You may remember, Mr. BFS and I found a cheap cruise deal a few months ago that was just too good to pass up. We booked a 5 day cruise from August 31-September 5 with our friend Isabelle and my younger sister for $280 per person (including the travel insurance). I think the prices were super low because Carnival Cruises had a whole bunch of bad publicity right in a row.
Our Cruise Plans
We are going to need to live as inexpensively as possible for the upcoming months to help replenish our emergency fund from the dental expenses I wrote about yesterday. That means that we will only be going on trips that were already paid for and saving where we can on normal stuff like our overall food bill. That means that I totally need to max out my enjoyment factor on the things we have planned already without running up a big bill. Here are the things I am looking forward to the most.
First, the food on cruises just blows me away. The sheer quantity is astounding, but so are the amount of options that are already included with your ticket. The Lido deck has free juice in the mornings and free lemonade, water, iced tea, and hot chocolate all day and night. There is always at least one buffet or food place whipping out something, and during the day, the grazing options are plentiful. Oh, and we went to an afternoon tea party last time that was just a blast!
Plus, my favorite part of the evening is getting a little snazzy and eating in the dining room. Mr. BFS and I each pick a couple of options off of the appetizers, main courses, and desserts and enjoy tasting it all every night. Yeah, a girl on a diet shouldn’t be talking about food this much, but I swear I’ll be enjoying it and working it off too.
On Board Activities
And that’s because of my 2nd favorite thing – all of the activities I end up doing! On our first cruise (5 days) in 2009, I didn’t do a lot except walk around, gamble. and join in on scavenger hunts and trivia challenges. I also really enjoyed bingo. It’s not as easy as online sites like Butlers Bingo, but it is still a ton of fun.
But by our second cruise in 2010 (7 days), I figured out how to get into everything! I walked the track a couple of times and took pictures of the view. I also visited the library and joined in on the scavenger hunts. In the evenings, we watched the on board entertainment shows, late night comedy shows, and karaoke. Then we danced a couple of times afterwards. I even swam a couple of times despite my crappy swimming abilities. Since Isabelle will be there this time around, I assume dancing at all of the clubs will become a priority (and there are a handful to hit for free it seems).
Lastly, I love days in port. We will be snorkeling in Cozumel for sure (since Xcaret’s lazy rivers aren’t an option for the short bit of time that we are in the port). We figured out on our first cruise that you can split a $10 taxi between 4 people to get to Chankanaab park pretty quickly. Then we can get in, rent cheap snorkel gear (all of the stands bid each other down), and snorkel for as long as we want. Plus, we can take our own pictures, which is a big deal to me. Some of the official shore excursions don’t allow you to take your own underwater cameras.
For Mr. BFS and me, it will probably end up being about $40 each for the whole day. The taxi will be $5 each both ways, $20 to get into the park, $10 for the snorkel gear, and $5 for a couple of sodas when we get thirsty if our own water runs out.
Total Projected Cost
If we play our cards right, we could technically get through the whole cruise for as little as $200 – the Cozumel day plus the mandatory tips (it’s like $11 a day per person). But I am realistic.
I bet I will end up drinking sometime along the way, and I have a tendency to buy cheap souvenirs when I’m in Mexico. There’s $100. Plus, Mr. BFS and I will probably spend some time in the casino. So there is another $250 if we lose it all. Overall, I am shooting for $540 or less on the cruise itself. That plus the original tickets should keep us at $1100 for 5 days of pure fun. Fingers crossed.
Do you have any upcoming plans? Any cruise suggestions?
PS If you are an actual blogger, please feel free to email me at budgetingfunstuff *at* gmail *dot* com to submit a guest post for the week I’ll be away.