It was a cruise from Florida and I have to say, compared to the incredibly hot Central American countries we visited, Florida was a dream–balmy and comfortably warm. If you have a reason to visit Florida (South Beach, Everglades, Key Largo, etc.) February is a perfect time to go and it’s a cheap short flight.
Now, the cruise. Is it good and if so, can we afford it?
I was under the winter weather and it was great getting some sun and, yes, it’s good if you don’t care to stay too long in any one place. If you want to stay five days in St. Petersburg, you shouldn’t go there on a cruise. Take a trip there but pick the right season. (Source: blog.voanews.com)
Second, it’s soooo easy–no packing and unpacking, flowing food any time of the day or night and painless transport to your next port of call. And believe me, when you have just been touring Cartagena’s old city in 95 degree humid weather, that air conditioning is really welcome on your return to the ship.
Also, it can be quite reasonable if you remember that room, board, and transportation are all included. If you buy excursions that’s extra, but many people don’t–they just exit the ship and walk around or take their own tour or, believe it or not, stay on the ship while the rest of us are running around in the heat or climbing pyramids.
Having said all that, it was wonderful. So how can we as retirees afford it? Are there any discounts available?
Are you kidding? there’s a whole discount industry that you can tap into. Here are a few things to remember.
1. You can do very well buying from the cruise company itself if you buy early enough and watch for the discount packages for booking early.
2. Then, there are the secondary discounters that you can go to regularly to see what they’ve got: Cruise Critic, CruiseOne and CheapCruises while Cruise.com, and VacationsToGo are especially good for last minute discounts and if you aren’t absolutely set on a specific ship or cruise line, But remember to compare apples and apples when you look for bennies.
3. USA Today’s travel site reminds us to look carefully at the airfares–it doesn’t do you much good to get a discount on your cruise if you pay through the nose for your airfare, so you need to do your homework there.
4. Finally, you can take a chance and book a room you don’t particularly want at a lower price and hope for an upgrade. This may work if you are a regular at this Cruise Line but make sure that you can stand your room if the worst happens and you don’t get an upgrade.
I think there are certain itineraries that lend themselves to cruising: the Baltic cities, the Greek Islands, and many Caribbean stops. But if you want to eat French food and wine, it’s better to go to Paris and stay there. Now that I think of it, we haven’t been to Paris in a few years……