Cruising Like a Celebrity Toward the Caribbean

 Cruising Like a Celebrity Toward the Caribbean

Part 2

Story and Photos by Bob Nesoff

People often dismiss the idea of a cruise as too expensive. Yes, the cost can be a bit high. But sit down for a minute and think about what you are spending.

A decent hotel can run close to $200 a night. Most vacations are a week to 10 days. That would put the cost for accommodations at $1,400 for seven nights and double that for two weeks.

OK, now add meals into the scrum. Let’s just say there are two of you. Breakfast (if the hotel does not include it) will run perhaps $40 to $50 per day. Let’s go with the lower end where the cost for seven days will be about $280. Of course, you can choose Burger King, but the meals will not compare to the hotel or a decent restaurant.

Dinner? Well, here’s where you may have to take out a loan to pay for the week. A good restaurant will set you back an easy $150 to $200 sans a gratuity. At 20% on the lower end that will be $30.

OK, here’s the tally: Rooms for a week $1,400; breakfast $280; dinner $1,050. Total for the week $2,730. And remember, that’s figuring on the low side. Most vacationers don’t cheap-out so the more realistic cost for the week will go well over the amount shown here.

What can you do to have a classy vacation and spend far less? Try a cruise.

We’ve been on a number of cruises over the years ranging from going up the East Coast to the Caribbean, the Inside Passage to Juneau, Alaska, the Danube starting in Vienna and ending in Bucharest, and on the Yangtze in China. The most recent was on board the Celebrity Summit out of Miami to the Bahamas and Cozumel, Mexico. We had sailed on the Summit some years back going to Alaska, so it was like meeting an old friend.

Except it wasn’t. The ship has been completely refurbished and was as modern as any luxury liner afloat today. We sailed from Port of Miami with a day at sea and then into port in Nassau. If you like, there are excursions to beaches, sites of interest and (we chose) a relaxing tour of the island from the water.

The next day at sea followed a day later with port time in Cozumel, Mexico. The residents in these ports are aware that their livelihood depends on the people coming in by ship and they bend over backwards to show kindness and friendship. The only word of caution here is, as I mentioned last week, do not buy anything unless you have a price comparison.

Remember as well that not accepting the original price is not a problem. They expect you to bargain. If you want silver objects in Mexico, understand that the government is exceptionally strict to ensure you are getting what you want. We bought a silver recreation of the Mexican pyramid that was said to be solid silver. Back home it was examined by a jeweler. Surprise! It was not only silver, but it was .999 silver, better than sterling that comes in at .995.

Back to the nitty gritty. On a ship, your hotel goes with you. Meals are included with the exception of a specialty restaurant that’s extra. But the food in the dining room is as good as any high-end restaurant on shore in Manhattan. The room itself is beautifully appointed and comfortable. There is never a rush and mealtime is relaxed.

Back home, if you’d like a show, chances are tickets for decent seats run well over $200. On board the Celebrity Summit, there were Broadway-quality shows nightly. And for those who prefer something a bit more risqué, the late show is for adults only. There is no limit on how many shows you can see, and they are offered nightly…cost included in your fare. Alex, the very pleasant cruise director, vets every show that is presented and he is one of the most visible staff members on board the Summit.

So, before you decide on a vacation, talk to your travel agent or look up the cruise ships on your own. You can opt for the least expensive with an inside cabin. Those are the same as the more expensive outside cabins except there is no glass door overlooking the ocean. You can upgrade depending on your budget.

We chose Celebrity because of our previous experience with the line, and we were not disappointed.

So, forget the land-based hotels for vacation. Go by ship and take your hotel with you.

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