Don’t go financially overboard when selecting your stateroom.
Sure, we all love to splurge from time to time. Unfortunately for most of us, there comes a time to pay the piper.
You’ve decided on the perfect cruise line, ship and itinerary for your cruise vacation. The next step is to choose your stateroom.
A key sales strategy in the cruise industry is to convert the total base cruise rate (the actual cost of the cruise not including port charges, taxes etc.) into a per diem price…the amount you pay per day.
For example, say the base cruise rate for an inside stateroom on a 7-night Caribbean cruise is $499 per person. An ocean view is $599 and a balcony is $699. Put another way, for only $29 more per day (per person) you can go from a windowless stateroom to one with your own private balcony. $29…four foo-foo drinks a day or a balcony. It’s pretty enticing. I know which I’d take.
But then you get onboard, settle into your spacious balcony stateroom yet you still want those four foo-foo drinks. Here’s where the situation deteriorates.
The vacation-buying experience is an emotional financial decision. Because you let your emotions get the best of you to buy a stateroom that’s really out of your budget, chances are the day of reckoning will occur on your cruise.
Still not convinced? Here are my 5 reasons why you shouldn’t buy a stateroom that’s out of your vacation budget. Consider these facts before you book your cruise stateroom.
It’s very disappointing to overspend on your accommodations and have to pass on that coveted shore excursion. Half the fun of visiting new islands, cities and countries is participating in a shore excursion, especially on your first visit.
Whether through the ship’s shore excursion desk or a portside tour operator, it still costs money. I’ve had to pass on a few shore excursions over the years (Harrison Caves in Barbados comes to mind) just because I opted from an inside to just an oceanview stateroom.
Whether it’s buying a hand-stitched leather jacket from Florence, Italy, a new fashion watch in St. Maarten or simply silly souvenirs for your family, it’s no fun to pass up a little shopping on your cruise.
Book that balcony when you can really only afford an inside and you might have to forego a superb meal in a specialty restaurant. I hear so many people say they only eat the free meals in the main dining room. What a shame. You are missing out on some wonderful dining experiences.
A specialty coffee will cost you the same on a ship as it would at Starbucks. And boy how those lattés can add up. Beer, booze and wine on a cruise can really add to your onboard bill faster than you can imagine.
Which leads to the next and last reason not to spend more on a stateroom than you can comfortably afford…
Days (and nights) of reckoning and bookkeeping.
Probably the worst experience is to be worrisomely close to your credit card limit. If you have to stand in line at the Purser’s Desk every night to request a print out of your onboard purchases just to know how deep you’re in debt, you should have gone with a less expensive stateroom.
How do I know all of this? After more than five decades of cruising, especially during my college days, I’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt.
Bottom line, if an inside cabin means you’ll be able to take the breathtaking plunge on the world’s longest zip line in Icy Strait Point, Alaska, have an amazing dinner at the Chef’s Table in the galley and buy goofy souvenirs for everyone in your family, it’s worth it to not have to count pennies for the entire cruise.
Reserve a stateroom within your budget and you’ll enjoy your cruise without hesitation.
I’m the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com, a solo traveler cruising the world on waves and wheels, collecting recipes along the way. I hope my articles and photos entertain, advise and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Take a breath…stop for a local meal and a glass of wine along the way.