Frugal cruising... Luxury for less money

Frugal retirement living means not wasting money, so that the money you do save will enable you to do the things you enjoy...our favorite way of spending our travel dollars is on cruise ships.

We spent most of August,two 14 day cruises back to back, in Alaska.

Why? The heat in Phoenix can be a bit much in August.

I know it's a dry heat, 115 is still 115.

This this was two Augusts in a row spent on a Alaskan cruise... And we plan to do it again next year.

We spent a net $41 a day per person during the 28 days... Try doing that in any other method of vacation.

How do we go frugal cruising ? We just booked a 15 day cruise to Hawaii for $34 a day per person.

How to cruise cheap

If you are a beginner, I would go with this site, for low-cost cruises, or just go to Google and enter cheap cruises in the search box... There are other sites as well.

It all starts with doing your research online.

You would be surprised at the varying prices people pay for the same cruise... I know I have caused some long faces between spouses when we discuss what we paid for the cruise, at the ship dining room.

Here is another source to save money on shore excursions...Cruise Critic.

Frugal cruising tip number one

Always choose an inside cabin... These are the cheapest because they do not have an outside view.

When you book do not book a specific cabin, just the lowest price, this will give you the opportunity to be upgraded to the next cabin level for free.

The last five or so cruises we have been on we have only been in an inside cabin once... We have been upgraded for free to an partial view or a balcony.

There really is no downside, if you end up in an inside cabin you will find the darkness great for naps. There are always common areas, as well as outside, that you can visit for a view, read a book, etc.

Frugal cruising tip number two

Shore excursions sold by the cruise lines are almost always more expensive than doing it yourself.

Some folks will worry about missing the boat if they get a taxi or rent a car and head out on their own... I've never seen anyone left yet waving frantically as the ship pulls out.

You almost certainly find yourself bombarded at the dock by people selling shore excursions, at almost any port, and they are always much cheaper than buying a tour on board.

Another huge advantage of doing your own shore excursions is the weather, if you booked a shore excursion, and it's pouring rain... Too bad, you are stuck. Do-it-yourself, when you arrive , you can make the weather call.

You can also split the cost of a rental car with someone that you meet on the boat... Be careful here, it's more trouble than it's worth, if the other folks want to shop when you want to see the sights, or vice versa, choose your companions carefully.

A great resource for what to do in each port is Toms Port Guides... A free resource that gives tons of information about each port that you may visit. I had the pleasure of meeting Tom and his wife on our recent transatlantic cruise and I would recommend his site highly for anyone taking a cruise.

Frugal cruising tip number three

Getting on a cruise ship may or may not be your idea of fun... It sure works for us and I hope it will for you as well.

Saving our pennies while we're on land to spend them at sea is why we employ frugal living techniques.

We enjoy the fine dining, and the attentive service, three times a day on a cruise ship...OK, two times a day when you're in port...here is our number one tip for saving money.

See how that ties in with dining on a cruise ship?