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Flying to Port struggles (and tips?)


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Hi all,

I don't have any upcoming cruise set yet ( ? ) but regardless of when I finally book cruise #4, I and my mother will have to fly since we live in Illinois. And it's a struggle!

After dealing with conforming to shrinking plane carry-on measurements, checked-bag weight restrictions, transport to and from the airport, hotel costs, food for the night before and hotel to port costs we're often stressed and already pretty monetarily spent before even setting foot on the ship! But I want to take advantage of some of the cost saving tips I keep hearing about (like bringing your own wine or canned beverages on board or buying toiletries in the port city instead before)...but the idea of spending that much on ubers after all of the above costs, really makes me hesitant.

So I come to you, seasoned cruisers, to ask - what are your tips to make flying to the port easier and cost effective? Do you do those other cost saving tips? How? Do you have other cost saving tips?

Some things we already do:
 - We both have TSA pre-check to cut stress
 - We both have 1 free checked bag on the airline we choose so we save about $50 total on choosing to check a bag 
 - We opt for AirBnB's over hotels when the cost is better usually saving $100 / night on lodging

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10 hours ago, CrimsonCruiser said:

Hi all,

I don't have any upcoming cruise set yet ( ? ) but regardless of when I finally book cruise #4, I and my mother will have to fly since we live in Illinois. And it's a struggle!

After dealing with conforming to shrinking plane carry-on measurements, checked-bag weight restrictions, transport to and from the airport, hotel costs, food for the night before and hotel to port costs we're often stressed and already pretty monetarily spent before even setting foot on the ship! But I want to take advantage of some of the cost saving tips I keep hearing about (like bringing your own wine or canned beverages on board or buying toiletries in the port city instead before)...but the idea of spending that much on ubers after all of the above costs, really makes me hesitant.

So I come to you, seasoned cruisers, to ask - what are your tips to make flying to the port easier and cost effective? Do you do those other cost saving tips? How? Do you have other cost saving tips?

Some things we already do:
 - We both have TSA pre-check to cut stress
 - We both have 1 free checked bag on the airline we choose so we save about $50 total on choosing to check a bag 
 - We opt for AirBnB's over hotels when the cost is better usually saving $100 / night on lodging

 

You are already doing a lot to be cost-efficient.

With regard to flying, I normally don't fly unless I am going to spend 10-14 nights at destination.  So if you are looking at 7 night cruises, consider back-to-back cruises.  You can shop for hotels that offer transportation to the port, but really, an extra $50 for ground transportation is less than an extra $200 on the ship you might be persuaded to spend unnecessarily.  Just my opinion.

My best suggestion for saving $$, aside from booking when schedules are first published and likely cheaper, is to avoid buying extras on the ship when the included items are just fine.  Example: you can forget specialty restaurants when the MDR is very nice for dinner.  Don't buy unlimited drink packages when there are low-cost or no-cost beverages, and an option to carry-on beverages.  Unplug and forget about paying for internet access -- Royal usually has a valet program that will take care of luggage and boarding passes for many airlines.  Or if you really need the internet, buy one day's service when it is needed. Order your excursions on line at discount, etc.  Avoid peak-season cruises on the latest ships (e.g., Harmony was overpriced when Coco-Cay was remodeled and marketed this summer -- May cruises were 50% more than September cruises for the same room category.)

More important than the $$ is the purpose of the vacation and what your objectives really are.  Some members of this blog really want to splurge and live like royalty for awhile, and that is a factor in making their choices for this or that.  My goal is to see and enjoy and interesting places/cultures, so I focus more on the port experiences.  If I were traveling with a large family, I might want to emphasize the shared experiences and relationship moments.   So I would work backward from my objectives, see what it costs, and then find a way to pay for it.  Since I don't need all of the bells and whistles on large ships, I am perfectly fine sailing on a smaller ship at a less expensive port.  From Illinois, Galveston might be a better choice than Port Canaveral, for example.  Whatever you choose, have a great cruise!

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We usually fly, even though we live in Houston. You can only go to the Western Caribbean from Galveston so many times ? . I'm going to question your AirBnBs over hotels unless you're staying for more than one or two nights. I've found their cleaning charges & fees are often more than hotels taxes (however, sometimes you really can find a great deal in the off season). We choose hotels with breakfast included instead of eating out. If we eat out the night before, we split an entree or only order appetizers knowing we're going to eat heavy all week and we drink water instead of drinks. Try to book your stay as close to the port as possible if paying for an Uber. We also stay at hotels that offer shuttle service from the airport to the hotel to save on Uber or taxi fees. Finally, we include all the charges you mentioned in the price of the vacation and really try not to worry about the additional costs. Vacations ARE expensive even when we're being frugal. We also have the added cost of pet sitting which is really outrageous. 

I'll be watching this thread for more money saving ideas.

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On 11/14/2019 at 9:36 PM, Okgladgal said:

I'm going to question your AirBnBs over hotels unless you're staying for more than one or two nights. 

We haven't had too much time to try this specifically with cruising, I admit.Our first cruise was out of Orlando and on embarkation we foolishly flew in day of (thank god we didn't miss it!) and after we spent a few days at Universal Studios so we had a hotel on the park grounds.

Our trip from Miami we had an airbnb that was better equipped than a cheap motel we had looked at for about $30 less a night. Plus it was within walking distance to a 7-11, a Walgreen's type store, and a McDonalds. We used this both on embarkation and disembarkation (private room with bathroom).

Our Galveston trip, Airbnb's were not so lucky. the base price was attractive, but as you mentioned, the fees and what not made it more pricey than a hotel. But the hotels were still $100/night and while we only stayed 1 night each, that was a big pill to swallow. ($200 for less than 36 hours in a room total ?)

 

I generally find airbnb to be a better cost overall but there have been some serious exceptions. T_T

 

Thanks for all the tips! (we also have pet sitting which I forgot to include @[email protected])

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