Back in 2010, Auston and I went on an Atlantis gay cruise together for our honeymoon. It was a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was charted by Atlantis Events. We spent seven glorious days sailing the coast of Mexico. The trip had been paid for by friends and family because in lieu of wedding gifts we requested contributions toward our honeymoon. But even though the tickets were paid for, we still wanted to keep our extra expenses on the ship cheap and affordable. We had to booked the trip well in advance because at that time our dates were not flexible since we both had full time jobs and limited vacation time.
Now two years later visiting one of the most popular port cities in the United States at the end of our round-the-world trip has left us with a craving for a cruise once again. We were CouchSurfing in Miami and Edison, the other surfer that was staying with our host, mentioned looking up last minute cruise deals while we were there. The thought had never occurred to us as cruises tend to be expensive and we were in no financial state to be blowing money on extravagant getaways. But even though we're frugal travelers who stay in hostels and crash on strangers' couches, it does not mean we're opposed to taking a seat in the lap of luxury every now and then.
We, along with Edison, actually made the perfect candidates for such an excursion. To fit the mold of a last minute cruiser, you have to have flexible travel plans. To really save money, you should ideally already be located near the port the cruise embarks from rather than having to fly or take other expensive travel means to get there. After all, a last minute cruise deal does not mean a last minute flight deal!
You also have to consider why you're getting such a cheap deal and if this trip is really in your budget. Obviously cruise lines aren't making any money off their empty rooms so getting them filled at any cost is worth it the closer it gets to taking off. The real money is going to be made from your expenditures on-board. Alcoholic beverages aren't cheap and gambling in the ship's casinos is an entertaining guilty pleasure. Add some shore excursions to those and your bargain deal can blow your budget.
Back when we embarked on our first cruise in 2010, we kept that in mind and did a little extra preparing to keep the trip affordable. The food was inclusive (we avoided the paid restaurants) so there were no worries there. Drinks, like I mentioned, is where they can get you and there's not much you can do about it since bringing your own alcohol aboard is prohibited. Bringing your own water bottles with your luggage is of course permissible though, and is one way to save money on a cruise. And whether or not those water bottles are actually filled with water or some other indiscernible clear liquid is up to you – not that I'm hinting at anything. Or am I? I'm not though. Unless I am…
As for gambling, we weren't huge betters but we do enjoy a bit of poker when the opportunity arises. We've always set a strict budget when we enter a casino so that we don't go ‘overboard' (get it?) in the moment. Once that money is gone, it's gone and we pull ourselves away from the temptation. Though admittedly I have thrown down just a few more dollars when Auston wasn't looking. I could've won it back! (but I never did)
Some of the shore excursions the cruise offered were enticing as well, like jet-skiing or snorkeling, but again it'll cost. Booking these through the cruise line can ensure reputable operators and accurate timing so you're guaranteed to be back to the ship in time. However, if you're a capable independent traveler you can book these yourself once you arrive at the port-of-call. This is exactly what we did when we decided to go tandem para-sailing for the first time. I truly thought my immense fear of heights would be abated by the fact that we were above water, but every time Auston leaned forward or shifted in anyway my heart leaped in my throat and my bladder threatened to wet my shorts. What can I say? I'm in love with the ground.
So being in Miami really got us thinking about taking another cruise. Realizing that it can be done without breaking the bank by doing a little extra planning also has us doing some daydreaming about the top cruise destinations (some more popular than others!) on our list which are…
We've always wanted to do a cruise that would hit multiple continents and a Mediterranean one could take us to Europe, Asia, and Africa all in one excursion. Drastically different destinations, one easy mode of transportation.
This is one of the priciest and not at all like warm climate cruises. But the chance to see a spectacular part of the globe that so few will ever see could be worth it. There are very few ways for tourists to actually visit Antarctica but a cruise is a common one.
In keeping with the cold weather theme, this one would be a much more affordable option than Antarctica but offers just as unique wildlife and terrain. We didn't get a chance to visit Patagonia during our visit to South America either so we'd love to make that up with a cruise!
As this post was inspired by our time in Miami, of course the Caribbean must be included. It's one of the most popular cruise locals with some of the best island destinations. But I think we'd be more interested in a south Caribbean cruise that would include a stop in mainland South America as well as the southern Caribbean isles.
These cruises are dreams at the moment, but with our current flexible traveling lifestyle, we just might find a deal worth seizing to satiate the craving! Have you ever been on a cruise? If so, where did it take you or if not, what's your dream cruise destination?