Cruise Price Compared to Land
Many people consider a cruise because it is cheaper than a land based vacation. It's important to compare apples and oranges to make your decision.
It's important to realize that on land, you can skimp if you want to. You can stay at a Motel 8, you can eat at McDonalds. With a cruise, you commit to a "good lifestyle" the entire time. For many people that is great! But you need to solidly realize that this is the choice you are making. You can't complain about the price and then say you could have it cheaper cooking your own food in an efficiency. Sure you could - and if you want to, go do it. A cruise is about pampering and about a quality of experience. That is what you pay for.
Let's take an example trip, Boston to Bermuda. The cheapest boat to make that trip would be the Norwegian Majesty, around $800 base. Plus $90 parking, plus $80 built-in tips - so let's say $1,000 per person easily with drinks.
Total 2 People: $2,000
Now, a breakdown of EQUIVALENT lifestyle vacation the manual way.
* Logan parking - $112
* Roundtrip flight Boston to Bermuda - $700 x 2 = $1,400
* Inexpensive hotel with pool - $155/night = $1,085
* 3 nice meals a day plus snacks - $100/day = $700
Total 2 People: $3,297
While the ROOM on the cruise might be smaller, the ATMOSPHERE of the "ship" is far better than the atmosphere of the "resort" in this comparison. If you wanted to increase the resort level to match the ship's various common room areas, you would pay a lot more.
That $100/day for meals might seem high for McDonalds eaters - but remember, we're comparing it to cruise ship quality restaurants. We're talking filet mignon and lobster tails, with a bottle of wine and creme brulee for dessert. If you're going to go on a cruise, you have to compare it to the proper alternative. If you just want to eat McDonalds, you can try the land route, but even then it will end up costing you more, between lodging and flight and such.
Finally, a lot of what you are paying for on the cruise is being pampered. Once you get on the ship, you are DONE. You don't have to deal with multiple hours on an airplane. You don't have to get your luggage and schlep to a hotel, and check in. You save a ton of hours going in - and a ton of hours coming back. All of that "lost/wasted" time on the land voyage is prime relaxation time on the cruise.
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