How to Budget for Your Next Cruise

Aug 14, 2023
john Meg AJ

Hello and welcome back to Byte Size Cruises! If this is your first time here, welcome! We are a small travel agency located outside of Philadelphia, PA looking to give you all the information about cruising so you can craft your best cruise vacation. Today we are going to talk about building a budget for your cruise.


While cruising does tend to be a bit more all inclusive than a typical vacation, there are often several things that new cruisers don’t think about before embarking. Today we are going to talk about building out a full budget for your cruise so you feel confident in your vacation choices. 


First let's talk about the most obvious question: Which cruise line is best for you? For a conventional cruise experience, you’re going to choose from a cruise line like MSC, Carnival, Norwegian or Princess. After choosing your cruise line, you'll choose your ship and what port you are leaving from. If you choose a port that you can drive to vs. needing to fly, that’s a budget savings right there. 


Now that you have an idea of what cruise line, what ship and what port you’ll be leaving from, you’ll be able to figure out your itinerary. Pre-cruise, you’ll need to ask all the little questions about getting to the ship: if you’re driving, where are you parking your car? How much cash do you need for tips for drivers and porters? If you’re flying in, remember to consider the cost of checking bags or choosing sets in addition to the cost of the flight itself. 


You’ll want to arrive at port one day early to ensure plenty of time before boarding your ship, so also remember to include all of those details into your budget. Hotel, food, costs, rideshare or taxi costs, etc. are all included in the cost of your vacation. All the little things just getting to the ship can add up and the last thing you want is to feel stressed about your budget before your vacation even begins. 


Now, on to the cruise itself. Beyond the cost of the basic cruise, there are extras you’ll want to consider, such as drink packages, wifi options, etc. Depending on your cruise line, different things will be included at different levels, so read the fine print carefully. Are you going on any excursions or going to the spa? Take a look at what is available and make sure to build room into the budget to do the things you want to do. All the extras like specialty coffees, the arcade, ice cream, etc. can add up. 


Also, take a look at each port you’ll be stopping at and choose how much space in your budget you want for buying souvenirs, gifts, etc. while you’re there. Purchasing these things at port is far more cost effective than purchasing them on the ship, so keep that in mind too.


On your way back once disembarking the ship, you’ll do everything in reverse. You’ll need to make sure you’ve secured your flight home, a hotel if needed, cost for taxis or rideshare vehicles, etc. 


Plan things out ahead of time and you’ll be sure to reduce stress and ensure you can do all the things you want to do while away on your vacation. You can do all of this on a simple piece of paper or excel spreadsheet. Once it’s done, you’ll know exactly how much extra cash you have in your budget and never have to think about it again while you’re away. We always like to be a bit aggressive with budgeting and estimate on the higher side. If things cost less in the end, that’s awesome. Better to estimate high and come out under budget than the other way around. 


How do you budget for your cruise? What tips would you give to a new cruiser? Anything to keep in mind that we missed? Comment below!



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