For the first time ever, I used Hotwire to buy a hotel room for our precruise night. I was having serious sticker shock while hunting for a room in Ft Lauderdale. Since we'd be using it about 10 hours I just didn't want to pay $200 for it!
Soooo I read a lot online and it seemed that one choice in a particular area with a particular rating was 100% a particular Hyatt. And it was $73 and a non-smoking property. Sold!
"Our spacious guest room features contemporary decor with stylish furnishings including two double plush Hyatt Grand Beds™, state-of-the-art media and work center with a 42" flat-panel high-definition television that easily integrates with laptops and other electronic devices, an oversized Cozy Corner sofa-sleeper, wet bar and bathroom vanity upgraded with granite countertops. Enjoy complimentary hotel-wide Wi-Fi and continental breakfast buffet."
See I do have a budget for this trip, 3K. That is the most I've ever spent on a vacation and I am considering this our first family vacation after the awful beach trip last May (trying to block that out!). So what does 3K buy you in the cruising world?
$401 RT tickets on Allegiant air, non stop 2 hour flight (baby on my lap)
$1710 3 passages on Carnival's Freedom for 8 days visiting San Juan, St Thomas, Tortola, Antigua and Nassau. AND we got upgraded :) We paid for a 4A and was bumped up to a 4F :) That is the best upgrade I've ever had :)
$86 one night at the Hyatt (darn taxes)
$10 a drink in San Juan, I am just jumping off the ship to say Hi to someone
$60 in St Thomas for cabs and lunch
$60 in Antigua for cabs and lunch
$60 in Tortola for cabs and lunch
$60 in Nassau for buses and lunch
So that leaves a little over $500 for two beach days in Ft Lauderdale. Plus Dad paid for his own airline ticket so I can add another $200 to the kitty. Yiipppee!
Now if you wanted, you could run up another 2K on the tab doing excursions and buying crap on the ship. There aren't many excursions for under $50. But it is so easy to go to cruisecritic.com and research all your ports. For all our beach ports, we are just going to the different beaches. We'll take a couple of canned drinks and some snacks, our own floats and our own snorkel gear. It sounds like a lot but I am use to being the pack mule and I'd rather know I had my stuff than to hope others sold the stuff I needed once I got there (did that make sense?). Cabs run from $20-40 for the day to get to the beaches. Food like burgers are $10 a pop (and at this point in the cruise you are looking forward to NOT eating!). So it is pretty easy to stay within the $60 estimate I put on there.
On the ship, I'll buy a couple of pictures of the baby ($40), 6 fancy drinks (there are two nights of free drinks) ($36) and a picture of the ship ($4). I am over buying tshirts and promo stuff on the ship. I prefer to go, save my $ by not buying junk so I can cruise again. Soon :)
So now I am looking for a beach front (or near) hotel in Ft Lauderdale that isn't icky or $200 a night. Add in some post cruise food (very little post cruise food haha) and a taxi and our trip is over. Now the great question is, can I stay at or under 3K? I guess we'll see :)