by Dana George | Published on July 31, 2021
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If you dream of cruising the open seas, it all begins with a good budget.
You may have heard that cruise lines are reopening following the pandemic. If the idea makes your heart beat a little faster and inspires you to dream of the places you can go, there's no harm in starting to budget. It all begins with figuring out how much you're going to pay for a cruise and then putting those funds together. Here's a look at some common expenses you may want to plan for, as well as some ideas for saving up those funds.
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How much you'll spend for the cruise itself depends on a number of factors, including whether you'll be traveling off-season and whether you're opting for a discount cruise line or luxury ship. If you opt for an interior cabin on a discount cruise, you could pay less than $60 per night. If you're traveling in style on a luxury cruise, it will be more like $300 to $600 per person per night.
Unless you live in the city where the cruise will set sail from, you'll need to factor in the cost of traveling to that port.
Budget for the night before you sail (if you'll be staying in the port city overnight) and any other nights you plan to spend off the cruise ship but away from home.
Factor in how much you expect to spend on food to and from the cruise.
Most cruises exclude specific alcoholic beverages. If your favorite drink is among those excluded, you'll need to budget for it. Even if you've purchased a drink package, it typically only covers alcoholic beverages up to a price limit.
For example, it may cover drinks up to $7. If you order a $10 drink, it will cost you the full $10 (cruise lines do not generally discount drinks by the amount covered in your drink package).
Tipping everyone, from porters to bartenders, is expected on most cruise lines. Some luxury lines (like Silversea and Regent Seven Seas) have "no tipping" policies and build gratuities into your fare. Otherwise, you'll need to check the tipping policy of your cruise line and build that expense into your budget.
If you live in northernmost Minnesota but are sailing to the Bahamas, you'll need to make sure you have clothing appropriate for the heat. If you'll be sailing on a luxury ship, check the dress code for special events and dinner.
Stopping at ports-of-call and want to shop? Make sure you have the funds available. If there's anything special you would like to do onboard (like gamble), include it in the budget. If you have children or grandchildren at home who expect a gift from your travels, plan for that expense as well.
An emergency savings account is essential no matter where you are. Consider padding your budget with extra money to cover any unexpected trouble that arises.
If you don't have cash to pay for the trip up front and don't want to charge the trip to your credit card, you'll need to save up. Taking time to save is not such a bad thing. It gives you time to learn more about where you'll be traveling and to make plans for what you want to see and do. Here are seven simple ways to put money away for your next cruise:
If the idea of watching dolphins frolic makes you happy, budgeting is the first step toward cruising the open seas.
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