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William asks…

Will a February cruise leaving from Baltimore, Maryland be cold?

I want to go on the Carnival Pride which leaves from Baltimore, Maryland on Sunday February 14th at 5:30 pm. Then the cruise keeps sailing on Monday February 15th and Tuesday February 16th. The cruise doesn’t get down to Florida until Wednesday February 17th. Will it be cold before we get to Florida?

John answers:

It will be cold. Generally, the weather in the Baltimore area is 30`s & 40`s during February. You will have a nice brisk breeze out on the water also. You will start feeling warmth as you get closer to Florida.

Hope I helped!

Robert asks…

How cold is a cruise from Baltimore in Feb? Carnival Pride?

How cold is it on the first and last day at sea? Is the pool/hot tub open?

John answers:

Very cool to cold.!!! Once out into the Gulf Stream, it gets quite comfortable. The pool may be closed on the first and last days.

Daniel asks…

How much tax would be added to the cost of a $549 cruise departing from Baltimore to Bermuda?

I am planning a cruise this summer, and would like to get the best deal. I have found Norwegian Cruise Lines offers a cruise for $549 for a 7 day cruise to Bermuda. I know there are extra costs aside from the actual cruise, such as gratuities and taxes. Does anyone know how I can calculate the cost of taxes into my budget? I would like to make sure I spend 1,200 to 1,500 on 2 tickets. Best rate possible.

John answers:

If you haven’t cruised before, you should be dealing with a travel agent who is experienced in cruise bookings. And you should already have some idea of which of the myriad of options are most important [cabin, ship, itinerary, etc].

You can research the costs by going to one of the travel websites, e.g. Travelocity or Expedia, etc. The fare you see in the list will usually be the base fare for the lowest category cabin. If you continue in your “booking”, you will get a screen that gives the total amount, including taxes, fees and port charges. Just cancel the transaction before you get to the stage of actually booking, of course.

It’s going to be difficult to stay within the budget you cite. The cheaper cabins may be already sold out, you will have the expense of getting to the port city, transfers to/from the port itself or parking fees, and then on the ship you will have the “extras”: tips of about $10 per passenger per day [do not skimp on this – those people work very hard for their meager earnings!], alcohol/soda, “alternative” restaurants, spa treatments, casino, shopping, bingo, shore excursions [whether on your own or through the ship], photos, etc. The “ball park figure” for Caribbean cruises is about $100 per person per day. Cruise insurance will also cost extra – don’t buy it through the cruise line. InsureMyTrip.com has comparisons on travel insurance.

The travel agencies will all have about the same prices for any given cruise, as the cruise lines really don’t allow discounting.  Different agents/agencies, however,  will throw in “perks” to get you to book with them, so it does pay to “shop around” a bit.

You can save money by not using the cruise line air [it’s almost always more expensive and less convenient and they usually don’t let you fly in the day before – always a good idea]. You also don’t need to use the cruise line’s transfers. Again, they are almost always more expensive and less convenient than just grabbing a cab, especially when you return. [If you fly in the day before, you can often find a hotel that has free transfers, though these also aren’t always the most convenient.]

Don’t plan your return flight for any earlier than Noon on the day of your return, or you run the risk of not making your flight. Some ports are better than others in this regard. But ships are sometimes delayed and you never know how long it’s going to take to get through security at the airport.

For lots of tips on cruising, you can go to CruiseCritic.com, click on “Boards” or “Reviews” [especially “Member Reviews”], etc. You’ll find lots of info on any topic related to cruising from experienced cruisers.

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