Cheap and enjoyable honeymoon ideas?

Only Mostly Missus and I will soon be wed, and despite what we will have (a nice ceremony), we won’t have much of a honeymoon unless somebody else gifts it to us. We’re young and poor.

What we want: A cruise. Ideally about a week in length, with a decent number of ports.

Problem with it: Money. To get a decent cruise (a) out of Baltimore (with Royal Caribbean) or (b) out of another port with airfare, we’re probably looking at nearly $4000 all told. AKA the equivalent of four months rent. Ridiculous. We don’t want to start our marriage with a giant debt from a week of fun.

More realistically would be the boring Niagara cliche, winery tour, basically something within driving distance. Cheaper, and not nearly as fun. I’m already foregoing a vacation this summer (taking a week off work to move into a new apartment), and I want a good one next summer for the honeymoon.

So now that I’ve whined a bit, the reason it’s in IMHO:

What are good, cheap ideas? We want something with a little action and change of scenery from the normal. Just about anything is on the table, so long as two young geeks in the Doper mold could fit in.

To help: We live in the DC area. So local is DC itself, Baltimore, Philly, VA. Plenty of airport and train options out of DC and Baltimore. $2000 would be our desired upper limit, but we’d like to go lower. I’ll be 24, she’ll be 22, and we want entertainment that doesn’t require much searching to find (hence something like a cruise, with an excursion list).

It’s in poor taste, but also any ideas on how can we solicit the big ticket giftgivers (i.e. grandparents) without being jerks?

Perhaps you could just treat yourselves to several days’ self-indulgence in one of the top hotels around about the district.

Forgot one of the most important details: We’re marrying at the end of next June. So anything we take will be in prime vacation price-gouging season, since she can’t wait until the fall or winter when she’s starting her first year of teaching.

Well, we went to Hershey, PA. Stayed in the nicest hotel, had valet service, ate at their nicest restaurant with expensive wine - and blew $500 in the spa - total about $2000 for five days.

I loved it - we also went in an off-season, so we basically had the place to ourselves, which was awesome. The hotel is very romantic (even if the rooms are a bit small) and the spa was heavenly. We took a day trip to Lancaster, but spent most of our time just hanging out in the hotel, which we thoroughly enjoyed (especially since we destressed from our way-too-big wedding).

We’re going to Disney for a week in November for what we’re calling our “Long honeymoon” - it’s a year later, but we called the Hershey-moon our ‘starter honeymoon’:). You can always go on a smaller honeymoon now, and take a bigger one later when you’ve got a little bit more money.

And congrats on the marriage!


What about heading south for a few days? The islands off of Georgia are beautiful and things are reasonably priced. Villa by the Sea offers a honeymoon package [two days/two nights, probably extendable] for around $500 –

There’s LOTS to do. Dolphins to see, the big endangered loggerhead turtles are there, Villa by the Sea is close to Driftwood Beach, which is breathtaking at sunset. You’re really close to Cumberland Island, which is where the wild horses are. Lots of shopping on Jekyll. Mrs. chatelaine and myself are taking off to Jekyll for a late anniversary trip in a few months.

Whatever you pick, congratulations on the upcoming wedding!

How hard have you looked at cruising? We took a week-long cruise for our June honeymoon four years ago (departed June 17) and it didn’t cost nearly $4000, including airfare, ground transportation, and a hotel room we didn’t get to stay in the the night before. However, we did take an older Carnival ship (~8 years old at the time) and didn’t care about our stateroom category. We loved it so much we’re going this fall on a 7-day Western Caribbean with Royal Caribbean.
Check out and their message boards for tips and tricks on getting good rates and things.

One tip for cruises I learned a few years back, was to book for a ship’s maiden voyage. They’re almost never ready on time and who knows what kind of discount or other goodies you might get. That might be more risky than you’d like. Darned if I can remember the name of the author of that cheap travel tip book, but it’s out there, I’m sure.

How long a winter break does your future wife get? We get two weeks here and that’s time to do some traveling off season, to boot.

Hershey Penn. is really nice and you might get in some quilt or furniture/antique shopping, if that’s your thing. Or something up in canada maybe? Can you rent a boat and make your own cruise?

I just checked the Royal Caribbean website. They’re only running two cruises out of Baltimore in June 2006, a 5-night and a 9-night. I would recommend the longer cruise. It starts at $1150 PP (not including port taxes and fees) for an inside room and goes up to $1950 for a deluxe / suite stateroom. Can you leave out of Philly? They’ve got 7-night oceanviews for $850 PP.

These are all rack rates - you might be able to find something better. My MIL has booked both of our cruises, so I don’t know how to go about it, honestly!

You are 24 and she is 22… A wonderful time of life. I am glad you have found “the right woman” so early, and hope you have a long and happy life together.

What is your idea of a fun vacation/honeymoon (and do you share the same idea on the subject)? You mentioned a cruise, which from what I’ve gathered from my parents’ accounts (they go on these all the time lately) amounts to a lot of time eating and louging on the open sea, punctuated by occasional ports, getting out for a couple of hours of guided touring, then going back onto the boat. The ship is the focus of the vacation, where all sorts of services are provided in addition to reasonably good food and entertainment. Also, you will likely be travelling with a lot of retirees and a smaller set of honeymooning couples, with not much in between in age groups.

In your position I would be more adventurous. I admit that this is partly a bit of looking-back-and-wishing-I-still-could type of sentiment speaking now, being as I am 34 and married with kids, but: go out and travel, I mean really travel first hand, not as part of a tour group or cruise trip. Take two interesting end points (Rome, Florence and Venice, or Paris and Marseilles, etc.) and plan a route of your own. Use youth hostels if you have to. Don’t focus so much on the accomodations as the living experience of seeing new things and places, and seeing it together. And value the quality of time spent in these places over quantity of places seen – really feel like you’ve “been” somplace, as opposed to having “seen” it.

Nor does this have to be a trip abroad. One trip I’ll never forget was with my parents, when we flew out to Arizona to see some relatives, then the Grand Canyon, then drove around the West through various states ending at Yellowstone National Park. Amazing how different in so many ways the country is out there.

Yeah, RC is the only one leaving out of Baltimore, and it’s the 5-night to Bermuda (one port and back, eh), and the 9-night Western Caribbean (which we’d love). From my parents: an inside room is not the way to go, especially if you want to really love your first cruise. $1599 PP for the window Oceanview (we don’t really care about a balcony), and the rates are between $1250 and $2300 PP (end of June, not the beginning, which has the prices you quoted). So, no excursions or taxes/fees: $3200 for the both of us.

Something along the lines of chatelaine’s link (and Elza B’s Hershey trip) sounds quite promising. I had given thought to the idea of a “starter honeymoon” followed by something we’d really want a year or two later, once we could save up and have (slightly) higher salaries, and am certainly not ruling it out.

A train trip, perhaps? Montreal perhaps?

Congrats from the left coast.

How far are you willing to travel? Do you enjoy finding your own stuff to do?

The Kangaroo_in_Black and I went to Maine this year for our anniversary. Our anniversary is at the end of June as well, so I know about the “peak of travel time” woes.

We stayed at Coveside Bed and Breakfast, and it was quite lovely. There’s more to do in the area than I realized, but you kind of have to go looking for it. As for cheap, they offer a five night stay, one dinner at a “five-star” restaurant (we didn’t eat here, it’s supposedly five star cuisine with Maine attire, whatever that means) as well as a few other goodies for $750. This may be out of your price range, but it’s a thought. We really enjoyed our stay, the only catch was that we were by far the youngest people staying there, and some of the other quests didn’t know what to make of us. (Oh, and it was a bit buggy. I got many skeeter bites, but there may be a non-nasty repellent out there.)

We live in the DC area also, so this is what we did. It may totally not be your thing, but there are beaches, shopping, peace and quiet, at least one museum (The Maine Maritime Museum), and others.

It’s a thought. Congratulations on your marriage. May it be long and amazingly happy.

I heartly recommend this. We had the “dream” honeymoon, two weeks in England. It was a nightmare. In large part because we both got dreadfully ill due to the let down in stress. I spent two hours or so just sleeping on a bench in the British Museum. Other couples I know who had a major honeymoon right after the wedding seem to have had similar issues. Everyone I know who took it slow at first has really fond memories, and no memories of basically being a vagrant. :wink:

I’ll admit, I was somewhat pissed at the idea of going to Hershey (I wanted to go to Mexico), but as we had less vacation time than we would have liked, we went to Hershey, which was halfway in between where we lived, and where our wedding was in my hometown.

We really appreciated the chance to go slow for the few days after the wedding - you are SO keyed up and SO emotional for those few days that having a couple of days to relax with no expectations is heaven. So I recommend it, I really do.

By the way, BlueKangaroo, that B&B in Maine sounds lovely. I’ll have to add that to the list of places we’d like to visit for anniversaries and just small trips by ourselves.


Yay! I’m glad you thought it looked nice Elza B. It really, really is. We stayed in two different rooms, and really liked them both.

And Carolyn’s oatmeal cookies are the best ever.

I’m glad you decided you’d made the right decision with Hershey. I remember you wanting a bigger honeymoon.

Congrats on your upcoming wedding.

Trupa and I did the Royal Caribbean weeklong cruise on the West Coast, Vancouver to Los Angeles, right after our wedding back in 1995. Inside cabin was not a bad thing for a couple of honeymooners :wink: , and we had a wonderful time. There were a group of people our age on that ship whom we were seated with for dinner, so even though most people were significantly older than us we did not feel out of place. bored, etc. I keep dreaming about a Mediterranean cruise when trusquirt is old enough to travel with us, maybe in another 5 to 7 years …

Many people I know have done the delayed honeymoon, and really enjoyed it, so if you have your heart set on that cruise and don’t want to go into debt over it, then you may want to schedule your “honeymoon” trip out of peak season and when you can save up for it.

Going to see (by whatever means) one or two cities in more detail and at a more leisurely pace may suit you both (and your budget) better than a cruise, at this point.

I’d second the Montreal suggestion. Basically, going to Montreal is like going to Europe, except cheaper.

You could go to the Smoky Mountains. There’s loads to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, you can gamble over in Cherokee, and if you want to hike you can do it in one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on Earth.

Why not just stay home, lock the door, and have sex like rabid weasels for a few days?

  1. We can and will do that anyway.
  2. Eventually, people expect pictures, and we’re just not into that kind of pictures.