Anatomy of Vacation Costs: Weekend Cruise from Los Angeles

Here are the exact costs from last month’s three-day cruise out of Los Angeles…

$718.16 Carnival Cruise fare $906.86 TOTAL
$77.70 cruise tips 3 days
$158.00 Airfare SW
$10.00 MAX tickets $302.29 Daily average per person
$5.50 LAX to pier transport $151.14 Daily average per peson, per day
-$130.00 Onboard cruise credit
$27.50 Lyft fare from pier to LAX $796.00 Cruise only portion with tips
$5.00 Elephant’s Deli dinner PDX $265.00 Daily average per person for cruise
$15.00 Souvenirs $133.00 Daily average per person, per day for cruise
$20.00 Extra drinks on board


Our cruise fare came plus tips came to almost $800, which breaks down to around $265 per day and $133 per person, per day.  This is not the sweet spot of cruise deals and one that we would probably pass on.  However, the dates were just right and we were just looking for an excuse to use an unused Southwest Airlines credit, so that is why we picked the cruise we did.  It also helped that we were able to get $130 in shipboard spending money, so when we factor that bonus in the cost of the cruise ends up being $800 – $130 = $670, bringing down the per day cost to $223 and then only $112 per person, per day.

Our airfare on Southwest was only $158 round trip and the reason why that fare is so low is because we have the Companion Pass, which allows Lisa to travel for free as my companion.  Without that pass, the cost would have been $316 round trip.  Our only other expenses were transportation related on public transit and one Lyft ride.  Food was covered by our Priority Pass lounge pass for Friday breakfast and Sunday lunch, and we bought dinner at the Portland Airport Sunday night at Elephant’s Deli (using their 50% off evening discount).

In total, we spent just a shade over $900 for our three-day weekend and that covered everything from food, airfare and cruise fare.  While our aim is to be under $200 total per day, given the circumstances that we just needed a short weekend getaway, $300 per day was doable and necessary.  Despite the short duration, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and if the timing, cruise fare and the airfare were right, we would definitely do it again!

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