I thought this would be fitting since I’m actually on a cruise when this is scheduled to post!
Cruises are awesome. Whether you like exploring different activities in the ports or just enjoy being pampered on the high seas, cruising would be for you. I personally can’t get enough of the never-ending food and pampering, but you can’t possibly be surprised.
Here’s a synopsis of the 5 day cruise we went on last year:
We were forced to leave 6 hours later than planned due to an engine problem the ship had on the way in, so my husband and I were supremely crabby. Carnival gave us $30 total to make up for it, but I was not appeased after waiting in lines and on the floor for more than 4 hours.
Dinner made all of that annoyance and frustration go away. If you decide to eat in the dining rooms in the evening, it’s like going to a super fancy restaurant but being able to try whatever you want. I swear, hubby and I tried new and different things every night. I had never had goat cheese before and I found out that I really enjoy it! The after dinner show was fun too.
Then we hit the casino for an hour or so. We won $60 that first night off the quarter video poker machines, but lost it in the next five days. At least we broke even over all.
I woke up to play trivia games and then hubby and I played Putt-Putt on the top deck. We had a buffet breakfast and hamburgers for lunch. We explored the ship, looked at the overpriced shops, and filled in the day with all sorts of ship-planned activities. Dinner was extravagant again and the after dinner show was okay. We played in the free slot machine tournament later that night. We didn’t win but it was a lot of free fun anyway.
The ship docked in Progresso, Mexico early in the morning, but hubby and I slept in. We woke up, enjoyed the late buffet breakfast, and wandered off the ship right after lunch. We spend a couple of hours browsing the souvenir shops and I bargained my little heart out.
We ended up with gifts for everyone on our list for less than $30 including a few little figurines for me. My husband even found a stone chess set that he just had to have, so I asked him to wait outside on the bench since I didn’t want them to see his enthusiasm. He agreed really quickly since he hates haggling. They wanted $75, so I put two 20’s in my pocket and walked back in. I asked the lady if they’d accept $40 and pulled the 20’s out. She politely refused, said the manager would be upset, and countered with $60. I politely declined, said I was only willing to pay $40 but that’s okay, and walked out of the store. She tapped me on my shoulder while I was walking down the little street and said the manager said it would be okay.
I know I only saved $35 but I felt empowered! It wasn’t until we made it back on the ship with the heavy set that we realized it wouldn’t fit in our luggage. I made plans to buy a bag for it at the next port, Cozumel. 🙂
We actually woke up early enough to go to the formal dining room for breakfast while the ship docked at Cozumel. Once we were finished, we got off the boat and caught a $10 taxi to Chankanaab Park. It cost about $50 to get in and $3 for each set of snorkel gear, but it was amazing! You walk right into the ocean and are immediately surrounded by fish. The further out you go, the less fish you see, but I did get a pretty great picture of a 3 foot long Barracuda! Scared the bejeezus out of me…
After snorkeling we grabbed a quick lunch and browsed around the shops to find a bag for the chess set. We found the perfect bag that could even be reused for our board games when we got home, but they wanted $30. I offered $15, they countered with $25, and we ended up settling at $19. Woot! I love haggling! It also made for a great souvenir since it has “Cozumel” emblazoned on the side.
We also picked up some sidewalk art for $25 – I think it is amazing what some people can do with lids and spray paint.
That night we again had an awesome dinner and I even made it onto the stage for a game show-like trivia contest. I came in second by one question…oh well, it was fun!
Afterwards we discovered a late night comedy show and stayed for karaoke. That was my first real experience with karaoke and it was awesome! There were a few really talented people that made the whole thing a lot of fun!
We had been to an artwork preview earlier in the cruise and this was the day of the art auction. Hubby and I had already decided on three pieces and then saw a set of Krasnyansky prints that he really loved. The colors were amazing so I agreed. Overall, we spent $800-$900 on 7 different pieces of art and then spent another $700-$800 when we got home to have them all professionally framed. I know, my frugal heart screamed in pain, but at least it all looks absolutely fabulous!
That night was another awesome dining experience and the best evening show ever. Our cruise director broke out his violin and fiddle…there is something special about a man who can play superb classical music and nail Charlie Daniels “Devil Went Down to Georgia” in the same half hour! It was an experience of a lifetime just to see it.
After that show, we went back to karaoke night and then polished off the evening dancing to 60’s and 70’s music at one of the on-board clubs. It was fantastic since my husband and I can’t dance and didn’t care!
We disembarked the next morning and had been craving another cruise all year. We are currently on a 7 day cruise that I’ll tell you all about in a few weeks!
The total cost of the 5 day cruise broke down like this:
- Cruise, Drinks, and Tips – about $1500
- Snorkeling in Cozumel including the gear and taxi – $66
- Souvenirs – about $100
- Art – $850
- Framing – $800
Overall, a cruise is an awesome value…especially if you skip spending a bunch on art. We have promised each other to limit any purchases this trip to $300 or less. I’ll tell you if that worked out. 🙂
Have you been on a cruise? If so, what did you like or dislike about it? If not, do you have any future plans to try it out?
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!). Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!