Almost everyone can take seven days off work for a vacation, so our duration is seven days. Destination is going to be a port that has a cruise terminal in a city that is a destination in its self. I'm going to pick New Orleans for two reasons, one Dana and I have cruised from that port and what a fun city to vacation in. Remember my children are grown and we cruise for relaxation. Those of you with children would probably need to schedule during the summer or school vacations and that is definitely going to change the cost. Let's pick November of 2015 as our time of year.
Our end cost is going to be based on total cost per person based on two people. Food is going to be based on three meals a day with buffet and dining room accommodations. Entertainment consists of day time activities and a stage show at night. For you adults, a casino is included for some extracurricular activities, we might as well throw in a bar and karaoke lounge. OK, we can add other items as we discover them, but let's get started.
Finding a cruise and round trip airfare from Seattle to New Orleans is our first objective. For those of us not cruising and just heading for New Orleans to enjoy that week we will use the cruise schedule for that vacation also. New Orleans hosts two major cruise lines for 2015 so we will look at both to find for the best deal, just like we will search for the best hotel price.
We will want to fly the day before our cruise departs as the chance of missing the 4PM sailing deadline is possible trying to do it all in one day. I am going to use Kayak to find both the flights and a room for the night. Our best price is with Alaska nonstop round trip Seattle to New Orleans $818 and our room is at the Hampton Inn for $139 for the night. I chose the Hampton as it is a nice hotel that is within walking distance of the cruise terminal. Also, because Dana and I have stayed there and walked to the terminal.
Our cruise choices are Carnival 7 night departs 29 Nov 2015 and returns 6 Dec 2015. Our ports of call are Montego Bay, Jamaica; Grand Cayman; Cayman Islands, Cozumel, Mexico. Our cabin selection is interior for $529, ocean view $579, balcony $739 and suite $ 1,149 per person. Norwegian 7 night departs 29 Nov 2015 and returns 6 Dec 2015. Our ports of call are Cozumel, Mexico; Rotan (Isla Rotan); Bay Islands, Honduras; Harvest Kaye, Belize; Costa Maya, Mexico. Our cabin selection is interior $439, ocean view $569, balcony $839 and suite $1,049 per person.
We now know our base price for our travel and cruise: $818 air fare for 2, $139 hotel room for 2, and $439 inside cabin on Norwegian (best price and more ports of call for the cruise). This gives us a base total for the trip of $1,835, not including taxes and other fees. Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet or dining room, are included in the price. You can eat in several specialty venues at a cost per person. Drinks (alcohol and soda) and shore excursions are at an additional cost. Water, iced tea, juice drinks are free.
Now let's look at that same package just staying in New Orleans. Air fare is the same $818, the Hampton had no room availability for that week so we are going to book with Embassy Suites which is just a few blocks closer to downtown at $1,113 for 7 nights. Breakfast averaging for 7 days is around $126, lunch average is going to be about $196 and dinner about $270. This covers our basic needs for one week at a total of $1,523.
Our basic cost per night per person is $262 for the cruise and $217 for staying on land. Remember on the cruise we have nightly entertainment, the ship moves to different ports of call where it costs nothing to get off and walk around. On board activities are available on sea days and there are always places on board ship to just hang out like the pool and hot tub.
In closing I would like to share with you a cost saving way to take that New Orleans vacation. I'll leave the prices the same for convenience and we can add one to two week to our stay. Flight $818, hotel $139, Cruise Carnival $1,058 and on return head next door and check in to Norwegian for the second cruise that departs that afternoon for $878. Now we could add that week in New Orleans to the end of the second cruise for $1,113 and meals $592 giving us a total of two cruises and a week's stay in New Orleans for $4,598 for two.
Whatever vacation you plan to do, cruising is definitely affordable, fun and as a bonus you get to see the world or at least in this case a few more countries.