Do Cheap Cruises Skimp on Fun and Activities?
If you take the family on vacation on a low budget, you’ll stay in the No-Tell Motel and eat in the same fast food places that you see at home. Or you’ll be packed like sardines into a small camper to save money to see the local attractions.
Cruise travel levels the playing field in ways that you won’t find vacationing “on land.” You can tell the first-time cruisers when they arrive for dinner because they’re pleasantly surprised.
There are no cheap seats in the restaurant and the menu is the same regardless of which cabin you reserved. That’s such a surprise for budget travelers. You may be staying in a cabin on the lower decks that cost less, but you’re eating the same lobster tail entrée as the family who booked the upper deck suite with an ocean view balcony.
Each day you receive a bulletin with the next day’s shipboard activities. There are sports, contests, lectures, mingle parties, exercise classes, Yoga, Pilates, and deck walking – just to name a few.
You can enroll your children and teens in age-graded activities for no extra charge. There are even special movie nights and teen parties in the evening, so the parents or grandparents can enjoy a night out at the lavish Las Vegas-style live shows.
Or, you can go to a smaller lounge in an adult-only area for cocktails and the music of a jazz quartet. The price of this fabulous entertainment? No extra charge – it’s part of the cruise.
At home when your teens get hungry late at night a call for pizza, it’s a big charge – plus tip. On the cruise, they can call for pizza until late hours at no extra cost. Or you can all go to the Midnight Buffet, the most over-the-top food spread you’ll ever see.
Before leaving for shore excursions, crew members give informational sessions to tell you what to expect and suggest places to shop or eat. Usually, you receive coupon booklets for stores onshore.
You also have the chance to buy tickets for local attractions at a price that’s often better than what you would pay onshore. Needless to say, the attractions cater to the cruise ship trade and give them the best deals.
Another way to save money for shore excursions is for the family to eat a hearty breakfast or lunch on the ship before leaving. You can then sample local foods or decide to spend your money on souvenirs and tee shirts.
Use the time while eating on the ship to look over the shore maps and find at least two local points of interest that are free to inexpensive. Vacationers sometimes rush to reserve a scuba trip, only to spend most of the day waiting or transporting to the scuba site.
Meanwhile, they see nothing of the town or experience the local culture. Unless you are an experienced, die-hard scuba diver who finds this the ultimate event of the cruise, save the scuba for back home and enjoy the port of call.
Cruise travel is the most egalitarian form of vacation. The only difference is the price and location of your cabin. The fabulous food, onboard activities, children’s programs, and great service are the same for everyone. You’ll never get as much for the money on land as you do on the ship and you aren’t constantly looking for a place to buy gas.