Q: Peter, what would it cost to live on a cruise ship for a month? I am tired and just want to rest during my vacation. I don't want to go anywhere special. I have been to a lot of places.
–Minnie Dennis, Gurdon, Ark.
A: There are plenty of longer cruises of a month or more. A good bet for a relatively inexpensive cruise that is still fairly lengthy is a repositioning cruise. These are one-way voyages in which a cruise line moves one of its ships from one port to another. This usually happens seasonally.
As an example, NCL's Norwegian Sun is making the transition from Florida to Europe in the spring of 2010. Departing Miami on April 26, you'd arrive in London on May 23, after a quick jaunt to the Baltic Sea. This 27-night journey starts at $2,750 for an interior stateroom on Cruises-N-More.com.
One cruise search engine that might work particularly well for you in this case is Cruise.com. With this search engine, you can select cruises longer than 10 days. Then you can arrange them in order of cruise length to find ones that will work for you. One option might be Holland America's Maasdam, which sails from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and back and starts at just $1,884 for an interior stateroom for a 28-day journey.
Another search option is VacationOutlet.com. One of this site's interesting offerings was a 30-night Incan Empires cruise for $2,900 for an interior room. Departing Feb. 6, 2010, from San Diego, and returning there on March 8, this Holland America cruise (aboard the Rotterdam) traverses the Pacific Coast of South America.
One last piece of advice: When you're budgeting for cruise travel, a good rule of thumb is to take the per-person cost of the cruise and multiply by 1.75 to get an idea of how much your cruise will really cost when you include such extras as onshore excursions, alcoholic beverages, spa services, and tips and taxes. And with a cruise as long as the one you're planning, it's especially important to find out exactly what's included and what isn't.
To get more help on cruise ship budgeting, check out my video on the subject.