2) No, I don’t want to buy a drink!
3) Jamaica me crazy!
4) Stingrays can ruin a honeymoon
I wrote about cruising for a family before in this two-part post HERE and HERE I will not repeat myself on all the advantages of this type of travel when you have children. But a few months ago, we set out on our own cruising adventure, all seven of us, including my in-laws. So I decided to do a four-part series, spread over four weeks. In this post I will outline the costs involved.
We went on a Carnival ship called Victory. The itinerary included Jamaica and Grand Cayman, two islands I have always wanted to visit. We did have to take our daughter out of school for four days. She is in kindergarden, so it’s not a huge deal at this point, and the savings in the off-season were substantial.
We decided to get three cabins. My husband, my 3-year-old son and I shared a balcony room that was 185 square feet. My sister-in-law and my daughter stayed in an ocean view cabin that was a bit larger. We felt it was only fair to cover my sister-in-law’s costs, since she was taking care of our little girl. My in-laws got a balcony room and paid for it themselves. This trip could have been done much cheaper if we didn’t get a balcony. But for us the extra expense was worth it. However, I would rather go on a cruise in the cheapest inside cabin than not go at all.
Here is a photo of a balcony cabin.
Our costs broke down this way:
As you can see, I booked the cruise with my Discover card, though in the future I will probably stick to applying for a new card bonus and meeting my minimum spending requirements. A win-win.
I purchased trip insurance for five of us at a cost of 132 dollars total. It did include an option to cancel for any reason and get 75 percent of your non-refundable costs. We almost used it because my husband had a very important project at work and considered staying behind. Thankfully, he worked it out, but once again I was reminded of importance of travel insurance.
The tips were billed automatically to my Barclaycard Arrival, where my sign-up bonus took care of all the costs. This card is one of my top picks and does pay me commission if you apply through my site.
The tips were 57 dollars and 50 cents per person for five days of cruise. Strangely, we had an onboard credit of 50 dollars that was a complete surprise. My sister-in-law had a credit of 25 dollars. The total cost for tips after credit came to 212 dollars and 50 cents.
Our excursions on both islands amounted to 250 dollars for five of us. We booked the tours on the internet instead of using the cruise line vendors. We also ended up getting lunch in Jamaica, which cost 85 dollars for seven of us. The last part was a mistake and probably the only expense I regret on this trip. More on that later. 🙂
Souvenirs and drinks on board added up to around 50 dollars. I hate shopping, so I just handed my in-laws some cash to get Jamaican coffee and some jerk seasoning. Mission accomplished.
So, let’s add up all the costs for this trip: 1080.04+645.36+132+212.50+250+85+50=2454.90
However, as I said before, the tips were taken care of because of the sign-up bonus, so I have to deduct that: 2454.90-212.50=2242.40
Additionally, I got cash back bonus from Discover amounting to 39.60. So the real cost comes up to 2202.80 for a five-day all-inclusive cruise for five people. As you can see, not cheap at all. But by living frugally all year and using some of my sign-up bonuses for Walmart gift cards, we were able to save enough money to make it happen.
How you can do it too
The best credit card bonus currently available for cruising would be, you guessed it, Barclaycard Arrival(TM) World MasterCard® – Earn 2x on All Purchases. The sign-up bonus gives close to 440 dollars off travel expenses. A husband and a wife can each get one and potentially knock off 880 dollars of their cruise. You can also consider getting Chase Sapphire Preferred and use the bonus to cover your cruise expenses, since you would get 1.25 cents per each Ultimate Rewards point when booking through their portal. Currently, you get 5000 extra points for adding an authorized user.
Readers, are you considering taking your family on a cruise?
Photo credit goes to cruisefox.com, seasiteblog.com and carnival victory.com
Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.