My “Free” Holland America Cruise Keeps Costing me More – “The Retreat” Booked!

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If you have not been keeping track I have two free cruises booked coming up. The second one is my return to Canival and I am both excited and at the same time somewhat fearful of what it will be like. But the first one I booked is the one I really am excited about as I have never been on Holland America and it looks like it is going to be a perfect fit for me and my wife.

In the title of the post I put free in quotes because even when you get a “comped” cruise it never really is free because most of the time you are still responsible for some port fees and taxes. In my case they were modest and I was offered an interior room at no cost but chose to spend a few hundred bucks more to upgrade to a rear balcony.

Now I have spent even more but I am thrilled.

Let me explain.

One of the things I absolutely love about the Norwegian Epic is that Haven guests get free access to POSH private sun deck and bar (video here if you want to see it). Other guests can also purchase POSH access but clearly can not access the Haven. On other ships, like the JOY, Haven guests have their own private outside sun deck like POSH and others can buy access to VIBE beach club. Here is what it looks like:

To have a huge cruise ship with thousands of passengers onboard with everyone looking for the best spot – a space like the above with padded chairs and top notch service makes such a difference in the cruise experience.

Enter “The Retreat” from Holland America!

It seems that a number of their ships have, not just POSH/VIBE but something on a level that this space from NCL could only dream about and should really be shooting for. I am so happy I found this video review of the space:

With a limited number of cabanas I was able to score one of the few remaining for $599 or $55 per day total for Lisa and me. This means my “free” cruise is now costing us just over $1000 per person for this 11 day adventure (this includes tips+fees+taxes+retreat). So not really free at all when we are approaching $100 per day right?
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Those who know me well know I am about as frugal as they come. For example I am thrilled to stay at a Hyatt Place vs. spending a ton of points on a wiz-bang hotel with glitz and glam. I am also happy to take a cheap ride-share vs. a luxe black car experience. But when it comes to flying I want to be in business class and when it comes to cruising I am more about the luxury experience vs. just sailing as cheap as possible.
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That said I want both my flights and cruises to be as discounted as possible and starting with a “free” cruise allows me to spend funds where I want to to achieve my goals! – René

 

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Frequent Floaters has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. FrequentFloaters and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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René de Lambert
René de Lamberthttp://www.FrequentFloaters.com
René de Lambert has been a travel blogger for over 10 years covering the travel industry - including cruising.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Do you have any experience with Berkshire Hathaway travel insurance? i see a product on their website called Wave Care.

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