Monday, January 16, 2017
They make you give them your credit card number up front and make you pay "gratuities" up front too. Our gratuities cost (which are a surprise at the end of the cruise) came to $113.42. This is because we ordered absolutely no pop or alcohol, which has an automatic 15% gratuity every time you order in addition to the high cost of the drinks. Any iced tea, lemonade or morning beverages, coffee etc is free with the package. I figured a flat $200.00 for the $2300 figure for someone who maybe had a few cans of pop and a couple drinks.
The food was utterly fantastic and I ate more than I have ever eaten in one week in my entire life! All you can eat buffets for any meal and many other offerings. You could also eat specialty meals for an extra fee, which we did not do. A person could easily spend a LOT of money if they were not careful. No cash is used on the boat and you just use your "sign and sail" card they give you and with no cash actually changing hands, and no tally in front of your eyes, it would be real easy to get carried away! I added another $47.39 on for food eaten in specialty shops to come to the possible $2300 figure.
Because we were celebrating our anniversary, we were given one free photo from the cruise ship. This would have cost $11.95.
The gas to and from the airport was, for us, $7.42 because my husband drives a Honda Insight and it gets 70 MPG. I figured in $16.21 for a car that got 32 MPG for the $2300 trip.
We got a free day of airport parking because we had been doing a program with them. We had a card we had been carrying with us there every time for years and finally had enough stamps for a free day! The parking cost us $80.53 vs $92.53 regular price.
I saved a lot on the flights. I got them for free. We have a credit card that I get airlines miles for using and paying off every month. The tickets would have cost $770.38.
I used priceline for a hotel that we stayed at both before and after the trip for one night. The nights were each $67.24. If I had used the hotel website instead of priceline, they would have cost $93.00 a night. I made sure there was a free shuttle to and from the airport to the hotel and a shuttle to and from the hotel to the port, which was $10.00 per way, per person. As it turned out, the shuttle was full and we were going to have to wait to get there so my husband called an Uber driver who was there in 3 minutes. She cost us $16.50, saving us $3.50. We took the shuttle back and when I told the hotel desk person we needed to pay for the trip back, they said don't worry about it. I said "Okay!!" Apparently they only take money for two way trips, saving us another $20.00. This hotel also had a free breakfast in the hotel.
We did need to eat in the airport and one meal at a restaurant after we left the ship. We walked to the restaurant, saving us a taxi. It was a 15 minute walk and we needed the exercise anyway. These meals cost about $56.00 total. I charged the same for these meals as for the $2300 trip but someone could have easily chosen a taxi and cost more.
I bought a T shirt and a magnet, which were $11.00 total. I put $30.00 into the $2300 figure.
Of course, anyone could have spent any amount on this cruise. I chose $2300 because it was a reasonable number that anyone could have spent and it wasn't using outrageous numbers. The difference between the two, nearly exact same trips is $1282! I don't think it took me any more time to take the $1018 trip than it would have to take the $2300 trip and I don't think I would have had any more fun!! No matter which trip I took, I was still going to have to do all the work of booking the flights and cruises etc. Someone may prefer not to worry about money on a trip like this, especially for a 30th wedding anniversary. For me, I would rather spend the extra tiny bit of effort, and know I saved a chuck load of change to the tune of $1282!! Most people might not remember those few extra sodas or drinks they had or that extra T-shirt or dinner but I'll remember that I saved $1282!!. That's enough for a full other cruise. I'll need to think about booking that. :)
In the meantime, here is a breakdown for the typical average cruise: http://www.cruisemarketwatch.com/home/financial-breakdown-of-typical-cruiser/
Happy Savings! ~
Saturday, January 14, 2017
This is something I just saw online today for the first time. I don't know anything about it except that it says that it is tuition free and accredited. There are a few programs available. It's worth checking out! It's called University of the People. Here is the website: http://www.uopeople.edu/
Here is an article by the New York Times showing that they have received accreditation. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/14/education/free-online-university-receives-accreditation-in-time-for-graduating-class-of-7.html It is worth researching to see how employers are viewing the degree and if it is worth your time to go. This might be a great opportunity for some who could not otherwise go to college.