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  #1 (permalink)  
Old October 5th, 2008, 10:23 AM
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Default An Alarming Trend

For the first time in 12 years, we won't be cruising. And the reason is simple-can't afford it. Being seniors,we're always on a fixed budget but with careful planning and a lot of research we always managed to do a 10,11 or 14 night cruise once a year. Always the Caribbean, except one Mexican. The first 4 were inside, then we graduated to ocean view but never a balcony. Prices did go up somewhat over the years but we were able to adjust-we no longer buy photographs,we've done all the excursions worth doing and drink a lot less! We enjoy fine dining and for that reason most of our cruises have been with Celebrity plus a couple of Princess, one Hal and an RCI.
Is it my imagination or are the cruise lines slowly but surely going back to the class system? The great food that used to be served in the main dining room is now only available if you pay a surcharge to eat in an "specialty" restaurant. The dining rooms now serve what you'd get at a banquet hall, with a few exceptions. The specialty restaurants also serve breakfast and lunch IF you book a suite. The newer ships now have pools and sundecks with luxurious lounges for those who can afford an "Aqua Class" suite. I see the day coming when we'll have first class and second class dining rooms like Cunard used to have. When you board you'll receive a color coded bracelet to make sure you don't wander into a retricted area! I know-it's unlikely but I'm just trying to make a point.
We've always included gratuities in our costs-the recommended plus. Now we're looking at fuel surcharges, $20 per day to park and of course the travel insusrance keeps going up as we get older. And cruising in an outside cabin for $100 per person per night is just not there anymore.
Obviously, the cruise lines didn't see this financial crisis coming-I wonder if they shot themselves in the foot by building all these huge mega-ships? Time will tell but I really think they are going to have to make some adjustments if they want to attract the average consumer, not just the wealthy. Who knows, maybe something last minute will pop up . Being retired, we're flexible. Can drive to FL in 2 days-if we mortgage the condo to pay for the gas
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Old October 5th, 2008, 10:33 AM
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Default Re: An Alarming Trend

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacdenv24
For the first time in 12 years, we won't be cruising. And the reason is simple-can't afford it. Being seniors,we're always on a fixed budget but with careful planning and a lot of research we always managed to do a 10,11 or 14 night cruise once a year. Always the Caribbean, except one Mexican. The first 4 were inside, then we graduated to ocean view but never a balcony. Prices did go up somewhat over the years but we were able to adjust-we no longer buy photographs,we've done all the excursions worth doing and drink a lot less! We enjoy fine dining and for that reason most of our cruises have been with Celebrity plus a couple of Princess, one Hal and an RCI.
Is it my imagination or are the cruise lines slowly but surely going back to the class system? The great food that used to be served in the main dining room is now only available if you pay a surcharge to eat in an "specialty" restaurant. The dining rooms now serve what you'd get at a banquet hall, with a few exceptions. The specialty restaurants also serve breakfast and lunch IF you book a suite. The newer ships now have pools and sundecks with luxurious lounges for those who can afford an "Aqua Class" suite. I see the day coming when we'll have first class and second class dining rooms like Cunard used to have. When you board you'll receive a color coded bracelet to make sure you don't wander into a retricted area! I know-it's unlikely but I'm just trying to make a point.
We've always included gratuities in our costs-the recommended plus. Now we're looking at fuel surcharges, $20 per day to park and of course the travel insusrance keeps going up as we get older. And cruising in an outside cabin for $100 per person per night is just not there anymore.
Obviously, the cruise lines didn't see this financial crisis coming-I wonder if they shot themselves in the foot by building all these huge mega-ships? Time will tell but I really think they are going to have to make some adjustments if they want to attract the average consumer, not just the wealthy. Who knows, maybe something last minute will pop up . Being retired, we're flexible. Can drive to FL in 2 days-if we mortgage the condo to pay for the gas
I see you point yet there are some good bargain fares out there.
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Old October 5th, 2008, 02:11 PM
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I CERTAINLY EMPATHIZE. RECENTLY RETIRED AND ON A SEMI-FIXED INCOME, I'VE HAD TO POSTPONE CRUISE RESERVATIONS UNTIL I SEE JUST HOW THIS ECONOMIC MESS HAS IMPACTED MY ACCOUNTS -- SOME FDIC INSURED, OTHERS RELATIVELY STABLE (TIAA) AND ONE THAT IS LINKED TO THE BOND MARKET. BUT, I CAN SEE, TO MY SADNESS, THE DAYS WHEN CRUISING A COUPLE OF TIMES A YEAR WILL BE OUT OF THE PICTURE. AND YOU ARE RIGHT, THE QUALITY OF A BASIC CRUISE IS GOING DOWN, WHILE HIDDEN AND ANCILLIARY COSTS ARE GOING UP. PRETTY SOON, WE'LL HAVE TO PAY FOR THE DINING ROOM, A LA THAT ORANGE SHIP, WHATEVER THE NAME IS. DOUG, AKA, HOMBRE

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Old October 5th, 2008, 02:17 PM
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just a pps: the cruise lines are shifting demographics rapidly; they don't want seniors. their target is 20-somethings with kids and credit cards, who are all too willing to spend now and pay later -- much later, if ever. that is not their worry. those of us 'pay it off when in arrives in the mail folks' are going to be out of luck. that is what has this country in the mess it is in, but hedonism and greed will be served.
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Old October 5th, 2008, 03:52 PM
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I'm sorry to say I must agree with everything mentioned in the previous posts; the truth can't be denied. For now we can only take one cruise a year because DW has another five years to retire; I've been retired eleven years. Unless prices get really crazy, we'll then be able to do 2-3 cruises a year. But with the decline in quality and service across the board I expect we'll find another venue for our 'vacation' dollars. As for two levels of service, classes, there's no way I'll pay for first class and thereby surrender to the cruise lines. As much as we enjoy being at sea, we can spend the same amount of time at numerous resorts for not much more money.

Bob
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Old October 5th, 2008, 04:03 PM
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Well, aside from the people who book suites, there really doesn't seem to be any difference in amenities. If you can't book a longer cruise, you can always check into a cruise that is 6 days or less and pair it with a couple days on land to round it out to a week or so. Just check around and you may be pleasently suprised at your options. Btw, I too am a food snob(being that I cook for a hobby) and I am on a fixed income as well(being disabled) and I have managed to fit in about 10-11 days of cruising over the next year alone, so I think you should be able to find a way since you have cut out most of the most expensive parts of cruises. I mean really, $7 for a drink when it's on sale.....who are they kidding? I have been to bars in Manhattan where it was cheaper than that.
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Old October 6th, 2008, 06:31 PM
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A shorter cruise is definitely an option, although DH always says "it's not worth packing for less than 10 nights"! But isn't a 7 night cruise better than none at all? I've noticed a few good deals for Nov. and Dec. but we can't go until Jan/Feb. so hopefully come Nov. we'll see some deals. The itinerary used to be the big thing-like where haven't we been before. Now that we've run out of new islands the ship itself has become the priority-not too big,comfortable cabin and a varity of better than average food. And hopefully some decent entertainment. Did the Constellation last Feb. and got hooked on Perry Grant-we'd do the same cruise again if the price is right!
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Old October 6th, 2008, 06:54 PM
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I just created myself a cruise spreadsheet because of this issue. I don't like being surprised and there are a lot of little things that can add up quickly. I have animals so I have to pay if them, if I'm driving to port I have to pay gas and parking, if I'm flying I have to pay shuttle fee. I'm still test it out of make certain the formulas work right. You should just have to input your information and it fills in the summary page. I made it so you can compare three different cruises at once, it also gives you a per night cost. The time of year you cruise makes a huge difference in cost.
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Old October 6th, 2008, 07:52 PM
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A spreadsheet sounds like a great idea since, as you mentioned, there are a number of variables. We have a dog and two cats that have to be cared for, too. Fortunately our next door neighbors are both vets and are happy to care for our critters when we're gone, but I know that won't last forever since we'll be moving to Florida in about five years.

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Old October 6th, 2008, 09:29 PM
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You can easily find good deals on 7 day cruises in late January and in February as long as you avoid New Years and Valentines Day. Most of the cruiselines already have their schedules posted for then. Also, only taking 10 day or more cruises is kind of an elitist attitude since most people cruise 7 days or less.
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Old October 6th, 2008, 09:36 PM
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Default Re: An Alarming Trend

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacdenv24
For the first time in 12 years, we won't be cruising. And the reason is simple-can't afford it. Being seniors,we're always on a fixed budget but with careful planning and a lot of research we always managed to do a 10,11 or 14 night cruise once a year. Always the Caribbean, except one Mexican. The first 4 were inside, then we graduated to ocean view but never a balcony. Prices did go up somewhat over the years but we were able to adjust-we no longer buy photographs,we've done all the excursions worth doing and drink a lot less! We enjoy fine dining and for that reason most of our cruises have been with Celebrity plus a couple of Princess, one Hal and an RCI.
Is it my imagination or are the cruise lines slowly but surely going back to the class system? The great food that used to be served in the main dining room is now only available if you pay a surcharge to eat in an "specialty" restaurant. The dining rooms now serve what you'd get at a banquet hall, with a few exceptions. The specialty restaurants also serve breakfast and lunch IF you book a suite. The newer ships now have pools and sundecks with luxurious lounges for those who can afford an "Aqua Class" suite. I see the day coming when we'll have first class and second class dining rooms like Cunard used to have. When you board you'll receive a color coded bracelet to make sure you don't wander into a retricted area! I know-it's unlikely but I'm just trying to make a point.
We've always included gratuities in our costs-the recommended plus. Now we're looking at fuel surcharges, $20 per day to park and of course the travel insusrance keeps going up as we get older. And cruising in an outside cabin for $100 per person per night is just not there anymore.
Obviously, the cruise lines didn't see this financial crisis coming-I wonder if they shot themselves in the foot by building all these huge mega-ships? Time will tell but I really think they are going to have to make some adjustments if they want to attract the average consumer, not just the wealthy. Who knows, maybe something last minute will pop up . Being retired, we're flexible. Can drive to FL in 2 days-if we mortgage the condo to pay for the gas
I have about 5 years to retirement.We plan to cruise as much as possible in that time. After retirement it will depend allot of different factors.
So between now and 2015 we plan on doing at least 3 -5 cruises.

After that maybe Alaska or Hawaii every 2 or 3 years.
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Old October 6th, 2008, 11:18 PM
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Default Great deal I couldn't pass up

I am also a senior, (59) still working, but enjoy our cruises each year on Princess. I have managed to get great deals on re-positioning cruises, where I am able to afford to bring my older sister, and usually two or three best pals on these great deals. Right now, we are booked on a 21 day from Rome to Fort Lauderdale on the Grand Princess, Nov. 22. Mini-suites are going for 2700 and balconies just under that. But, the real value deal is the abundance of inside cabins they have at 825 just this week. That's 41 dollars a day. Air to Rome, is about 600, but a capable travel agent can shop around. Just thought I would pass this on, as the cruise destination is in your neighborhood, and that takes care of the return travel. Happy sailing!
Dan
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Old October 7th, 2008, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpjkw11
A spreadsheet sounds like a great idea since, as you mentioned, there are a number of variables. We have a dog and two cats that have to be cared for, too. Fortunately our next door neighbors are both vets and are happy to care for our critters when we're gone, but I know that won't last forever since we'll be moving to Florida in about five years.

Bob
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Old October 7th, 2008, 12:12 PM
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I wanted to play with my new spreadsheet test it out.
I have a 10 on the Constellation Jan 2 to Jan 12 cruise only inside GTY $749 PP (201.50 tax/fuel charge). Tips of $10 per day per person $200.

Air flight from YYZ to FLL 10:05 AM to 3:18 PM one stop Atlanta (layover 1 hr 3 min.) Jan 1. Flight numbers Delta 6437 and Delta 861. Return flight 2:15 PM to 7:44PM FLL to YYZ one stop Atlanta (layover 1 hr 15 min.) Jan 12 flight numbers delta 738 and delta 870 1128.48 (for 2 w/tax).

One night hotel stay Best Western Oceanside Inn (include free breakfast) $236.06 (w/tax).

I estimated Shuttles $90 and travel insurance $300 (for 2).

Okay using the new spreadsheet I have total cruise cost for two $3705.54per night cost per person of $185.28. Remember that most people don't include airfare, travel insurance, shuttles, and hotel in per night costs. I picked a hotel that serves breakfast to save on food cost. You will still need to buy lunch and dinner.
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Old October 7th, 2008, 02:23 PM
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Brad,
I have to respond to your statement that wanting a minimum of 10 days is elitist. There are too many other factors involved and each of us has different reasons.
In general, the reason most people take 7 day cruises is that folks who have jobs usually only get a week at a time off work. That was true for me for many years. It has nothing to do with preferences.
I like 10-12 day cruises. The reason is my health, not my attitude. For every 2 days I spend exploring a port or the ship, I need to "budget" a day of bed rest. So, to get a week's worth of vacation, I like a slightly longer cruise. Can't always get what I want, 'tho, so the 7 day cruises come in handy. I also don't like anything much over 2 weeks. The toll on my health adds up and I am more than ready to be home in bed.
So, especially if you become a travel agent, please take time to find out the reasons for people's preferences. You can practice on us!
cHEERS!
Marty
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Old October 7th, 2008, 02:52 PM
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I'm with you Marty. I have to budget my health/stamina just like I do the money.

I actually love 15 day cruises, but I am exhausted when I get home. Even on the ship, DH has to wake me up at 10 am.

We don't fly so everything has to be on the west coast. I do like the 4 and 5 day cruises, even though we've done the itineraries before.
But hey~~any cruise is better than none.

I am really bummed that RCCL is taking Radiance out of San Diego after spring 2010. I got a 4 day balcony cabin for $499.

Works for us.

Pat
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Old October 7th, 2008, 02:58 PM
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We book not less than 10 days, preferably 14 or more. We're hardly elitist. We like longer cruises because it's a pain in the royal patooty to fly anywhere these days (the modern version of chinese torture) and 7 day cruises are just too short for the hassle involved with flying. I wouldn't mind driving, but that's 2-4 days one way and DW flat refuses to do that.

Bob
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Old October 7th, 2008, 06:14 PM
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brad, 'elitist' was an unfortunate term to use for those of us who don't take 7-day cruises, and i am sure, given the tone of your usual messages, that you didn't mean it the way it came out. for me, a 7-day cruise just is too short; it seems that i barely get unpacked before disembarkation instructions start to be slipped into the mail box outside my door and i have to start packing up again. this is why i do not consider land tours in my vacation plans. i would rather plan one 14-day cruise than two 7-day cruises anytime. it is also the reason i have not 'done' alaska; virtually all of the cruises last only 7 days, and healthwise, i am not up to rigorous bus and train travel, plus the land excursions are not all-inclusive. i rejoice that you are young and energetic and don't understand 'vegging' out on vacation, but many, maybe the majority, of your cruisemates on many lines are not like you. we aren't that energetic any more -- maybe never were -- and we rarely get any veggie time. and, besides, if you want to learn to ice skate, isn't there a rink near where you live? there is ice skating even here in georgia (the one in the south,, not in europe!!!!!!!!! )
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Old October 8th, 2008, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hombre
The reason i have not 'done' alaska; virtually all of the cruises last only 7 days, and healthwise, i am not up to rigorous bus and train travel, plus the land excursions are not all-inclusive.
Hombre if you leave from San Francisco (SFO) to Alaska it will be longer then 7 days. Celebrity does 11 day Alaskan cruises from SFO and Princess does 10 day Alaskan cruises from SFO. I can recommend some good places to eat in San Francisco. If you stay pre cruise in San Francisco you don't want to rent a car, it is difficult to drive in San Francisco all one way streets and no parking. The Cruise terminal is down the road from Fisherman's wharf. You cruise under the Golden Gate bridge.
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Old October 8th, 2008, 02:30 PM
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As far as the skating, I live in an area that doesn't really have anything(not even a decent martial arts studio). But what I simply meant was that not even considering shorter than a 10 day cruise when your budget can't handle it is an unrealistic attitude to have. We all have to adjust in these times of economic hardship. My adjustments simply meaning being more resourceful than I usually am. I do have to be resourceful all the time, so I basically am planning my cruises for the next 2-3 years well in advance to get a good deal. I am even considering a World Cruise at some point(probably 2010 or 2011). I simply love to travel, and that is why I always look for work that gives me that opportunity. I know most people just look for travel for vacations, but I will travel under any circumstance personally.
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Old October 9th, 2008, 08:52 PM
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thanks, katlady!!!!!!! i'll look into a cruise from sanfrancisco. i was there some years ago and loved it, and i remember the fw area. it was just fabulous.

as for you, brad, are you from oz?
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Old October 9th, 2008, 09:04 PM
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No, just a small town in Virginia where all they care about is country music, bluegrass, hunting, fishing, high school football, and farming. I haven't had alot of opportunities to do what I want to do, so naturally I will take any chance I can.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 09:23 AM
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My post seems to have opened a can of worms! First off, I'm glad that not everyone thinks we're elitist because we prefer longer cruises. For us, it simply makes more sense. You usually get better value-the price per day is better. You get to travel a little farther and visit more ports. And the average age of the passengers on a longer cruise is always more in line with us. We have no problem with a mixed bag agewise but don't like being cannonballed in the pool by kids on March break. (If you can even get in the pool!) BTW, we did do a 4 nighter to the Bahamas on Sovereign of the Seas in March for DH's birthday a few years ago and it was a nightmare.
I guess the biggest hit we've taken is the fuel surcharge. I'm wondering if that will ever be adjusted? I'm thinking....a ship with 2,000 passengers charging $10 per day per person would generate $200,000 on a 10 day night cruise. I don't know how much it cost for fuel originally but that's a big hunk of change. I'd be interested in knowing how much the cruiselines fuel costs have increased percentage wise. And it is going down-in the past 3 weeks, gas here has dropped 35 cents a litre. Sorry-it's too early for me to figure out what that is for an American gallon-maybe $1.40 or something?
Thanks Katlady for all that info from your spreadsheet! I guess $185 per day with airfare and everything else isn't bad but way over our budget. For one thing, even though we live in Canada, we don't fly. We always drive-take 3 nights each way and make it part of our holiday. We used to winter in Florida, so we're fortunate to have many friends who let us leave the car at their place and even drive us to the cruise port, saving us those brutal $20 per day parking fees!
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Old October 10th, 2008, 12:25 PM
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Don't worry about it. I have had people rip worse on me than they do in these forums. Btw, I meant no offense by what I said. I just occassionally think one thing and when it comes out it sounds all wrong.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 01:25 PM
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Default recession could be a blessing

While the recession will really hurt alot of people it could be a blessing for those on fixed income, let me explain.

With budgets being tight many who would normally cruise may not be able to. The cruise lines to fill their mega ships will probably be reducing fairs and having more "Sales". Those who have a fixed income then should be able to cruise more affordably. Airlines also will see a downturn in business and fares there should come down. Gas and Diesel prices are coming down so hopefully the fuel surcharges will do the same.

I booked my next two cruises early this year while fuel surcharges were only 5 dollars a day, I knew they would go up, but I might have ended up hurting myself if the fares come down like I think they will. I did book through Carnival and my VP is good at reducing the rates if the rates fall.

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Old October 10th, 2008, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireba11
While the recession will really hurt alot of people it could be a blessing for those on fixed income, let me explain.

With budgets being tight many who would normally cruise may not be able to. The cruise lines to fill their mega ships will probably be reducing fairs and having more "Sales". Those who have a fixed income then should be able to cruise more affordably. Airlines also will see a downturn in business and fares there should come down. Gas and Diesel prices are coming down so hopefully the fuel surcharges will do the same.

I booked my next two cruises early this year while fuel surcharges were only 5 dollars a day, I knew they would go up, but I might have ended up hurting myself if the fares come down like I think they will. I did book through Carnival and my VP is good at reducing the rates if the rates fall.

Cheers
Tim
I saw the lower of cruise prices already: NCL 11 day Mexican cruise from San Francisco leaving Monday 10/13/08 is $399 for an inside GTY. Taxes and Fuel charges apply but that is low for an 11 day.

Jacdenv24 my spreadsheet does includes catogories for driving in port. I have info per gallon and not liters sorry about that. I think you could still use it. Because the titles are wrong but the formulas are still right.

For the people who want the spreadsheet please PM me your e-mail address, I can't attach an excel spreadsheet to a PM, only an e-mail. Also to the people who already received the spreadsheet I would like to improve it, so is there any expenses it's missing or something that is hard to understand? Is it a pain to have certain cells protected or do you like that? I like protecting cells with formulas to stop me from mistakenly deleting a formula.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 03:23 PM
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Cruise ships use a different form of diesel than a car or small engine boat would. Very different. So, their cost may take some time to go down. It's not like they can pull up to a small boat marina and ask for a fill up!
Marty
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Old October 10th, 2008, 03:59 PM
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True enough. Many different types of engines out there. I have been studying up on motoryachts myself, having found it is less expensive to buy a used one to live on than an apartment in my preferred neighborhood of New York City. Just a side note, but in these times of economic hardship, who would even consider paying $500,000 on a small apartment when you can have something a bit more luxurious for less. Anyway, I guess my point is that the costs will effect everyone, no matter who you are. I just simply take a positive outlook on things.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 04:40 PM
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YES,BRAD, YOU DO TAKE A POSITIVE OUTLOOK. SOME MIGHT CALL IT 'NAIVE,' BUT YOU ARE YOUNG, AND OPTIMISTIC, AND I SAY 'GOOD ON YA' AS THE AUSTRALIANS SAY. YOU WILL HAVE TO 'PAY TUITION' FOR YOUR IDEALISM, AS MOST OF US HAVE. JUST GET READY. HOMBRE
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Old October 10th, 2008, 04:42 PM
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Honestly, I figure since I am in a career where rejection is the norm, why add more negativity.
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