How Much Should I Budget For A Cruise
Like everything in life, money makes the world go ’round, and making sure you have enough money allocated for a cruise vacation is a responsible concern.
Luckily, cruise vacations are quite affordable and Royal Caribbean offers a variety of options at different prices that I think make it economical for most families.
To help anyone budget for their cruise, I have a breakdown of what to expect in terms of overall costs. Keep in mind that cruises are global, and I cannot possibly account for every scenario, budget and cost. After all, the cost of a cruise can vary greatly depending on the destination, ship and duration.
To help give everyone a ballpark idea of what to expect, I have a look at the add-ons and typical costs that come with a cruise, along with tips for keeping those costs low.
Flights And Transportation To & From The Cruise Ship
Even if you live in the port city from which youll depart , youll still have transportation costs associated with getting yourself to the gangway. More likely, youll need to factor in the cost of flights, airport transfers, hotels, and/or parking. Some cruise lines may offer additional transfer packages at the time of booking , but these prices are also adjusted to include overhead for the additional manpower needed to coordinate travel. They can certainly save you a headache, but if your budget is your main concern, spending a few extra hours checking airfare, transfers, and hotels can save a lot of money.
How much does transportation usually cost?
Not to sound like a broken record, but it ultimately depends greatly on your departure dates, how far in advance youre able to book transportation and lodging, and where your cruise departs. Generally speaking, plan to spend around $500 per person for flights, with transfer costs averaging anywhere between $20 and $100 per person.
What Is The Average Fare Pricing
Of course, when researching cruises, the initial question is what is the average price of a cruise. How much does a cruise actually cost? According to Cruise Market Watchs 2018 report, the average price of a cruise per passenger each day is $212.80 total. The base fare is a $161.26 ticket price, with an average of $62.12 on board spending. This is not a bad price, considering that the average hotel price alone is $133.
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Puerto Vallarta Mexico: $2909
A resort town on Mexicos Pacific coast, Puerto Vallarta is renowned for its nightlife scene, beaches, water sports, and quaint cobblestone center. Attractions include Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Church and sculptures showcasing the areas beauty and history.
Save money on souvenirs by shopping at local flea markets. You can also enjoy an authentic experience by looking for free things to do. Chances are your all inclusive resort package includes activities such as snorkeling, Hobie cat rides, beach volleyball, and more. If youre aching to explore off property, hiking the areas beautiful jungles costs nothing and is a wonderful way to take in the local flora and fauna.
One Note About Cruising In 2022
Of course the world has changed since the health crisis. Nowhere is that more the case than with cruising. The entire industry was shut down for almost all of 2020 and slowly made its return in 2021.
But there have been big changes to cruise lines. Of course, health and safety measures have been introduced, but there are bigger changes that could impact the cost of a cruise.
Longer-Term PricingDuring the stop, the major cruise companies took on massive amounts of debt to survive. Now as cruising resumes, expect them to be focused on improving their balance sheets. That could involve higher pricing, if the market allows. Cruise lines have said repeatedly that demand is strong in later parts of 2022 and onboard spending is at considerably higher levels than before the pause.
As well, several cruise lines sold off a number older, smaller ships. In general, older ships offer lower pricing. Along with the removal of older ships, this also reduces the capacity of cabins available. If demand returns, that could mean higher cruise prices in the future.
Short-Term PricingFor early 2022, however, there are signs of slower demand for travel as the world continues to battle the health crisis. Thats why if youre able to sail in the first few months of the year, were seeing some very attractive prices. If you are fully vaccinated, the first part of 2022 seems to be an affordable time to sail.
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Is A Disney Cruise Worth It
Most folks that go on a Disney cruise consider it to be a fantastic vacation and a wonderful experience. Disney goes out of its way to keep people happy and comfortable with their accommodations and offers things no other cruise line does.
Combining this cruise experience with the plethora of other Disney options, such as the theme parks and hotels in Orlando, means that you can have a Disney experience that traverses both land and sea.
However, its worth noting that Disney cruises dont offer as many options as other cruises regarding the itinerary.
As a smaller cruise line, Disney is only able to offer so much on its four ships. Meanwhile, more prominent names in the cruise industry, such as Royal Caribbean, can offer a broader range of ship and port activities.
Disney cruises can also be a little more expensive than what other cruise lines offer. With a Disney cruise, youre paying for not just the cruise experience but a Disney experience. If you want to partake in a cruise but dont care much about the Disney character cast, another cruise line might be best for you.
Average Total Cost Of A Cruise In 2022
So with all these different things to spend money on, how much does it cost to take a cruise?
As we mentioned above, the cost of your specific cruise will vary. Those who want an interior cabin will spend less than those sailing a suite. And people who can sail during the spring or fall will save hundreds versus sailing in the summer.
But we have some estimates below to give you an idea of the cost of taking a cruise.
Cruise Fare Obviously its impossible to give you a specific cost of your cruise fare. There are so many different factors that go into what youll pay, including:
- Cruise line
- Cabin type
- Trip length
That means the price you pay will see a wide range. Sailings can be less than $100 per person, per day, into several hundreds of dollars each day.
That said, we can get a good idea of what youll spend. All the major cruise lines are public companies that publish annual figures for their revenue and passenger statistics.
From these public reports, we know that the average cost of cruise fare runs from about $150-220 per person, per day .
For example, in 2019 , Carnival Corporation which owns several different lines including Carnival, Princess, Cunard, and others took in $14.1 billion in ticket revenue, and sailed 93.4 million passenger days. That comes out to $151 per person, per day.
Royal Caribbean Group was slightly higher , and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. came in at the top of our list .
Port Fees and Taxes
So how much will you pay?
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Wedding In Paradise Package At Dreams Playa Mujeres
Caribbean Destination Wedding package includes:
- Symbolic Ceremony*
- Wedding organization and personal touch of on-site wedding coordinator
- Preparation and ironing of couples wedding day attire
- Complimentary room for one member of the wedding couple the night before the wedding
- Bouquet and/or boutonniere for the wedding couple
- Wedding cake
- Sparkling wine toast
- Special turn-down service the night of the wedding
- 15% discount on all spa treatments
- Newlywed Package
- Late check-out for the couple
- Free Anniversary Nights when staying a minimum of 5 nights over their first anniversary return-stay, the couple will receive 2 additional nights free OR if Stay 4 nights, receive 1 additional night free
This package is free if you book at least 7 nights in a preferred club junior suite ocean view or higher or if you book 5 rooms in any category for 3 nights or more.
If you do not qualify for free, the package costs $999.
*Symbolic means the ceremony is not legal. Most of the weddings we do in Cancun and Punta Cana are symbolic. On English speaking islands like Jamaica, St Lucia, Bahamas, Antigua and Grenada, most weddings are legal ceremonies.
Where Youll Spend Money On A Cruise
Think that the cost of a cruise is simply the fare that you pay to get on the ship? While that makes up the lions share of your spending, theres a lot more that goes into the cost of your vacation.
Cruise FareOf course, when most people think of the cost of a cruise, they are thinking mainly of the price of the cruise fare. This fare is what the cruise line charges for you to sail on the ship. Cruise fare includes your cabin, meals, entertainment on the ship, access to pools, lounges, and more.
What it doesnt include are the extras like alcoholic drinks, specialty restaurants, shore excursions, gambling and other things bought on board.
What you pay for your fare can vary widely. Factors that go into the price include the type of cabin you choose, length of cruise, when you sail, and even the ship and cruise line you sail.
Short cruises on budget cruise lines can run as little as a few hundred dollars, while long luxury trips can run well into the thousands of dollars per person.
Onboard SpendingThink youre done spending money after you buy your cruise fare? Think again. Once on the ship there are lots of extras that you will likely want to purchase that add to the cost of your cruise.
Onboard spending casts a wide net. It includes everything from money spent gambling in the casino to alcohol, specialty restaurants, cruise line shore excursions, and even the souvenirs you buy in the gift shop.
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Kids Fares By Cruise Line
This is how much each cruise line charges for kids:
- Carnival Full adult price
- Celebrity Cruises Full adult price
- Costa Cruises Children under 18 pay only port fees and service fees
- Cunard Full adult price
- Disney Cruise Line Child rate for ages 3 to 12
- MSC Cruises Children under 18 cruise FREE when booking in the USA and from £119 when booking in the UK
- Norwegian Cruise Line Full adult price except when the Free At Sea promotion is on when kids cruise free
- P& O Cruises Full adult price in the school holidays and £99 per week in term-time
- Princess Cruises Full adult price
- Royal Caribbean Full adult price except when the Kids Sail Free promotion is on
The price for children under two years old also varies and can be anywhere from free to the full adult fare.
Some Factors Affecting7 Day Cruise Cost
First off, we must note that certain factors will affect the cost of your Caribbean cruise package: 1. The Caribbean cruise line you choose – Carnival Cruise Line generally offers the least expensive 7-day cruise packages to the Caribbean. 2. The time of year you travel – Your 7 day cruise cost will be somewhat less if you travel during certain seasons, such as fall and winter and will always cost more during the summer and around any holiday. 3. The type of cabin you choose – An inside cabin will cost less than an oceanview or balcony cabin, and much less than a suite. Additionally, an inside cabin for 2 with a pair of bunk beds, will cost less than any other inside cabin. 4. The number of people in your family – Your 7 day cruise will cost more if there are 4 members in your family sharing 2 cabins than if all 4 members share the same cabin.
Yes, I understand that age matters. If the members of your family are of certain ages, it may be tough to have everyone in one cabin.
However, aim to keep family members in one cabin to minimize your 7 day cruise cost.
Note: Caribbean cruise liners have a minimum number of cabins that hold 4 or 5 people. Therefore, if your family numbers more than 3 you should plan to book early to ensure that you grab one of the available cabins for your 7 day cruise ship vacation.
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Expect To Pay Extra For Some Activities And Specialty Restaurants
Teppanyaki on Norwegian Dawn –
Visiting the spa or taking classes in the gym on a cruise ship will cost you. On some lines, aerobics classes and other sea day activities come with small additional fees. The cost of specialty restaurants and the myriad of options has also increased dramatically in the last decade.
Estimated Cost: $50 – $150 per person
Factor In The Cost Of Flights And Fees
Be sure to arrive well before your cruise sets sail. –
Add in the cost of flights. Sometimes port taxes are included in the advertised fares, and sometimes theyre not if theyre not, expect to pay about $100 to $200 per person, depending on the destination and length of the cruise. Government fees and taxes are rarely included in the list rate and can be an additional several hundred dollars per person.
Estimated Cost: $150 – $500 per person
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Souvenir Shopping Onboard And In Port
What You’ll Pay: Most people purchase something to remember their cruise, and it can be tough to pass on the beautiful — and expensive — figurines, perfumes, designer fashions and leather goods if your budget doesn’t allow for them. Even tacky trinkets and T-shirts can add up if you’re buying for your extended family-and-friend network. Prices can range from a $5 tee to a piece of jewelry valued in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Savings Tip: Avoid temptation by not browsing in the boutiques onboard and ashore if you cannot afford to buy. Typically, bargain tables appear on ships toward the end of a cruise, so wait for the latter portion to buy onboard if you’re so inclined.
If you do plan to purchase jewelry, clothing or duty-free liquor onboard, check the prices of merchandise at stores back home, and bring a list so you can compare prices.
Don’t invest in a piece of art at an onboard auction unless you’ve done your research in advance and know the value of what you’re purchasing.
In port, good, inexpensive souvenirs include handicrafts from outdoor markets and street vendors, and local products such as coffee, jellies and candy purchased at grocery stores in port, where souvenirs are generally less expensive. Many souvenir stores carry the same products, so compare prices before buying.
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Onboard Drinks Food And Entertainment
My parents helped subsidize our costs in this spending category. They had bought us a first cruise gift package. The package included 4 drink tickets worth $5.75 each and a photo voucher worth $15, along with other gifts.
In addition to the $23 in drink vouchers, we spent an additional $12.08 on drinks. We considered ourselves lucky compared to many of the people on the ship who constantly drank.
Drinks cost about $7 to $11 per drink. Additionally, there is a mandatory 15% gratuity charged on top of the advertised drink prices.
On the first day of the cruise, my girlfriend won an $89 off certificate to the spa on the cruise ship.
She had always wanted a massage so she splurged for a hot stone massage that ended up costing $65 after the discount. This is probably similar to what wed pay locally for a massage so it wasnt a horrible deal.
We ordered room service for breakfast a few times. It is customary to tip the room service waiters, too. We ended up spending $8 on room service tips.
There was a casino onboard the cruise ship! I had always wanted to try playing blackjack but it was $6 a hand. I did decide to play three separate times. The first time I won $6 and the second time I won $16. Sadly, I lost the $30 I brought the third time I played.
Overall I lost $8 playing blackjack for a couple of hours but I had a lot of fun. That isnt too bad for entertainment dollars per hour. It could have been a lot worse though.
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Punta Cana Dominican Republic: $3317
A widely popular beach vacation destination, Punta Cana is an excellent place to soak in the tropical sun and island vibes. If youre on a budget or just looking to save money, your best option is to visit from June through November. While this is hurricane season, you can take advantage of cheaper rates on hotels.
Avoid burning a hole in your wallet with beach time at one of Punta Canas gorgeous beaches such as Macao, Bavaro, or Arena Gorda. You can also find package deals on excursions. Instead of paying full price for multiple activities, see if theres a bundle that allows you to participate in all of them for one cost.
How Much Does An All
This is one of the questions I get most often. The truth is, there is no simple answer. Its kind of like asking how much does a steak cost? Well, thats going to depend on a lot of factors such as the cut of meat, where you live, how big the steak is, if youre buying it at the grocery store, if youre getting it at Dennys or if youre getting it at a fancy steakhouse.
Vacations are no different. Do you want a chuck eye or a filet mignon? Do you want Dennys service or upscale steakhouse service? A 4 oz petite filet or the Old96er? And if youre a vegan, then good newsthe steak analogy portion of the blog has ended.
Here are some things that will affect the price of your all-inclusive vacation in Mexico or the Caribbean:
WHERE are you going?
Some destinations are less expensive than others. Your flight could range anywhere from $200-1000 depending on where you live and where youre going.
WHEN are you going?
Are you staying 3 nights or 7 nights? Do you need to travel during festive season? Then be prepared to pay up to 3x more than you would if you traveled just a couple weeks earlier in the year. Spring break is also more expensive due to increased demand. Winter is the high season, so you can expect higher rates than in the Fall.
WHO is going?
WHAT kind of experience do you want?
WHY are you traveling?
Wondering which destinations are more budget-friendly and which are splurge-worthy? I break it all down in my free destination guide.
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