Don't buy excursions on the boat....they are way too expensive. When we go on a cruise, we take an authorized taxi, and before we get in to the taxi we tell the driver the places we want to visit and then ask him how long the tour is going take and finally AGREE on a price. They like to stop so you can have a drink, so you will go over your hours and they can charge more. And don't let the crew members tell you that it's better to buy it from the ship, because the ship will wait for you if you are late... just leave early, and be back about 2 hours before the ship set sail again. It will $ave you hundreds of dollars. In Georgetown you can grab a local bus (airconditioned) and for 5 usd(roundtrip) you can see most of the island or for $ 2.50 it can drop you to most beaches. Just when you go ashore ask where the local buses are, it's like a 5 minutes walk from the cruise terminal.
C.Valor Sept 2008
C.Glory Sept '11
These are some of the ways I budget for our cruises. I buy our drink coupons, photo coupons, and on board credit gift certificates one or two at a time per every pay period as I can afford. By the time I cruise all of the above is paid ahead of time so I don't have those bills to worry about. I bought two of those Avon coin counter jars but any big jar or bottle would work and keep throwing all the loose change in it daily. I use this for my spending money and usually by the time I cruise I have saved up 100.oo per day to spend if needed. I make a notebook for each cruise which keeps everything meaning the copy of the reservation, above receipts for all the coupons in each section organized. I place notebook dividers and name them drink coupons, photo coupons, on board credit and one called extra tips with envelopes. I put a ten or twenty or fifteen or five in envelopes and label them so I have any extra tip money already set aside. If I don't use it I have to spend on me. In another section I have labeled dollar tips and put dollars in evelopes & seal them in the plastic sleeve. By the time we cruise everything is paid for in full and anything extra is in this notebook. I don't need to charge anything as eveything is paid for ahead of time. I have made a game out of doing this with each cruise and it works for my budget and needs. It only works if I have like 6-12 or more months to work with & save before we cruise. This cruise coming up in April I had 12 months to work with and have saved 250.00 in drink coupons, 65.00 in photo coupons, $200 for each of us for on board credit, my jar has been full twice so I have two days of spending money saved already. I put 25 in an evelope for the manager of the dining room, I have 20 in singles saved in my tip envelope already but I still have a ways to go. I hate having to worry about paying credit card bills and this system works for us.
Ro...have you met my father-in-law those are many of the same things that he taught me to do over 30 years ago on my first cruise and I still do it today
some real obvious..book as far ahead as possible and book an inside cabin if it's just the two of you..it's nice to have an outside or balcony cabin (as many on this board will attest to), but bottom line is that on your first cruise most rookies spend very little time in the cabin
if you are not a coupon clipper, start, and every time you save money from shopping, write yourself a check of the saving and put it in your "cruise cookie jar"....figure out your cruise warobe and look for sales in your local Sunday paper
however....as much as you are on a tight budget...budget some $$$$ for a treat (I call it a reward)..whether it be a massage for 2, a night out at a supper club, pick 1 activity per port to do...and fyi, IMHO the best things on a cruise don't cost anything above your basic cruise price..watching the sunset at sea every evening, meeting great fellow cruisers, people watching on formal nights (one of my alltime favorite), memories
...also, if you DO decide you want to do shore excursions through the ship, you can sign up for them on the Carnival website, and pay ahead of time with a credit card. This worked well for my family where we had booked our cruise a year in advance...plenty of time to research the ports and decide what we wanted to do, and then sign up for (and pay off) an activity for each port.
My husband is a big soda drinker, so we also "saved" by purchasing a soda card which was put to extensive use :-)
Thanks for all of your advise it is wonderful! This is the second cruise that we have been on, the first was on the Sensation and we had an oceanview and hardly were even in the room to enjoy it, so we are going with an interior this time, we would rather spend the money on drink or pictures or things here and there. I will definitly keep the tips in mind and start buying to coupons and credit. I went and looked online and it says that they mail you the credit, is that correct? If they do how long does it take to get there? Has anyone ever lost the coupons?
If you are going to drink, the cheapest way to go without smuggling is to get a bar set up for your room.
We paid 124.20 for 2 bottles of Smirnoff and 2 bottles of Cuervo.
After 7 days still had some left.
Peace through superior firepower.
I haven't booked the cruise yet I like to wait a while and see if the prices will drop. I live in Tennessee we are going to drive to save money, that what we did on our last cruise , but this time we are goin with another couple so we are all riding together to save money. How do you gte the bar set up in your room? Is it hard to get the bottles onboard otherwise?
I don't know how it is in miami/fort lauderdale with the alcohol, but when I went on the Destiny(leaving from san juan) last September, just before you go through screening , there is a shop that sells very cheap alcohol, and you can buy as much as you want, as long as they fit in your hand luggage to take with you onboard the vessel.
C.Valor Sept 2008
C.Glory Sept '11
On our last Carnival Cruise, Thanksgiving 2007, I brought Coke, Squirt and Malibu Rum all in plastic bottles in my Checked baggage, I left it out in our room and no one said anything about it. I also put hard Liquor in a mouthwash bottle with green food coloring. If they took the Rum I figured I would still have the "mouthwash" as a back up. We enjoyed Rum and Coke and Tropical Green drinks in our room, only spent $12.00 on cruise drinks the whole trip!
LoL... the mouthwash thing is a good idea! Do they even check the bags when they come on?? If so would they take them out and not tell you or would they call you and take them out, does anyone knows what will happen if you get caught??
I start saving a little bit at a time too. I make envelopes for everything I think we will need. Cab from airport to port, tips, room service tips, return cab fare etc. I start off by rounding up my check/debit card purchases in the grocery store to the next 5 dollar amount. If the total is $12 I make it $15 and put the bills in one of the envelopes. when I have enough in each one, I seal them and don't touch them until I need them on the cruise. We also don't even look at the ships photos so we aren't tempted to buy them. We have a great digital camera and take alot of pics with it. We also don't buy water. The water on the ship is great. We take an empty bottle and fill it up on the ship. You can also purchase any shore tours as you can afford them before you go from either Carnival's website or a private company. We like to go into the casino so we budget it out with what we call our day money. that's an amount we get to spend each day. Yes, I have an envelope planned for that too! We don't drink alcohol so I can't give you any pointers to saving money there except to not order any drinks in the "funship glasses' you can get the drink of the day that comes in the funship glass in a regular glass for much less, or buy the glass once and give it to the wait person and ask them to refill it.
Hope this helps,
February 25, 2011
We almost always book an inside cabin. We don't buy mixed drinks, and rarely buy any of the photos. I do sometimes buy some of the $10 items in the gift shop. I spend more money in the ports than I do on the ships. I don't gamble in the casinos. My husband does some, but he sets a limit and stops when he reaches it. We have a great time on all our cruises. You CAN cruise without spending a fortune!
If you or your husband was in the military, even for only 2-3 years, you can get the military rate with Carnival. My husband was in for 3 years, and we have gotten some very good rates on cruises.
On our last Carnival Cruise, Thanksgiving 2007, I brought Coke, Squirt and Malibu Rum all in plastic bottles in my Checked baggage, I left it out in our room and no one said anything about it. I also put hard Liquor in a mouthwash bottle with green food coloring. If they took the Rum I figured I would still have the "mouthwash" as a back up. We enjoyed Rum and Coke and Tropical Green drinks in our room, only spent $12.00 on cruise drinks the whole trip! :wink:
Depending on ports, one doesn't have to go to that much trouble, bendere/dunnit, but oftentimes you can walk right back on the ship with the "souvenir" size bottles, Mount Gay from Barbados. The gal at the store assured me that, and though skeptical, it indeed worked.
And then of course, there's still more ports!
Still have room K, Montego Bay here I come!
32 cruises since 2005
Scuba diver (PADI)
178 days on Carnival - Cubic Zirconia Level
"You may have less scars, but I'll have better stories"
Hi, my husband and I are planning to go on Conquest on Sept. 14, 2008. We are going on a budget but still want to have a good time any ideas on ways to save money??
I'll be able to give you some more pointers hopefully after I do this same cruise, but, here's some general money saving ideas;
Save "before" you cruise, limit your eating until you get to the ship
If you want internet, catch up just before you board, and then wait til the latter part, they always put specials on
Do your own excursions. It actually is very safe, most of the locals will know immediately that you're with Carnival, and since the ships are the lifeblood of the economy, they won't chance a bad rep, peer pressure.
If driving to GLV, find a motel that has a shuttle and free parking
Talk to your fellow passengers about sharing any of the excursions, oftentimes the transportation is near the same for a couple or a group
As for drinks, if that's a consideration, I personally don't think the soda card is that much of a bargain, unless you drink a LOT of soda. You can also buy that in port, usually less than you're used to.
In short, buy anything you "think" you want landside. You can get it on board, but you will pay for the convenience
I'll keep you posted on stuff I notice on this cruise, I'm taking 2 out of GLV this Feb, and still trying to talk Yamaha into going on the first one
32 cruises since 2005
Scuba diver (PADI)
178 days on Carnival - Cubic Zirconia Level
"You may have less scars, but I'll have better stories"
Den sign in on the Carnival web site. Click gifts you will see each section different items or coupons you can purchase ahead of time. I buy my drink coupons, my photo coupons and the gift certificates I use for my on board credit. I send in my gift certificates directly to Carnival by certified mail. Alot of people said if you write on board credit on them and your booking number it just gets applied and you don't have to send them in. I like receiving the paper version. I actually use the fancy certificate envelopes they come in to put tips in them for staff members. I posted alot on the subject and buy the coupons on the Carnival web site with my debit card. I pay for one coupon set each pay period. It just helps with my budget on the cruise. I just like it all prepaid with no money worries right before or after we cruise.
To recap - book the cheapest inside cabin; take your own pictures; stay out of the casino; limit bar tabs; hold down excursion costs.
Freedom Of The Seas -07
Radiance Of The Seas-07
Adventure Of The Seas-05
Navigator Of The Seas-04
Soverign Of The Seas-02
Big Red Boat-93
Inquire with hotels that offer a shuttle to the port to see how much it would costs to park your car in their lot while on the cruise instead of paying the port parking fee.
gbrad, thanks for the offer but if you want me to cruise with you, you have to give me a lot more notice, like 3 months, some of us aren't our own boss and have to request our vacation time in advance!
Be sure to take a collapsable cooler with you, then take your own excursion to the nearest beach. Before you go ashore, go to a resturant and make yourself a huge sub, grab a piece of fruit and fill up an empty water bottle with lemonade, you'll save a mint! Don't forget some ice.
Don't go into the casinos, and don't drink alcohol. It's enough of a rip off at home, but more of a rip off on a cruise ship. Be one of the smart sober people (like me!) who don't "need" alcohol to have a good time.
Don't eat in the ports (unless meals are included in your excursion price)
Don't buy all the ships photos, pick out your 1-2 favorites and buy them. Plan to take lots of digitals, and have people take photos of you and do the same for them.
I have more budget ideas than you will want to read, but here goes:
First, I think Jamaica is one of the most amazing, beautiful places in the world. You can go to the US Gov. customs site and look at the info re: crime in Jamaica and it will reassure you about visiting. Yes, there have been stick-ups, a very few out of thousands and thousands of tourists. Just imagine, 2500+ people per ship, 9 ships per week, 52 weeks per year...I feel safer with an established tour guide in Jamaica than I do in a lot of other places I've been.
On our next cruise we're going to Mayfield Falls. We'll book with the same tour company we always use. I'm not sure what else we'll do on the tour, but we'll have some other site-seeing and shopping opportunities. Below is the last email I had from them. Maureen is wonderful. If I were going to Jamaica for the first time, and was young like you, I'd do the Dunns River Falls and River Tubing excursion, but it's a bit pricey. The climb up the falls is a one of a kind, one place in the world, adventure. We've done it twice (and we're in our 50s) so it's very doable. Even if you can't do the tubing, at least consider the falls and shopping. Or if you want to spring for $60 each you can arrange a Mayfield Falls tour. See http://www.silver-sands.com/mayfield_falls_jamaica.html for info.
We picnic lunch everyday. Saves lots of money. We use one of 3 options - one is to go to the buffet and pick up a bunch of food and take it back to the room and pack it in baggies (we packed with our luggage) and backpack it off the ship. The other is to call for room service sandwiches and fruit before we go to bed and pack them in baggies. Carnival has a portobella sandwich to die for, as well as a nice selection of other sandwiches. Then the 3rd option is to make pizza sandwiches - we do this at least once because the pizza is yummy. Two pieces of pizza folded cheesy sides together makes a great portable sandwich. The chip selection on ship is relatively lousy. For room service all they have is plain potato chips and they only have tortilla chips out on Mexican food day, so packing a bag of Doritos or Fritos for lunches, if you like them, is a good idea. There is tons of food. You can't imagine how much food is available. Between the buffets, the burger and dog grille, the pizza and calzone bar, room service, and sit down meals, you can't possibly even sample everything that's offered on board.
I don't trust indigenous food or water. Maybe I'm paranoid, but we never get sick. AND, we paid hundreds for this cruise and its unlimited food, so we take advantage of it. We're very budget minded when we travel and look to do everything on the cheap.
Also, in Jamaica nearly every store has rum sampling bars. They have the most amazing flavors of rum! I carry an empty thermos type bottle off ship and at every sample bar we sample hubby's cup and I pour mine into the thermos. I collect rum cream, so I have it for my coffee on board. YUM. You will be able to purchase inexpensive rum and other alcohol on board when it's on sale (watch for the sales ads in the carnival capers - your on ship newspaper you get delivered to your room everyday) and they'll hold it for you until you disembark. You can't purchase and drink alcohol on board. And, if you buy alcohol on shore (sometimes very cheap) you may or may not get to take it to your room. Sometimes they're rather strict and confiscate it until you disembark (it's given to you the last night you're on board) sometimes they say put it on a table, but no one's watching...and sometimes they don't say anything.
I can't imagine going to Jamaica and just going to the beach. The idea brings words like "agast" and "OMG, what a waste" to mind. But, everyone has their own taste and agenda. Please please consider doing something else.
I'd advise that you don't book any tour from the cruise ship. They charge a LOT more than local tour companies you can find on the web, they take huge kickbacks so the local tour people get ripped off, they don't insure anything, they don't guarantee anything. We made that mistake once. Then we started talking to people and to tour companies and guides and found out what a racket it is. For instance, in Alaska we went salmon fishing for a day. We booked directly with the salmon fishing company and paid $300 for 5 of us for the entire day. That covered transportation to and from the ship, the actual 5 hour fishing tour, bait, licenses, poles etc. Everything for 5 of us. The ship was charging $125 per person for the same excursion. When we asked the salmon company about it they said that they are chartered by the cruise ship, and if someone books through the ship, they get the same tour, no extras. Also, if they book through the ship the private salmon fishing boat only gets $50/person, the ship takes the other $75. IF the ship doesn't charter him for a specific date then he is free to book a private charter (us) and we get the same deal much cheaper. We've talked to a lot of tour people since then and have discovered that doubling the price of what's available locally is standard practice.
OK, now for Grand Cayman - Grand Cayman has virtually no crime. There is lots to see and do.
If you want to spend lotsa money you can take a ship chartered tour of the rum cake store, hell, and the new turtle farm. The turtle farm used to be $12 and was wonderful (now the turtle farm is $18 and the entire park is $55) expensive. sigh.
But, there are other, very fun, very cheap, options. You can swim with the stingrays. I think it's about $40 each. Go with Captain Marvins, much fun. Or, if you don't want to spend money to swim with soft friendly fishes, (we did it once, it was fun, won't spend that much again) there are other things to do.
Cayman has a wonderful CHEAP public transportation system that is totally reliable and totally like taking a tour bus. The drivers have all been very friendly and full of local info. You can find out about them at http://caymanislands-guide.info/getting.around/buses/ and http://www.grandcayman4u.com/transport/buses.htm Busses can be picked up at regular stops or flagged down by waving at them at any roadside on the map. You can ask anyone where the bus stops and they'll help you. For less than $4 each, you can take a cool bus ride to Cemetary Beach - which is towards West End (look at the bus route maps or a Grand Cayman map) or out to one of the beaches on the East end. Now, that's cheap entertainment. Suggestion - take an empty baggie or bottle to pick up some of the unreal coral sand. It's white and round and soft, there's nothing like it. My daughter made one of those zen (?) table top sand gardens you rake and put rocks in out of Hawaiian sand as a souvenir from her Honeymoon. Cheap nice idea. I have picked up a little rock from everywhere we've gone in 32 years. I have a pretty collection.
If you want to spend a day beaching, Grand Cayman would be a good place to think about. You can wander around scenic, historic Georgetown, take a bus (cheap) or taxi (more expensive) and see the sights.
We rent mopeds. We get one each so it's $80 for the moped including helmets and licenses. You could ride double. This would be a fun option if you're motorcycle literate, or at least bicycle literate. I didn't know the first time we did this that Howard was motorcycle-challenged. He extreme mopeds, much fun. We're going to moped out to the Queen Elizabeth II botanical gardens. http://www.botanic-park.ky/ $10/each. Botanical gardens in the Caribbean are amazing. We're also going to tour the blue iguana habitat ($24/each) but on a budget that might be a bit pricey. The nice thing about this adventure is that we'll see a lot of the East End which we haven't seen before. If you rented a moped you could go out to west end and visit the rum cake store, hell, and the turtle farm for less than $80 and could stop at Cemetery Beach for swimming and sunning. That would also be a fun day.
See note from Maureen in Jamaica below.
Have a great day.
Thanks for your response. Mayfield Falls is fun and interesting, however, it is not as spectacular or as crowded as Dunns River Falls. The entrance fee of US$15 includes a guide and it is customary to tip him. We can give a discounted rate of US$60.00 per person including entrance fee, shopping and a short tour of Montego Bay – total cost US$240.00 for minimum four (4) persons.
Regarding Dunns River Falls, there are two options listed on our site:
(1) Dunns River Falls and shopping – US$51.00 per person (Minimum 4 persons)
(2) Dunns River Falls/ River Tubing – US$73.00 per person (Minimum 4 persons)
Hi Again - here are my ideas re: Cozumel/Playa/Ruins
Cozumel is an island right off the coast of Mexico proper. I'm sure you know that. Cozumel offers beaches and shopping and maybe some snorkel areas. We bring our own snorkel gear (fins, masks, breathing tube thingys) that we bought at Big 5 on sale. That way we're always ready to explore and we don't have to worry about using a non-sterile mouthpiece. All of the snorkel excursions provide equipment, but ewww -- who knows who used it. You might be able to find some cheap leftover gear, being winter and all, at a local store.
Back to Cozumel. If you take the shuttle from the boat to Playa Del Carmen it's a 45 minute stuffy ride that costs too much. The public ferry is wonderful, large, dependable, serves drinks and snacks if you like (we dig into the every present backpack) has music and TV and is cheap. We take a taxi from the ship to the ferry dock (the other side of the island) and then take the ferry to the mainland. Then, when we get there we get a pre-paid rental car and drive to where ever we're going. This trip we're going to the ruins at Muyil http://muyil.smv.org/what_to_see.thm and then backtracking to Talum with whatever time we have left. http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationP...a.html#1574974http://www.locogringo.com/past_spotlights/aug2002.html It costs $4 per person to enter Talum, I think Muyil is similar.
At Talum you can get a guide for your group for cheap. I think Muyil is self guiding. I have printed literature about both off the web. At Talum you can also just walk around and listen to whatever tour guide is talking. It's absolutely amazing.
We will get back to Cozumel in time to do a bit of local souvenir shopping and board ship, but we won't waste time on the beach. We feel that you have all day on "fun days on ship" to lounge around by the pool in the sun, and you certainly have plenty of time in Jamaica and Grand Cayman where there are lots of free beaches, and the ruins are a once in a lifetime (Muyil will be new for us this cruise, last time we did Coba, the time before that Talum) experience.
I think we're going to rent with Tops or Ace this time. Hertz was a bummer. Waste of 40 minutes to get to the rent a car ride, then 40 minutes at the end of the day. Almost missed the boat.
Re: other $$ saving ideas:
Re: wine - We pack it in our luggage and have never had any problems. If you go to some of the bulletin board posts regarding bringing alcohol on board you will see that many people do and no one ever has problems with checked luggage. And, now with the new "bring your own luggage aboard" option, I think it will be even easier - but we'll see. I've heard of guards checking carry on bottles, shaking them and checking for bubbles and film on the inside of bottles, checking plastic seals. But, I've never heard of anyone having problems with checked luggage. I have cardboard tubes made for carrying wine bottles, but when I need extra I use those huge plastic glasses from 7-11 or AMPM and put an inverted styrofoam cup over the bottle neck. Then I wrap the whole gizmo in a couple T-shirts and have never had one break. We also put port and wine glasses in our luggage, so we have them to carry around the ship. We carry a glass of wine to dinner every evening, so no corking charges. We take a bottle for each day we'll be on vacation. We break it up so there are no more than 2 bottles in each bag, but my son packed a case in a suitcase and it went through. Don't forget a cork screw. If you have to take your wine to a bar to have it opened, the bartender will expect a tip.
My best ideas are:
1. Get Sea Bands. They're elastic bands with pressure point knobs that go on your wrists. You can get them at Walmart or CVS or online - about $9. They work. Not only do they prevent motion sickness, but they stop it if it's already started. They work so well you can read in the car when you're wearing them.
2. Get an over the door shoe hanger with pockets for your bathroom door. Mine is clear, came from Target, about $7. It has 24 pockets that allow me to sort all our bathroom stuff, brushes, shampoo, pills, etc. The shelves provided on ship never seem to hold everything.
3. Pack an empty duffle bag or bring an empty suitcase. You'll need the extra room to take home all your goodies. Also, if you have room in your suitcases, pack bubble wrap. We always stuff our suitcases as full with bubbles as we can, keeps stuff from shifting, and allows us to cushion all those breakables we buy in Mexico. There is enough room under your beds for 6 suitcases (more if you nest them).
There will be bottles of water and cans of soda in your room when you arrive. Don't drink them, they're expensive. Put them on the shelf above your safe and don't waste the money. Carnival allows you to bring on "a reasonable amount" of soda now. So, if you're a soda drinker, bring on a couple 6 packs, or buy a drink card. Ship water is purified, you don't need bottled water. We bring a camelback back pack and fill it with ice and water from the buffet before we go on shore excursions. You'll also have an ice bucket in your room that your steward will keep filled for you. The melted ice water is yummy, and the water out of the bathroom faucet is drinkable.
When Howard goes to India we use products with DEET for his skin and a spray with Permethrin for his clothing. I spray everything before he leaves as the Permethrin is good for 6 weeks. It takes 4-5 cans, but the immunization people we talked to when he got all his shots said this is the stuff to use. I found it in a spray at Walmart. It's not expensive, it was Outdoors Off or one of those. I plan on using a lot of repellant when we go to Mexico as the web site warns of mosquitos.
On our last cruise (cruise line omitted) they took a photo of us boarding the ship (even though we asked them not to). Later we decided we'd get it to be the first page of our cruise scrap/photo book. They wanted $20. Can you believe that???? $20 for one 8x10. We decided against buying it, but as a momento I took a digital picture of hubby holding it. Amazing how close you can zoom in, and how good the digital print comes out. Ok, maybe that's cheating, but we did tell them we didn't want them to take our picture in the first place.
Hope some of these hints help. Have a wonderful cruise!