Cruising – a budget friendly holiday option

Twin inside stateroom, typical of most cruise ships
Twin inside stateroom, typical of most cruise ships

Let me start by saying I love to cruise!  For a budget conscious traveller, it’s a great option — “what?”  I hear you say incredulously, “how can it be a budget friendly option?”

Let me explain…

Say you want a nice holiday up to the islands – Vanuatu is a good choice, natural beauty, interesting culture and not too far away (compared to say the Caribbean).

You head to your nearest (online) travel agent and find a great deal – $1067 for 4 nights including flights – sounds like a deal right?

Well, compared to a cruise, I don’t believe so.  A 10 night cruise from Auckland to Vanuatu is $1519.  “Huh – that’s still $500 more?!”   Aha! but if you compare like-with-like, to add-on the extra nights at the resort above, you need to add another $112 per night.

And, the final deciding factor, at least for me, is that meals are included on a cruise – that’s right, breakfast, lunch, dinner and as many meals as your hobbit inspired stomach would like to cram in.  Morning tea, afternoon tea, evening snack etc.  If you have ever been to a resort you may have found, like I have, that they charge like a wounded bull for food, because they have a captive audience.

But what is there to do on a cruise?  Well that’s entirely up to you – shows, movies, seminars, sitting on a deck chair reading a book.  Not to mention you aren’t stuck at the same resort for 10 days.  You usually get a few sea days to relax, do the aforementioned activities and then a few days in a different port to explore and sight see.  A cruise can be as active or as passive as you want it to be.

A few things to watch for.  Firstly check the various ships available on similar itineraries, some are better quality than others and onboard amenities vary.  If you are a looking for a particular cruise experience such as a party boat, check reviews, or you could end up on a ship with an itinerary catering to the over 70s.  I kid you not – I was on a tender on a Princess cruise around Australia, there were a bunch of seniors arguing about who was oldest…  Likewise if you are travelling with children, check reviews on the kids clubs and activities available onboard.

Also look at doing shore excursions independently, especially if you are a watching your budget.  The ship’s prices will be much higher typically than what you can arrange yourself, but its worth doing a compare and contrast.

Finally, when looking for reviews, I typically start at  This is to cruising what Tripadvisor is to hotels.

Note – I have no financial arrangement with any of the vendors or websites listed above. This is entirely my own opinion.  However if someone would like to make a financial arrangement and send me on an expenses paid cruise, don’t hesitate to let me know 🙂



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