How to Avoid Being Disappointed by a Budget Cruise

Опубликовал Admin
5-05-2021, 00:00
A budget cruise can be a wonderful way to enjoy your vacation time. Budget cruises are easy on the wallet but may require that you spend more money while on board the ship. They may also entail last minute bookings or unpopular routes. To avoid disappointment on a budget cruise, you should set realistic expectations for your cruise experience, plan a realistic itinerary, and avoid cruise traps like casinos, all-you-can-eat buffets, on-board bars and expensive excursions.

Choosing the Right Budget Cruise

  1. Budget for added expenses. If you book a budget cruise and expect to pay little during your trip, you are more or less signing up for disappointment. Budget cruises will require you to pay for soda, water, yoga classes, spa treatments, excursions, and internet access, amongst other expenses. You can easily end up paying much more in added expenses than you paid for the cruise in the first place.
    • Find out the cost for typical on-board items such as water, soda, and internet access, and then integrate these costs into your trip budget.
    • Find out the cost of your shore trips and integrate these into your overall trip budget.
  2. Decide where you want to go. If you have a particular destination or region in mind for your budget cruise, you should stick to it. If you end up compromising on your chosen destination in order to save money on a budget cruise, you may end up being disappointed. However, if you have no particular destination in mind, you should look into repositioning budget cruises that are typically available on a dime. These are budget cruises that go from one place to another in order to prepare for the next cruise season, such as crossing the Atlantic or going along a coast that is not especially noteworthy.
  3. Determine whether a last minute booking is right for you. One can find budget cruises by searching for last minute deals. As the departure date approaches, travel and cruise companies will begin lowering their prices to get people on board. If you have a flexible schedule, you might as well book last minute. However, there is no guarantee that a place on your chosen budget cruise will still be available. To avoid disappointment, you should either avoid booking last minute or set realistic expectations. There is no guarantee of getting on a budget cruise by booking last minute.
    • A last minute booking may be a good option if you do not have a particular destination in mind.
    • You might also consider booking in low season. The low season will depend on the destination of your cruise. If you are going someplace that sees a lot of traffic like Bermuda, the low season is the first few weeks after the start of cruises and before the end of the season. In Northern Europe, it can be difficult to find any low season bookings.
  4. Figure out what kind of traveller you are. Think about whether you prefer to spend time napping and sitting by the pool or whether you prefer to have a lot of activities on a budget cruise. Depending on how you enjoy spending your time while travelling, you will have very different needs for a budget cruise.
    • If you are an enthusiastic scuba diver, you will want to find a budget cruise that offers plenty of opportunity and time for scuba diving during shore excursions. Look for a cruise that stops at one of the ten best scuba diving ports. These ports include Cozumel, Roatan, Grand Cayman, Key West, Grand Turk, Kauai, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Tortola, and Nassau.
    • If you want to relax and read a book, you should avoid party cruises that cater to younger consumers and find a cruise that has a well-stocked library. Although many cruise ships will have libraries, some ships offer more extensive library collections and reading areas. For example, the Oceana Marina cruise ship has a beautiful library with leather chairs and mahogany book shelves.
  5. Read budget cruise reviews. Visit cruise review websites and search for customer reviews by cruise line, ship, destination, and cruise style. Cruise review sites often also have articles on popular cruise ships and particular cruise destinations. Read articles and reviews to find out which budget cruise might best meet your needs.
    • There are many different “cruise styles” available for specific kinds of customers. Common cruise styles include family cruises, entertainment cruises, fitness cruises, senior cruises, romantic cruises, gay and lesbian cruises, and spring break cruises. If you identify with any of these categories, the cruise critic website allows you to read cruise reviews for these cruise styles.
    • If you find a budget cruise that meet many of your needs but is in a different cruise style than you would prefer, you should probably keep shopping. For example, if you find a budget fitness cruise and you are not a fitness fanatic, you might consider looking elsewhere.

Planning the Details of Your Budget Cruise

  1. Plan to arrive early for your port departure. If you are working within tight timeframes, avoid the mistake of booking your flight for the same day as your budget cruise departure. Although the timing might look fine on paper, this approach is risky because your baggage could end up being delayed or you could miss a connecting flight. To avoid the disappointment of a missed cruise, you should aim to fly in to your departure city at least a day prior to the start of your budget cruise.
  2. Avoid scheduling too tightly on shore trips. If your budget cruise stops at a port for a few hours or days, you should avoid scheduling your trip on shore too tightly. If you go too far from port or schedule too many activities or site visits while on shore, you run the risk of missing your cruise departure. Cruise boats will not wait for you. If you want to avoid the disappointment of a cruise that ends early and in a highly inconvenient manner, you should avoid tight scheduling of on shore activities.
    • Add up the time for transportation, site seeing, eating, and any other activities you anticipate doing on your excursion. Once you have an estimated total for your excursion, add an extra two hours for unanticipated hold-ups such as flat tires or taxis that arrive late. Once you have the total time for your excursion plus an extra two hours leeway, plan to arrive back at your cruise ship an hour early so that you have time to get settled back on board.
    • The advantage of taking a ship-sponsored shore excursion is that you know the cruise ship won't leave without you because so many of its passengers will be on the excursion.
    • Consider booking a half-day tour and then relaxing for the rest of the day in fairly close proximity to the port.
  3. Plan your excursions. You should look into the packaged shore excursions and compare them with local options that are advertised online. You might even join an online discussion forum to find out about local tour options or find people on your budget cruise who might also be interested. You might be able to save money and get a better experience by booking yourself instead of with the cruise company.
  4. Pre book your spa appointment. Spa treatments fill up fast on many budget cruises so you will want to pre book your spa treatments well ahead of time. As soon as you book your budget cruise, go ahead and book your spa treatments to avoid disappointment.
  5. Set realistic expectations for your budget cruise. If you manage your expectations, you will be less likely to experience disappointment. This includes expectations for yourself during your budget cruise, expectations for others such as cruise staff, and expectations for family members and friends. Be realistic about what you might expect from budget cruise staff, your family, friends and yourself.
    • If you bring work on the cruise, be realistic about what you might reasonably be able to achieve while on a cruise. There will be limited internet and work space.
    • There may not be the same level of service that is common on higher priced luxury cruises. Adjust your expectations accordingly.

Packing for Your Budget Cruise

  1. Pack the essentials. It is important to pack your passport, personal identification, travel insurance card or phone number, prescription medicine, a first aid kit and seasickness medicine such as behind-the-ear patches. You should also make sure you have all of your toiletries, including conditioner, since these may not be stocked on budget cruises.
    • Remember your passport. Remember to update and pack your passport, since most budget cruises will pass across nation states.
    • If you have to fly into your departure port, you should remember that anything you pack also has to get through airport security.
  2. Pack alcohol if you can. Find out your cruise alcohol policy and bring alcohol if you desire it and the budget cruise allows. If you have a favorite wine or alcohol, find out if you can pack it yourself. Many companies allow you to bring a limited amount of your own wine or beer. This will prevent the disappointment of having to purchase poor quality wine or spending excessively at the cruise bar.
  3. Leave some room in your bag for souvenirs. If you pack your bags to the point of bursting, you may end up being disappointed upon the realization that you have no room for souvenirs. The simple solution is to leave a little space for souvenirs at the top of your bag.
    • If you anticipate purchasing small trinkets, you can leave an extra inch or two of room at the top of your bag. However, if you anticipate purchasing larger souvenirs such as rugs or larger craft objects like masks, you may need to bring an extra bag. You can always pack an extra bag inside your check-in bag if you are an ambitious shopper.
    • If you are an ambitious souvenir shopper and wish to avoid excess baggage fees, consider shipping your souvenirs from one of the ports. It will probably be cheaper than the excess baggage fee at the airport.
    • Some common souvenirs that won't make it through customs include Absinthe, meat based soups, objects made from ivory, larger souvenirs from Cuba, Iran or the Sudan, fruit and vegetable products, and many designer knockoffs. Look at the materials that your souvenir is made from and consider whether you have a good chance of getting it through customs.

Enjoying Your Budget Cruise

  1. Avoid work. If you bring a lot of work with you and spend your days on your laptop or cell phone, the budget cruise may pass you by and end in disappointment. To avoid this scenario, you should try to get your work done prior to departure. If you absolutely must work on your cruise, try to schedule short periods of work and then enjoy the rest of your time relaxing.
  2. Eat wisely. The all-you-can eat buffet is not a challenge to your eating abilities. Arrive early to the buffet and examine the items carefully. Food left out too long on buffet tables is a common cause of food poisoning, which is really not fun when you are out at sea.
  3. Schedule your internet time for the port. Internet access is often very poor on budget cruises, so you should avoid it as much as you can. You might end up spending too long getting little done online. Instead, you should check your email and do internet related activities when you come into port.
  4. Skip the casino. The casino is a real cash grab that could easily end in disappointment. Instead of risking your savings at the on-board casino, save your money for souvenirs and on-board activities that are more likely to bring enjoyment.


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