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I spent $3,660 on my 5-night Celebrity Cruise, including everything from airfare to shore excursions and specialty dining


After sailing solo on Celebrity's newest ship, I was excited to be onboard Celebrity's first-ever sailing to Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean's award-winning private island in The Bahamas.

I cruised with my finacée, so I was curious how my spending would compare to my solo adventure. Throughout my 7-night cruise on Celebrity Ascent, I spent around $4,600 on everything from the cruise fare to plane tickets, shore excursions, specialty dining, and other onboard expenses. 

Between the two of us, we spent $3,660 on our 5-night Celebrity Reflection cruise, or roughly $1,830 per person. The biggest chunk of our budget went towards the base fare, which was just shy of $2,000. 

Collectively, we paid $893.40 on two flights from Charlotte to Fort Lauderdale

delta flight

For our cruise, we flew with Delta Airlines, with our first segment flying from Charlotte to Atlanta. After a short layover, we were onboard our flight to Fort Lauderdale, arriving around 3:00pm the day before our sailing. 

I interchangeably fly with Delta and American, as I hold status with both. This time, we opted to fly with Delta simply because I had some remaining flight credits from a canceled trip. 

Now that I've used up all the credits, the remainder of my planned trips for the year are with American. Though I prefer Delta's customer service and in-flight experience, they don't have as many direct flights as American does. Had I opted to fly with Delta to Seattle for my Alaska cruise, I would've had to tack on a layover to an already long travel day. 

We booked a quaint boutique hotel close to the beach rather than staying near the airport, totaling $270


Our one-night stay at the Aqua Hotel cost $270.07. We chose this hotel for a few reasons, most notably because we arrived a bit earlier and didn't want to feel confined to an airport hotel all afternoon. Surprisingly, the price wasn't much higher than hotels near the airport, which made it a compelling choice.

Chain hotels on the beach were upwards of $400 or $500 per night. Though I prefer staying at a Hilton or Hyatt due to my loyalty status, I wasn't willing to shell out that much money for a single night's stay, especially since we knew we wanted to explore the surrounding area, rather than take advantage of the hotel's amenities. 

Though it certainly wasn't an upscale resort, it served its purpose. I appreciated enjoying a morning walk to a local bakery and coffee shop instead of being limited to a standard hotel buffet, even if it did cost us almost $50 for breakfast. 

We spent $135.50 on five rideshares


With parking at the Charlotte airport costing, at minimum, $12 per day, I usually order a Lyft or Uber from my apartment. In the long run, I appreciate the ease of being dropped off and picked off from the terminal, rather than dealing with parking and hauling my luggage on buses, even if it is a few dollars more. 

Our hotel didn't have a shuttle, so we had to order a Lyft upon arriving at the airport, too. Once we were at our hotel, though, we didn't have to worry about ordering anything else for the remainder of the evening, as our dinner reservations were within walking distance. After a short nap, we were ready to go! 

On the morning of embarkation, we ordered a Lyft with a short stop at Walgreens to pick up a few toiletries we had forgotten, including shaving cream and a Tide stain remover pen. Because we had a drink package, we weren't worried about carrying any wine with us onboard! 

The 5-night cruise came to an end far too quickly, and before we knew it, we were standing on the curb waiting for our ride to the airport to arrive. 

The cost of our cruise fare, which included a Basic Drink Package, Wi-Fi, and the stateroom, came to $1,997.74


When Celebrity announced that they were going to begin offering cruises to Perfect Day at CocoCay, I knew I had to book a cruise on one of the first sailings. 

My amazing travel agent was able to confirm an inside cabin on Celebrity Reflection the week bookings opened in July 2023. The rate wasn't just for accommodations, either, as it included drink and Wi-Fi packages, as well as gratuities.

Overall, I wasn't upset with the price, especially considering the fare alone onboard Celebrity Ascent was nearly $2,900, and it wasn't bundled with any add-ons. Similarly, I paid $1,900 as a solo traveler for an inside cabin on Carnival Celebration last October. 

Read more: I spent 5 nights in an inside cabin on Celebrity Reflection that cost $2,000

We booked one excursion that came to just $3.36 after using onboard credit


I've been to Perfect Day at CocoCay quite a few times; however, this was my first time visiting the island since Hideaway Beach, the new adults-only area, opened. Admission for two came out to be $103.36. Since we had $100 in onboard credit, we decided to apply it to Hideaway Beach, especially since we knew we wouldn't be spending money on drinks. 

It truly was a perfect day. Since we were docked alongside Wonder of the Seas, we assumed there'd be a lot of children elsewhere on the island. Having an adults-only escape made our time far more enjoyable. Those with future sailings to CocoCay with Celebrity may want to consider reserving Hideaway Beach or Coco Beach Club, which will offer either a child-free or upscale experience. 

In Cozumel, we were invited by Celebrity Cruises to join them on a snorkeling tour. We visited four different spots, all of which were teeming with marine life, from schools of fish to starfish, sea turtles, and even stingrays! Though we did not have to pay anything extra for this tour, we expected to shell out another $100 on a third-party ATV excursion. 

While onboard, we splurged on two specialty meals


Since we're cruising onboard Celebrity Ascent in July, we wanted to try specialty restaurants that cannot be found on Edge Class ships. Though we had excellent meals in the Main Dining Room, the meals at The Porch and Tuscan Grille, which cost $204 altogether, were well worth the money, and I'd consider dining at either of them again. 

Out of the two, however, my favorite was Tuscan Grille. Everything from the crab cake to the perfectly cooked filet was drool-worthy. When we made our reservation onboard, the maître d' advised us to dine there early in the sailing in case we wanted to return. Typically, I would never eat at the same specialty restaurant twice in one sailing; however, I regret not taking his advice! 

The Porch was good, too. Part of the appeal of this restaurant, however, is the al fresco seating. Eating seafood while sailing on the open seas cannot be beat! 

Since our drink package only included beverages up to $10, we paid the difference for a few specialty cocktails


Although we could have paid to upgrade from the Basic to the Premium Beverage Package, we didn’t feel as though it was worth another $100, as we are usually content with a simple well drink or glass of Pinot Grigio. The Basic Package also included specialty coffees, which was a huge bonus for me! 

We stuck with our word and didn’t order too many drinks that weren’t included. There were a few times, however, when we wanted to feel like we were on vacation and splurge on a drink from the Martini Bar or at dinner.


In total, we spent $43.20 on these beverages, as those with Basic Beverage Packages only have to pay the difference plus gratuity. It was nice to have the occasionally fancy cocktail, and we’re looking forward to indulging more on our Greek Isles cruise onboard Celebrity Ascent! 

Even though I was content with the Basic Drink Package, I upgraded my Wi-Fi onboard


My partner, however, decided that she was fine with the Basic Wi-Fi, meaning that we only paid $34.97, rather than double.

At first, the Basic internet seemed to be sufficient. In addition to sending messages through iMessage, she was able to access apps like Snapchat and Instagram. As the cruise progressed, however, the Wi-Fi began to slow down, even when sending messages. 

We’re both planning on paying the difference for our 7-night cruise in July, especially since we’ll be sailing through a different continent.

I told myself I wouldn’t gamble too much, but I happened to feel particularly lucky one day. I lost all $40


The casino on my Celebrity Ascent cruise in February wasn’t kind to me, so I promised myself to limit how much time I spent gambling.

While it’s an activity I enjoy on cruises, I understand my limits and tend to stay well within my proposed budget. Even though I lost my $40 pretty quickly, I always love a good visit to the “adult arcade.” 

We didn’t do too much souvenir shopping; however, we decided that our dog deserved a new toy


I’m truly the biggest sucker when it comes to our dog. I’ll buy him a new toy whenever I get the chance, even though he is spoiled beyond belief. While onboard, I found a plush Celebrity cruise ship and knew I wasn’t getting off without it.

In addition to that, however, we also ended up purchasing some aloe because we got burnt while snorkeling in Mexico, making our total in the ship’s store come out to $38.94.

Our 5-night cruise onboard Celebrity Reflection to Perfect Day at CocoCay and Mexico cost $3,661.18


Celebrity Cruises is known for being a premium cruise line, meaning that you'll typically pay more for sailings onboard Celebrity than Royal Caribbean or Carnival. With that in mind, $3,660 for two felt reasonable, especially since that included flights, specialty dinners, our pre-cruise hotel, and more. 

Last year, we spent three nights at Walt Disney World, and the price for our stay at a Value Resort, two-day ticket, and food and drinks came out to be $2,300 before flights! Had we spent five full days in the parks, I'm certain we would have spent far more, and we would have had to be more cautious about our spending! 

Having sailed on two Celebrity ships, I can see why the cruise line remains a favorite. Though more upscale than Royal Caribbean, it's still possible to take an affordable vacation that feels luxurious and indulgent. 

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