment is usually on the top floors.  If you go with a basic room, your floor will be one of the lowers ones which makes a perfect little workout.  At the beginning, we promised each other to only take the stairs and not ride the elevator.  I think when Jarrod was feeling his worst we took a ride but that was it.
7.  If you go with Carnival, once you book your cruise, check the price as often as you can.  Carnival will price grantee your trip depending on when you book it.   If what you bought goes down in price at anytime before you leave they will give you that credit back.  We saved about $80 because Jarrod checked it everyday.  We actually got it refunded back since they hadn't charged the second half to our credit card yet.  However, if you've already paid you just get ship credit (so you can buy these crazy expensive drinks).
8.  They give you beach towels in your room, don't loose those because they will charge you $25 if you do.  If you need a towel when you are exploring the destinations, just take a plain white bath towel.  If you loose it, it doesn't matter.
9.  Read the fine print of your itineraries.  Some ships do a cocktail hour one night where you get free drinks.
10. The last one I learned from the 2nd cruise I did.  We went to an art auction where I found a painting I absolutely LOVED.  I waited around to see if anyone would bid on it.  Yeah, it went for over 16,000 dollar.  No way would this girl be getting that painting.  They had the painting in a brochure and I took it back to school for my friend (who will remain nameless since she might not want people to know she did this, you know who you are) to see if she can paint it.  I told her I wanted it for a wedding present.  In a matter of hours she had it done and it now hangs in my kitchen.  She made it slightly different so she wouldn't feel guilty about stealing working, but I absolutely love what she did.  Thanks Friend.
Welp, that's it, remember these are just suggestions!  Happy Cruising everyone.


Rachel said...

Great tips! I especially agree with taking the stairs. Jordan and I made a promise to each other at the beginning of our cruise that we would take the stairs each time...and I still managed to gain 5 pounds!

I'm in the middle of doing a similar money-saving post for Disney that I'm putting up in the next couple days - I'll be sure to link to your blog for great cruise tips ;)

Tara Calton said...

I agree with all of those except the room one. Yes, we did inside cheap cabins without Leah, but with her, having the balcony to sit on while she napped was excellent. I wouldn't travel with a napping child on a cruise any other way.