Budget Vacations–Great Value in Cruises

By Joshua Head

Liberty of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas

You’ve been working non-stop it seems and you really need to get away.  But you are limited on funds and quite possibly even time.  What do you do?
Living in Florida, Miami to be specific, I’ve found great value and enjoyment in taking 3, 4, 6, and 7 night Caribbean cruises.  Many times you can have a vacation where you’re paying less than $100 a day and quite often, as low as $40.

On a quick search on Kayak.com for cruises out of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida for February 2013, the prices ranged from as low as $179 for a 4 night cruise on Carnival to $349 for a 6 night Western Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean.

That’s about $58 a night for the 6 night cruise and a staggering $45 a night for the 4 night cruise.  And remember, MEALS ARE INCLUDED.  Granted, there are port fees and gratuities on top of that, but you would be hard pressed to find any getaway with equal value.  And if you are a Florida resident, a nice perk is that you get a discount on most cruise lines that leave out of Florida.

But you want to see other parts of the world you say?  Well, in August, I booked a 6 night Western Mediterranean cruise on Royal Caribbean for $369pp for October 2012.  My airfare was less than $130 because I used frequent-flyer miles.  Yes it took me a while but it’s paying off in a big way.  I’ll be hitting Toulon and Nice, France- Florence, Pisa, Naples, and Rome Italy.  Granted, I’ll be spending a bit more than that $499 for train fare from the ports to the cities, but will still be under $650 or so.  Had I not used miles and stayed in a hotel in just one city, this vacation would cost well over $1600 for airfare and hotel alone.

What better getaway for a quick rest and refresh than $179 for a 3-4 night Caribbean cruise?  If you don’t want to get off the ship, you don’t have to.  You can find a nook and read your favorite book or take in the ship’s amenities such as the pool, sun deck, spa, shows, or even the casino.  You can do as much or as little as you want.

How do you find these deals, you might ask.  Again, a quick search on your favorite travel search engine- Orbitz, Kayak, Travelocity, Priceline, etc. will give you plenty of options.  There’s also an entire website dedicated to cruising, Cruise Critic that can give you reviews or you can share your experiences on their message boards.  You can also sign up to receive email notices from the various cruise lines which many times has exclusive last-minute sales.  On top of the many great deals on the cruises themselves, many of those sales include shipboard credit up to $200 or more, free alcohol packages, or free spa treatments.

So the next time you  are stressing and in need of a budget friendly getaway, consider going on a cruise and enjoy some of the best travel value available.