Overcoming Our Fears for a Super Cheap Cruise Vacation

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Should a claustrophobe and someone not fond of the open sea go on a cruise just to save money on seeing beautiful shores?

Ever since our honeymoon, the husband and I have been day dreaming of going back to the shores of the Yucatan Peninsula.  When things get hectic, we always say, “Remember Mexico?”

It’s not likely to happen anytime soon.  At least not the way it did the first time.  We scrimped and saved for over a year to be able to stay in a crazy nice hotel on a beautiful beach.  So I’ve been looking into other options to make our dream a reality.

At first, I totally dismissed cruises.  I’m a little bit claustrophobic, and he’s not the biggest fan of the open sea.  But I was looking at the costs, and holy moly, are cruises cheap!  Especially this time of year, June through November.  You can hit up the shores of Mexico with ports of call like Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, and Costa Maya for about half of what we spent on our honeymoon, and that’s for a much longer trip that takes you to other Caribbean islands on top of the Mayan Riviera.

There’s a reason they’re dirt cheap this time of year, of course.  It’s hurricane season.  But this year is predicted to be the most mild since the middle of the last century.  Cruise lines are pretty good about keeping an eye out for and avoiding inclement weather.  And June is the slowest of all months in the season for major storms.

So I’ve been seriously considering it.  Here are the pros and cons:


  • We’d get to go on vacation for pretty cheap.
  • We could visit some similar destinations to our honeymoon, though not replicating it exactly. (I often find trying to recreate an experience twice over leads to disappointment.  But doing something similar in an area I enjoy is always rewarding.)
  • We might be able to find one the kids could go on with us. (Though I’m not sure we’d want to.  Last time we were in Mexico there were some pretty intense things we did that I don’t think our kids are ready for yet.)
  • We’d conquer some of our fears in the process.


  • Those are some pretty major fears to cover, and we want to go on a vacation, not a therapy retreat.
  • We’d still be spending money on a vacation.  Money we could allocate to something else.
  • We might have to get a babysitter.  And if we’re gone for a typical cruise, we might have to get a babysitter for a while.  That either adds up or leaves you with some serious favors to return when you get back.
  • There’s a very tiny chance that we could get caught in a freak hurricane in June that meteorologists had no warning for.  It’s a pretty small risk, but still a risk.

I’m trying to be braver lately.  That new determination should probably cancel out 50% of my con list, as two out of the four are based on fear.

What do you all think?  Should we overcome our fears for a crazy cheap, crazy beautiful vacation?  Or should we pocket the money and recognize our own limitations?  Have you ever been on a cruise?  They seemed like such an opulent choice to me in my youth, but the prices I’m seeing actually make it look like a budget-friendly option.


*This post is brought to you by Thomson.  All content has been created by and is the opinion of Femme Frugailty.*

21 thoughts on “Overcoming Our Fears for a Super Cheap Cruise Vacation

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      Truth. Hopefully not, anyways. As long as neither one of us breaks down it could be amazing. 🙂

  1. Jason

    If it’s mostly fears holding you back, then I definitely say do it! I’ve always been a bit nervous about the idea of going on a cruise, as I’m just not a fan of being out on the open, deep water in general, but other people I know who have gone have absolutely loved it!

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      That’s the same thing we’re facing. I keep hearing amazing things, which makes me want to conquer it. I’m trying to be braver lately, but have such a long way to go!

  2. Andrew@livingrichcheaply

    I was just talking to my co-worker about cruises this morning! I’ve never been but he raved about it and, yes it is very affordable. Tons of food and activities on the boat too. I’m sure there are plenty of fun activities for the kids too.

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      Now there’s a great idea. We could find a family-friendly one and get the best of both worlds. I’ve heard of ones where they have kids’ corners with babysitting, too. Looking into that!

  3. Libby

    How much time on land in Mexico will you spend according to the cruise itinerary? Are you free-spirited or okay with living by the cruise line’s time table? What did you really like about your honeymoon trip – Mexican restaurants? lying on the beach? hanging out by the pool? doing activities? Are the things you liked best what you would be doing on the cruise vacation? For example there probably isn’t a lot of time out of seven days on a cruise to lie on the beach.

    Are there all inclusive resorts in Mexico which are also heavily discounted during the June time frame?

    Good luck making your decision!

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      Oh, man, these are all great questions. As far as what we liked best, probably all of the above…which isn’t terribly helpful. Haha. But we’ll have to sit down and evaluate the honest to goodness answer for both of us so we can answer the other ones. That’s a good point about checking out other resorts! I was really happy with the one we stayed at because of the level of security….we’re going to have to do some soul searching. And do it with this list.

      Please come comment again! This is quality! Thank you!

  4. Nichole @Budget Loving Military Wife

    We were thinking about an Eastern Mediterranean cruise, but decided against it because of our safety in some of the countries AND the major reason, when we are on vacation we very much like going at our own pace, we are all about spending as much time by the pool/beach and finding great local restaurants. We don’t care much for the “touristy” aspect of vacationing and my fear is that is exactly what you get with a cruise. However, we may still consider a Caribbean cruise once we are back stateside.
    Have you looked into just going to one island? Say, the Bahamas? I have a few friends who had honeymoons there for fairly inexpensive prices.

    1. Libby

      I’ve been on two cruises:
      1. Caribbean – we had a two year old, who stayed with his grandparents. We were totally exhausted, didn’t have the energy to plan a vacation, needed to get away to sleep & relax, and were tempted by the low cruise fares. The cruise was relaxing and we got plenty of sleep – those no-window cabins are great for napping! We felt nickled-and-dimed once on board. Many, many things cost extra-both on the ship and with the excursions. In port we did our own thing including taking a taxi to a beach, however, we had anxiety about getting back to the ship on time.

      2. Alaska – this was a fantastic cruise. It’s impossible to drive a car 100% around Alaska and seeing it by water was the way to go. Gorgeous scenery all day long. I used TripAdvisor to research independent excursions and booked them myself. The people running the independent excursions make their living via cruise ship passengers and make sure we got back to the ship in time. There were some quick things we did to avoid some of the cruise ship’s charges: for example, I went to a local Alaskan town library and used their computers to avoid the ship’s wifi charge!

      I’m like Nicole – I like to travel at my own pace and do non-touristy things.

      For me there are two types of vacations: relaxation and adventure. A cruise is all about relaxation but so is an all-inclusive resort.

      This is getting long, but if you are considering an island, the Dominican Republic (DR) is the least expensive in the Caribbean. My brother and his family have been twice.

      1. femmefrugality

        I’m typically like you guys….doing the non touristy thing at my own pace. But in Mexico we went full out tourist. I guess it depends on how safe you feel in an area. At least it does for me.

        Maybe I’ll check out the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. Those are good tips about the types of cruises you get for different areas, too! I’ve heard great things about Alaskan cruises repeatedly. Not somewhere very high on my list, but maybe it should be.

  5. Andrea

    Hi there! I found you via Pinterest and the Pittsburgh Love board so we have that in common…haha. My husband and I have been having the same exact debate. He is on the “all-inclusive/spend exorbitant amounts of money” side of the fence (since that’s what we did for our honeymoon) while I am on the “go cheap and go cruising” side! I look forward to seeing what you decide!

    1. femmefrugality

      Yay, Andrea! I saw your pin on there! Hope there are many more to come! So glad to connect with another Pittsburgh blogger. 🙂

      This is definitely going to take some deep, soul-searching conversations, especially with the fears involved. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  6. Prudence Debtfree

    OK, I feel like a party-pooper, but my gut says hold off. Maybe I’m projecting my situation onto yours, so if I’m completely off, don’t hesitate to say so. If you want to set yourself up for financial freedom in the long run, start loving simple staycations or get-aways close to home. I think your kids are too young to benefit from travel, and if you travel without them, there will be an additional expense or burden of payback – plus missing out on an opportunity for great family time. There are ways of kicking back that cost even less than an inexpensive cruise. Do you camp? BEST vacation for kids. And once the tent is set up, it can be incredibly relaxing for Mom and Dad too. That’s my vote, but of course I don’t know everything about your circumstances, and the choice is yours : )

    1. femmefrugality

      I love dissenting opinions! Honestly, I don’t spend money in pretty much any other area of my life. I hardly ever buy new clothes. I haven’t had my hair done in over a year (maybe a year and a half?) When things like shampoo run out, it’s an internal struggle to spend money to buy more.

      But travel. Ah, travel. It’s something that’s completely worth the money to me. And honestly, most of the time when we do it, we don’t spend a lot of money at all. The honeymoon was a lavish exception. We have a trip planned for later this summer already with the kids. Found a way to get the hotel for free and working on ways to get the rest pretty darn cheap, as well. We’ve taken them on every sojourn except the honeymoon so far, which equates to about 8 or 9 low-cost trips if I’m doing my math correctly. The only debt we hold is car loans, which allow us to actually get to work (though I know no debt is good debt,) and even if we had saved any of the vacation money over the years rather than traveling, aside from the honeymoon it wouldn’t have added up to anything overly substantial.

      But for the money we have spent on it, we haven’t regretted a cent. Maybe it’s because I was brought up in a very mobile family, but traveling does something to soothe my soul that other things just can’t seem to match. As far as a cruise goes, I think if we decide for it we might have to find one where we could take the kids with us. If we do it. There’s a lot of reasons we might not, but with the discounted rates money is not one of them.

      I completely respect your opinion. And thank you for it sincerely! I think we’re taking our first camping trip later in the summer….I’m kind of nervous for how they will handle it! Hopefully it is all smiles and happiness like you say!

      1. Prudence Debtfree

        It might not be all smiles and happiness your first go at it : ) Learning curves are not my strong point, and if they’re not yours, you might struggle with the whole camp set up. Once you’re got that down, the smiles and happiness come – except with rain and mosquitoes.

  7. Lisa

    I’m a little claustrophobic, too! But I feel like you wouldn’t really be cooped up in your room the entire time. I say you should go for it!

  8. The Frugal Exerciser

    I took a Carnival Cruise for a family reunion. I enjoyed it but my sisters complained the whole trip about how cheap everything was. They want to do it again next year and my sisters are already complaining. I keep telling them for a family reunion an expensive cruise for a family with kids would be out of the price range for our cousins.

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