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  #1 (permalink)  
Old January 17th, 2006, 10:22 AM
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Default How's this cruise selection? Plus budget help please!

With some help derived from my other post I've narrowed down cruise choices and I think I've made a selection, I just want to see if it's the best one for me and ask a couple budgeting questions as well. I know cruises are about having a great time and not worrying about money, but I need to be able to budget it out decently well. I've chosen a cruise out of Galveston because that saves the hotel costs (some friends live about an hour away) and the plane trip cost (Prolly $300 a person). And cuts it down to $70 Gas and $80 for parking ($75 a person). Which is a big savings. It does limit choices quite a bit though for destination and lines. I basically have to choose Carnival or Royal Carribbean.

I am looking at the Royal Carribbean Rhapsody of the Seas Western Carribbean 7-night cruise. It visits Key West, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman islands, with several nights at sea (a big plus for me). It totals $599 per person $660 after fees. So here's my questions....

1) Is this a good enough time of the year to cruise? (second half of Sept)

2) Is $599 for an Oceanview a good deal, and how long will it probably last? (When do I need to book by)

3) Is the (I) Oceanview cabin on Deck 4 a good choice, it's cheaper and above water, I was leaning towards this, is it a good location?

4) Is this a good experience? Good Boat/Good Locations etc.

5) I'm a first time cruiser what might surprise me? I've read most of the first timer guides, just looking for any other suggestions?

We're going as a group of two. I am trying to budget things out approximately, and I know it's largely up to the person how much it costs but tell me if I'm in the right ballpark here?

Cruise+Taxes/Fees $660
Parking/Gas $75
Tips $100
Alcohol $250
Shore Excursions/Shopping $300

That totals about $1400 and my goal was to stay under $1500 a person, this should run $2750-3000 if my budget is pretty close and that's affordable. Please give me all your thoughts, I'm a little nervous and want to make sure I've covered everything and made a good choice. Thanks so much for your help!!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old January 17th, 2006, 10:27 AM
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THere are 4 cruiselines that sail out of galveston. Did I miss when you wanted to cruise?
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Old January 17th, 2006, 10:36 AM
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Sorry edited it into original post, second half of september, at that time of year it's only 2 lines, and I chose Royal cause from what I've read/heard it's a little more laid back than Carnival, and we more like to relax, enjoy a good show, good food, than party.
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Old January 17th, 2006, 10:55 AM
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well, it is a good time to go in regards to School season. All kids will be in session. Missed the Labor day crowd. You will be in the tail end of hurricane season though. Be prepared for missed ports, just in case.

To also help save money, pre-pay your tips with the cruise lumped together. If it is possible. It will help in the long run.

$599 is a great bargain for ocean view for a week's cruise; since you are going during a non-holiday. I can't help you with the deck, but i can help you decide in regards to what is above and below your room. I can see you will have the main walking area above you, but i don't know if it will leak through.

Uhmm...if you are going to party, you need to up your Alcohol budget some. I have heard that on some ships the prices are comparable to bars, but on others, it is costly.

Do you already have the excursions chosen? I am asking due to your budget price.

In the long run, your budget sounds great. Have you by chance posted the same on the RCCL thread?
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Old January 17th, 2006, 11:04 AM
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No I hadn't posted it there yet. That's a good idea though cause people might have a better idea about cabin placement. Thanks, I will cross-post it there.
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Old January 17th, 2006, 02:48 PM
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Location: Palmer, Massachusetts
Posts: 12,716

that is a good deal. I would book it now,are you dealing with a travel agent? does the price of the cruise include government & port taxes?
Sometimes the prices go down closer to crusing date - your TA should keep on top of this.
As a general rule we budget $100.00 per person per day to cover all expenses(shore excursions, drinks, photos, tips on ship and on shore, gambling, 1 massage or salon visit,small souveniors things like that.)
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Old January 17th, 2006, 03:32 PM
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your tips will be ten dollars per person per day of cruise. cabin placement is ok. remember not just alcohol but soda and many coffees are extra. You are cruising in Hurricane season in a major hurricane spot, not much fun.
Hopefully you will book with a good cruiseagency and one that will lower your price if there is a drop between now and then or get you an upgrade.
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Old January 18th, 2006, 09:24 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 70
Default Re: How's this cruise selection? Plus budget help please!

Originally Posted by adam61
5) I'm a first time cruiser what might surprise me? I've read most of the first timer guides, just looking for any other suggestions?
You might be surprised by the following:

1. You have to tip the stevedores who take your bags to your cabin.

2. The last night of the cruise you have to put your bags in the hall to be taken off the ship. Don't foget to keep a change of clothes & something to pack your stuff in.

3. Taxes & port fees may not be included in your cruise price -- check.

4. You probably need a passport.

5. There are for pay / fee extra restaurants on board.

6. You have to eat dinner with strangers (potential friends) at the same assigned time & table every night.

7. You have to pay ~~ $10 per person per day gratuity to cover a myriad of people on board. Tips will be added to your drink prices for any alcohol you purchase. You probably can't bring your own hard liquor or beer aboard. If you bring wine you'll have to pay a corkage fee.

8. There are dress codes for dinner.

9. You are required to attend the muster drill.

10. You will easily beocme addicted to this form of vacationing.
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