For many people, cruise ships offer some of the most affordable vacations around. If your idea of a great vacation is staying home and doing yard work, a cruise may not seem like such a bargain to you. However, if you are like millions of people who want to leave home and do something interesting and relaxing, a cruise may be just what you need.
Cruises are not actually cheap, but neither is a trip to Disney World.
With some shopping, a great cruise vacation should cost you about $150 per day per person including the trip from your home to the departure port. If you live near the port, you can lower this cost a few dollars. As cruises become more popular and more passenger space is becoming available with ships being added to cruise fleets, the cost has been declining somewhat in recent years. A third and fourth person in the same cabin will cost about half of what the first two passengers cost.
The service and food on a cruise ship is a major step up from most other types of vacations.
Unless you eat all of your meals from the value menus at the fast food restaurants along your vacation route, you can be shocked at how much of a vacation budget is spent on food. On a cruise ship, fine dining with first rate service is included in your ticket price. If you like to eat well and receive good service when you vacation, a cruise ship would make a wise choice for your leisure travel.
Cruises will let you experience several different cultures on the same vacation.
If new experiences are a big part of your normal vacation experience, a cruise will provide you with a real selection from which to choose. Usually, each stop on a cruise ship will let you visit a different foreign port of call. In the Caribbean, for example, you might stop at Cozumel, Mexico, one day and be in Honduras on the next day. In each port, you have choices of excursions that can let you take advantage of the local attractions or just exit the ship and explore on your own.
Once on board the ship, you do not have to spend another penny.
This is the point where a cruise vacation begins to pay dividends. You can allocate a certain amount of vacation dollars for souvenirs and extras. If you get a little carried away and spend it all, your vacation is still going to come out okay because a cruise is all-inclusive. You will still have a place to sleep, eat, and have entertainment. Your travel to exotic ports will still happen. You will be taken back to your point of departure without needing another cent. Even the tips can be paid along with your ticket price if you choose.
If you book early enough, you can make payments on your cruise vacation until it is paid for.
Many first time cruisers book their cruise a year or so in advance. When this is done, the cost of the cruise tickets can be broken up into several payments due a few months apart. You can choose to pay extra along the way so that each payment is smaller if that suits your budget better. The entire balance must be paid a few weeks before the departure date.