With gas prices rising, can a cruise be a bargain?
With gas prices going up just about daily, planning an affordable family vacation may be out of sight. But wait, how about a cruise.
If you plan it right, the bottom-line should be less than staying at a hotel or resort where meals and entertainment cost extra. Let's compare.
Cruise to Mexico
How about a four-day cruise, leaving from Long Beach, Calif. Ports of call: Catalina Island and Ensenada. The cruise sails at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, and returns at 8 a.m. Friday.
Let's say you live 350 miles from the pier. ( 700 miles roundtrip ) Assuming 20 miles per gallon and gas at $3.50 a gallon, total cost for gas $122.50. If you fly, as an example from Phoenix, Arizona to Long Beach, California and return, for two adults and two children under 12, you might spend in excess of $900, ( your amount will vary by departure city and the airfare rates on any given day ).
The Cruise Cost
The least expensive inside cabin will cost you $419 for each adult, and $329 for each child for a total cost of $1,496, which includes port charges but not government taxes. Then you need to add a fuel supplement of $7 per day per guest. Then add gratuities (tips) of $10 per person per day. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are additional. So if you have wine with dinner and sodas for the kids everyday add another $200, or less depending on your needs.
Want Better Accommodations?
If you choose a cabin in a higher category, say a balcony, be prepared to pay way more than the minimum.
Cheapest Way To Go
If your family of four drives to Long Beach and takes the cruise, based on our example, It comes out to about $140 per day per person. Thats $560 a day for a family of four. Meals, entertainment, accommodations and more. Now compare that to a land-based resort and you will know what's the better deal.
Want to compare cruise prices and whats on offer? Visit www.cruisedirectonline.com. This site often has fares lower than those offered by the cruiselines. To get opinions from cruisers who have sailed, go to www.cruisereviewsonline.com.