Affording Your Dream Cruise Is Easier Than You Think

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Cruises and yacht trips alike have the appeal of combining hotel, travel, and fun into one long, exciting vacation that can be enjoyed by all ages, families, couples, and more. There are also plenty of location options to choose from — from the sunny coast of Mexico to chilly, lush Alaska. Of course, a cruise requires quite a bit of planning and budgeting; it’s pretty difficult to wake up one day suddenly and hop aboard.

The Infamous Roadblock: $$$

You might be hesitant to book your dream cruise or sailing adventure due to the initial cost. However, consider that a big appeal of cruises and yacht sailing is that they combine a lot of the usual vacation expenses into one packaged deal. They provide lodging, food, travel, and sometimes even entertainment for a flat rate.

While some amenities can be an additional costs (think on-board casinos) in general, what you pay upfront will include everything you’ll really need for your trip. However, with that upfront cost in mind, you’ll need to have that chunk of change ready to go before your trip.

If you’re looking to charter a yacht (perhaps you prefer a more intimate experience) there can be a significant difference in price — that is to say, it’s going to cost more than a typical cruise ticket. As World Wide Boat explains, there are two kinds of crewed yacht charters available: “All-Inclusive” and “Plus Expenses.” What’s the difference? They explain:

  • All-Inclusive Yacht Charters: Some charters (mainly catamaran and monohull charters in the Virgin Islands) offer all-inclusive rates. That means rates are based on the number of guests, and they include all food and drink, water sports and fuel costs. Dockage and taxes, though, are usually charged separately.
  • Plus Expenses Charters: Rates for larger motor yachts do not include running expenses, which must be paid separately. For these luxury charters, the base price is for the yacht only. Additional expenses, i.e. food, bar, fuel, dockage, port taxes and other expenses, are charged separately. Most frequently, the running expenses are paid by an Advance Provisioning Allowance, or APA, which is typically 35% of the base price; this is an amount that’s paid prior to charter.

Yacht charting can get expensive, but it is a great option if you have a group of friends or even a small family reunion. Splitting the cost between your group means you can afford the more intimate setting while still traveling around your favorite areas with loved ones.

For cruises, you’ll be responsible for the cost of a ticket rather than the cost of renting an entire boat, so obviously the overall cost is significantly cheaper. Of course, cruise ships offer extra amenities like spas and unique entertainment that will be at an additional cost, but generally, cruises are great option for exploring new places as a small family, couple, or even solo. You’ll want to save up for the initial ticket purchase as well as a good amount for all the extras you’ll want to buy. Don’t forget you’ll also need money if you want to purchase any goods from the places you dock at.

Putting Some Wind In Your Sails

Saving for a cruise can be pretty simple: factor the cost of your trip into your monthly budget. The sooner you begin planning, the more money you’ll have saved up. This is of course always easier said than done, so you might even consider physically stashing away the money so you’re less tempted to swipe through all your savings during a fun night at the pub. Also consider putting in a little extra elbow grease before your trip; hosting a yard sale to declutter and make some extra money for your trip is a great option that you’ve likely been needing to do anyways. You might also consider picking up a temporary side hustle like Uber, Lyft, or homesharing, such as AirBnB.

Another option to earn some extra change to put towards your dream trip is to look into any new or current credit cards and research what companies are offering what rewards. Experts at Fiscal Tiger explain how this can be a great, two birds, one stone option to try: “there are a ton of different credit card reward opportunities. Points, cash back, hotel rewards, airline miles, retail rewards, or gas points are all types of rewards a card may offer you … Find the reward package that makes most sense for you, look into the details of earning those rewards, and improve your credit while obtaining them.” Earning rewards doesn’t take a lot of work and you’ll also be contributing to your overall financial credibility.

At first glance, affording your dream cruise can seem like something you’ll have to wait for until you’ve reached max financial stability, however, it’s important to remember that there are a boatload of options available that can help make your dream a reality! Instead of waiting until retirement to take your trip, pull together a group of friends you don’t spend enough time with and rent a yacht — or, keep putting money away, even if it takes years, and buy that ticket to the Caribbean you’ve always wanted. Tomorrow isn’t always a given so making your dreams happen now is going to be the key to fully enjoying your life to the fullest. Good luck!