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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Land or Sea… Which Will It Be?

A Cruise vs. a Resort Vacation Cost Comparison

Perhaps the next question should be, "Which will be kinder to my vacation budget?" If you can afford a vacation, you can definitely afford a cruise. In fact, you could save money by taking a cruise. Many would-be cruise passengers are often surprised to discover a cruise isn't as costly as they perceived.

But don't take our word for it, let's crunch some numbers. With so many seasonal price variations to deal with, we've selected mid-range accommodations during the vacation summer month of August to get an overall feel for comparison.

Imagine that you’re contemplating a short vacation get-away and want the best value for your money. For a four-night jaunt, Paradise Island in the Bahamas is a popular destination, and we’ve chosen a sprawling resort complex to weigh against an average contemporary style cruise.

Nassau Resort: Modest accommodations for two at our Nassau average a whopping $399 per night including one free night’s stay in the hotel's "moderate" accommodations totaling $1,197, not including Taxes, Fees, Surcharges & Gratuities. Meals aren't included, so we've selected a casual dining plan that includes a full American breakfast and dinner, which you can enjoy at your choice of a variety of onsite restaurants. But you still have to pay additional for lunch. The dining plan is $79 per person, per day, plus an automatic 15% gratuity.

Add in a light lunch and our daily meals will cost $185 per day for two. So far, just a room and meals total up to $2,285. Not included is round-trip transportation between the airport and the resort. For evening entertainment, if we want to do anything more than walk on the beach, stroll the grounds, or watch television, we'll have to pay admissions for shows and, possibly, cover charges for lounges.

Bahamas Cruise: To make a fair comparison, we have chosen a contemporary cruise in a modest Oceanview Stateroom to the Bahamas for 4-Nights. Even before we compute the basic fare, a cruise is beginning to look like a great deal because of the available amenities—all meals and snacks (including standard beverages), games and activities, parties, evening entertainment, and sports and fitness activities.

Our 4-Night Bahamas Cruise will cost $450 per person, including port charges and taxes. Add in pre-paid gratuities at $12 per person per day totaling $96 for the two of us, and our 4-Night Bahamas Cruise will cost only $996.

This $1,289 savings in the initial vacation costs can go a long way on a cruise toward extras: shore excursions, drink purchases, spa services, souvenirs, and other things that aren't included, such as Bingo and a bit of casino action. At the resort, you'd still have to pay additional for those, and we haven't even taken airfare or vehicle rentals into consideration.


Do the math and you just might decide that a cruise is not only a more satisfying vacation choice, it's also kinder to your budget!

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