Have you always wanted to travel, but felt you could not afford it? So did I until I discovered cruising!

My family just returned from a trip to Spain, where we boarded the MSC Fantasia cruise ship and sailed the Western Mediterranean for seven nights and eight days.

How did an average American family afford this? Planning and careful monitoring of costs! I discovered MSC Cruise line last year and found out that children under the age of 18 sail free. That made it possible for us to take our nine year old granddaughter with us for only the cost of the airfare and tax on the trip. There is also a discount for baby-boomers, and we took advantage of that by booking in my name. Well, there should be some reward for admitting to being a boomer, right?

When we started planning for this trip the cost of the airfare was nearly $1500 per person! By watching the airlines almost daily I managed to catch the round trip flight we wanted for less than $500 per person. That was a great savings.

The next thing we did to cut costs was to share a cabin with our adult daughter. Four of us to the balcony stateroom was a bit crowded, but we didn't stay in the room very much anyway. Sharing cut the cost of the trip considerably. When you cruise, you don't have to spend extra on meals, there is plenty of food available on board.

We also cut costs by opting to hire taxis in the ports we visited to tour the city rather than the more expensive organized tour offered by the cruise line. The one we did participate in was a tour of Pompeii and a bus trip down the coast to Sorrento. All in all it was a wonderful trip and we have lots of memories.

Stop by again later, I'll be posting more pictures next week along with more money saving tips. Now go and plan your dream vacation using all the info available on the internet!


  1. Mary Marvella // June 8, 2009 at 3:35 PM  

    Your pictures are awesome! I can't wait to hear more about what you did and saw.

  2. Mona Risk // June 8, 2009 at 4:06 PM  

    Scarlet, I completely agree with you about cruises. I went on a cruise to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore,...last October. I loved every minute of it. I would have never been so far if it wasn't for the cruises. The only drawback is that you eat too much. I came back with ten extra pounds I still haven't been able to lose.

  3. Edie Ramer // June 8, 2009 at 6:43 PM  

    What a brilliant idea! Love the photos, too.

    Mona, on the one cruise I was on, the cruise comic said we come as passengers and leave as cargo. He was right, too. Darn him.

  4. Barbara Monajem // June 8, 2009 at 8:32 PM  

    Wow, sounds like your trip was wonderful. I've done a lot of traveling, but never taken a cruise. The pictures are great -- I'm looking forward to seeing more.

  5. Scarlet Pumpernickel // June 8, 2009 at 9:30 PM  

    Glad everyone liked the photos. The cruise was wonderful. The ports were not as beautiful as the ones last year, but we got some great shots. Mona, I envy your cruise to those exotic ports! Wow, I'll have to put it on my list.


  6. Mary Ricksen // June 8, 2009 at 10:24 PM  

    Beautiful pictures. Even cruises that cheap are more than some of us can afford. So thanks for the pictures, I'd never seen those places before. Awesome!

  7. Judy // June 9, 2009 at 8:18 AM  

    Scarlet, loved the pictures and the way you could make it happen! Keep the info coming!

  8. Beth Trissel // June 9, 2009 at 5:17 PM  

    Love these pics! Awesome post.

  9. Nightingale // June 9, 2009 at 8:07 PM  

    The photos were spectacular. Next time I plan a trip, I'm ditching Travelocity and asking you to plan it for me. I know you had a spectacular time. Wish I could have been in your suitcase -- well not all the time.