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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Cruising on $10 a Day

Well, now that I’ve gotten your attention, I’ll own up. This posting is not about how you can cruise for $10 a day. Sorry, that will run you somewhat more.

What it is about is what you can still get for $10—more or less—once you get onboard.

Though we spend thousands to climb that plank to paradise, we still count our pennies, do we not?

So, take comfort in knowing there are still some things that $10 will buy:

Malt shop on the sea. For $6.95 at Johnny Rockets, which is on 13 or so of Royal Caribbean’s ships, you can get burgers, shakes and fries, as well as the oh-so-lovely nostalgic experience of peeling your thighs off vinyl seats.

Some nostalgia with your fries on Oasis of the Seas
Bottoms up. Thankfully, drinks on a ship are still under that magic number. But they are getting awfully close. They ran, on average, about $8.95 for a tropical drink recently on the Regal Princess. The drink of the day will run you less, and so will beer.

That’s a novelty. The gift shop has goodies galore. Mind you, not much can be had for $10 or less, but you can still pick up magnets, a deck of cards or a tee shirt. If you’re really lucky, while you’re on your Caribbean cruise, you might even get something on Alaska, since the ships love to tempt you with low prices on stuff from places you haven’t been.

The bargain bazaar. Otherwise known as the $10 Sale. There’s at least one a cruise and sometimes more. You’ll get what you pay for, but it’s fun just the same. Hats and wraps, watches and chains, piles of stuff for picking through. But be prepared for a crunch of cruisers. Look for the sale in the ship newsletter or ask the shop sales folks.
Piles for the picking on the Regal Princess
Sidewalk sales. Just about every day, one of the ship’s shops has something or other out there where you see. And it comes with a big sale sign.  We’ve actually picked up simple glass figures for about $10, which made for inexpensive souvenirs. Mostly, these sales are promoted in the ship’s newsletter, but sometimes you just stumble on them.

Bets on the house. You can quickly blow $10 (alas, as well as substantially more) in the casino, but there’s always that chance…

Ways to blow $10 on the Regal Princess
It may only take just one. Speaking of gambling, you can usually get a single Bingo card for $10. But if you want to improve your chances, you’ll need to shell out more.

Going through Downton Abbey withdrawal? Bring back the memories with the Royal Afternoon Tea on the Royal or Regal Princess, where $10 will get you tea, nibbles and prime viewing for all the action in the piazza. Just don’t forget to sip, not slurp, if you want to impress Lady Mary.
Tea in Regal style
Scoop it up. If you’d rather spend your dough on sweets, you’ve got lots of choices. There’s a Ben and Jerry’s on most Royal Caribbean ships, where scoops range from about $2.50 to $4. Then there are the gelato cafes, like the one on the Regal Princess, at about $2.75 for three scoops.
Gelato on the Constellation
Wash, pay and wear. Spilled red wine on your jacket? The chocolate cake missed your mouth and ended up in your lap? Celebrity will wipe it clean it for you. To laundry a jacket, it will cost $8 and for pants, $7. Dry cleaning will run you a few bucks more.

Bedside manner. Royal Caribbean’s room service continental breakfast is free, but getting something more substantial will cost you $7.95. Carnival’s room service is free, but there’s a charge for its expanded in-room options. Celebrity’s service is free, but food between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. comes with a $4.95 fee. 

So what will Alexander Hamilton get you? From tee shirts to tea cups, burgers to beers and cones to cleaning—in short, more than you might think.