Cruisin’ on a Budget
If you’re looking to do something a little different for your family vacation, you may want to consider going on a cruise.
Cruises are a popular getaway option because, while you’re going between destinations, you get to relax and frequent the all-you-can-eat buffet instead of driving a car or sitting in a plane. New Orleans is a prime location for cruises since it is near the Mississippi River, which dumps into the Gulf of Mexico and gives us access to an array of cruise destinations: Cozumel, Belize, the Bahamas, and more! If you prefer not to go out of the country, there are plenty of cruises that go north and take you to places such as Natchez, Memphis, and St. Louis. Cruises can be expensive, though, but not completely inaccessible–all you have to do is a little bit of budgeting and planning ahead of time to score an awesome trip with
Choosing a Destination
If you’re leaving from one of New Orleans’ ports, the most obvious choice of destination would be somewhere accessible via the Gulf of Mexico. Cruises that go to these places are typically cheaper than some cruises that explore the Pacific Coast or Europe. Depending on when you buy your tickets, plenty of European cruise lines will offer you discounts, such as free excursions, a certain percentage off the second guest’s ticket, and buy-one-get-one-free airfare. So, if you have a little more room in your budget, a family European cruise may not be as expensive as you think. The cost of your cruise is more or less dependent on other factors besides destination.
Type of Room
Just like any hotel room, a smaller, less luxurious room will be less expensive than a suite or a room with an ocean view. A cruise ship typically has four types of rooms: standard, ocean view, balcony, and suite. Your standard room will be the cheapest and the smallest, while your suite will be the roomiest and most expensive option. A family of four could divide themselves between two standard rooms for about the same price as one suite.
Length of Cruise
A week-long cruise will definitely be more expensive than a cruise that only lasts for a few days. However, a week-long cruise in the Caribbean will be cheaper than a four or five-day cruise in Europe, and a two week long cruise in the Caribbean will be more expensive than a week-long cruise in Europe.
A shorter cruise length means that you will not have as long of an itinerary as that of a longer cruise, meaning you won’t make as many stops. But, if you and your family only have the time and money for a long weekend vacation, there are plenty of cruises that last four-to-five days.
Time of the Year
Another determining factor behind the price of your cruise is the time of year your family goes cruising. Of course, summertime is the ideal time to go on a cruise, since that’s when most families’ schedules allow for everyone to go on vacation. However, if possible, going on a cruise in the fall or the winter will be much more budget friendly than going in the spring or summer since warmer months are the most popular cruising months. The Gulf of Mexico is warm year-round, so you likely won’t have to worry about getting too cold during your winter cruise.