Cruise decisions…

As the date for our first cruise inches closer, we find we must make some decisions about our upcoming cruising experiences.

Our first cruise, on Celebrity Century, has had a price increase since we booked it many months ago.  We paid $2199 plus tips and taxes for a balcony cabin, for a total of $5545 for the two of us, a locked-in price.  If purchased now, the total for two would be around the $9500 range (at $4199 each) with tips and taxes, $4000 more.

Here’s the current pricing information directly from our cruise booking company Vacations to Go

15 nights departing January 3, 2013 on
Celebrity’s Celebrity Century
Brochure Inside $1,449
The  Inside $1,049
You Save 28%
Brochure Oceanview $2,449
The Oceanview $2,449
You Save 0%
Brochure Balcony $4,199
The Balcony $4,199
You Save 0%


Thu Jan 3 San Diego, CA 4:00pm
Fri Jan 4 At Sea
Sat Jan 5 Cabo San Lucas, Mexico 11:00am 6:00pm
Sun Jan 6 Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 12:30pm 7:30pm
Mon Jan 7 At Sea
Tue Jan 8 At Sea
Wed Jan 9 Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala 7:00am 6:00pm
Thu Jan 10 At Sea
Fri Jan 11 Puntarenas, Costa Rica 7:00am 6:00pm
Sat Jan 12 At Sea
Sun Jan 13 Panama Canal (Full Transit) 6:00am 6:00pm
Mon Jan 14 Colon, Panama 6:00am 4:00pm
Tue Jan 15 Cartagena, Colombia 9:00 am 4:00pm
Wed Jan 16 At Sea
Thu Jan 17 At Sea
Fri Jan 18 Fort Lauderdale, FL 7:00 am

We decided when booking this first cruise that we would exercise our right to “buyer beware” by educating ourselves to the possible “up” charges that inevitably exist on cruises.  After reading reviews over these past several months, talking to experienced cruisers, and more recently calling the cruise line and asking questions, we feel satisfied that we have an idea as to potential additional charges. Over and again, we’ve heard from experienced cruisers as to the shock of seeing their “tab” at the end of their cruise, always backed up by a credit card, leaving no margin for negotiations or adjustments. 

One big point of discussion for us has been as to whether or not to purchase a “beverage package” for Tom.  I seldom drink alcohol.  Mostly, I drink copious amounts of iced tea or hot tea which is provided at no additional cost.  Tom, when socializing, may enjoy a few cocktails, otherwise, he doesn’t drink at all.  His drink of choice is Courvoisier, a pricey cognac, which we discovered would be $8 per cocktail plus a 15% tip.

The beverage package that works for his cocktail of choice is $810 (just for him!) for the length of the cruise, allowing him to drink all he wants and includes tips.  For one second we considered this.  He feels he cannot justify the expense since he doesn’t want to feel like he is pressured into getting his money’s worth.

On the other hand, I don’t want him to feel he can’t have a cocktail when he wants one so we went to work and did the math.

If he has three cocktails a night (highly unlikely he’ll drink every night), the total would be $27.60 per night x 15 nights for a total of $414.  Considering that some nights he won’t drink any alcohol but instead may have a non-included soda, we feel comfortable that the drink bill won’t exceed $400. 

Then, there’s the question of dining in any of the non-included restaurants. It’s unlikely we’ll choose to dine in these extra-charge restaurants due to our limited low carb, grain, sugar, and starch free diet. The exception to this would be a social situation whereby fellow travelers we’ve befriended invite us to join them at one of these restaurants. We’ll decide at the time if it makes sense to bear the added expense. We aren’t “tightwads.”  We’re world travelers with a desire to continue traveling for as long as our health holds out and that we stay within the budget we’ve established for our travels. 

We’ve allowed ourselves an average of $75 per day for extras on cruises.  If our alcohol beverage budget is $27.60 per day, that leaves us $47.40 per day in other extras. 

The next expense we’ll most certainly incur is the cost of Internet access on the cruise. At a cost of $395 for the 15 days, we will each be allowed 60 minutes of Internet access per day. (There were other less costly packages available but, cost per minute increased with lower minute packages).

As a result, I will write the blog offline then go online for posting, editing, and adding photos. This amount uses up $26.33 per day leaving us $21.00 per day average for incidentals which is enough for us to go on two excursions if we so choose.

Our habits of researching our travels, mindless reading online will literally be metered while we’re on a cruise.  Odd?  Yes, but do-able. We’ll have plenty to do to keep us occupied leaving us ample time to read one of many pre-downloaded books. 

Oops, there’s another task we must complete before the month ends…download books to the Kindle app on our phones and laptops, all of which may be read offline. It’s easy for me to imagine sitting in a lounge chair on the deck of the ship reading, NeanderThin: Eat to Achieve a Lean, Strong, Healthy Body” while Tom peruses, “The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors.”    Ah, nice.

P.S.  Please excuse gaps in editing.  When copying and pasting from other websites, spacing becomes an issue in Blogger.


2 thoughts on “Cruise decisions…

  1. Anonymous Reply

    Hey Jess, maybe you've thought of this but what would it cost to access the internet through your phones? I can make my phone a wifi hot spot and then access the internet through that whenever I am without an internet connection. I think some carriers charge per time and others just charge a monthly fee to do it. Let me know what you think about that?

  2. Jessica Reply

    Thanks for your much appreciated comment. Yes, we have thought of that, actually using it when no Internet was available while we were in Las Vegas recently. The problem is this: When using a phone internationally for a hot spot, you are still utilizing the network for your phone, incurring international "roaming" Internet charges. Without a contract on the phone, one needs a SIM card in order to make it work, subsequently using up the data available on the SIM card at relatively high costs. Our best bet appears to be to use XCOM Global's unlimited Internet MiFi that will work in most of our upcoming locations. Unfortunately, it's a little pricey at about $400 a month. Thanks for reading out blog!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

<< Older Post Newer Post >>