Whats Included In A Cruise
Cruise tickets generally include accommodation, meals, some drinks and entertainment. Youll pay extra for speciality dining, alcoholic drinks, gratuities, spa services, casino, wifi, flights, transfers and excursions.
Whats included in your cruise varies for each cruise line. Some cruise lines include gratuities in the ticket price. You may also get a drinks package included at no extra cost. Sometimes, cruises come with free onboard credit, which you can spend on the ship.
If you plan your cruise carefully, its perfectly possible to not spend anything extra on top of the price of your cruise ticket.
We Priced A Years Worth Of Cruises
With all of these expenses in mind, we dove into what it would cost to live on a cruise ship for an entire year.
Of course, when it comes to cruising for twelve months, you have an amazing number of options. From different cruise lines to routes, departure ports, ships, and even cabin types, there are a number of things that will have a big impact on what you spend.
Thats why we aimed to keep everything simple. To price what it costs to live aboard the ship, we took a look at sailings aboard the Carnival Horizon in 2021.
Carnival Horizon is a newer ship from the cruise line that sails six and eight-day itineraries year-round from Miami in 2021. That means you could sail the entire year without having to change ships and always coming back to a homeport in the United States.
The routes that the Horizon sails would take you all across the Caribbean, from Cozumel to Aruba, from San Juan to Grand Cayman. Because it is a bigger and newer ship in the Carnival fleet, youd also have tons of amenities and activities on board, as well as a many restaurant options including Guys Burger Joint.
As for the cabin, in our search we opted for a balcony cabin. Yes, you would be able to sail for cheaper in an oceanview or interior cabin, however, we assume that if you are aboard the ship for an extended period of time, having your own balcony is a must.
As well, we assume a couple is sailing with two people to the room.
- Cruise Line: Carnival
- Number of People: 2
How Much Are Drinks On A Cruise
Youll find drink prices about the same as whats offered in most average chain restaurants at home. Beer will be in the $6-7 range, Wine in the $8-11 range, and mixed drinks with regular spirits and simple cocktails within the range. Prices are in US dollars and typically have an automatic 15-20% gratuity added to the bill. They are not cheap, but they dont take advantage of their monopoly. There are the odd drink specials on featured cocktails or multiple beer purchases.
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Price Variety By Cruise Length
A longer cruise is, of course, more expensive than a short cruise. This however doesnt necessarily work on a proportional basis. On most cruise lines a 14 night cruise will be less than double the price of a 7 night cruise. It is considerably easier for the cruise line to keep the same guests onboard than to keep having to change guests.
The day where guests embark and disembark is called turn around day and this is often the busiest day for cruise line staff. The cruise ship will have to disembark thousands of passengers by around 10am and will start receiving new passengers at 12pm. Its amazing how it works really!
When Do Repositioning Cruises Travel
Repositioning cruises tend to be most active during the change in seasons:
As an example, lets take a look at transatlantic repositioning cruises to illustrate these seasonal cruise relocations. The Mediterranean Sea boasts pleasantly warm weather and is high season for travel in the summer. So cruise lines often move ships to the Mediterranean in the late Spring to serve the many passengers who desire taking a summer Mediterranean cruise.
Meanwhile, summer months are the Caribbeans hot and stormy summer offseason. So its only natural for cruise lines to move ships across the Atlantic Ocean by May, relocating them from ports serving the Caribbean to ports serving the Mediterranean and Europe.
The reverse occurs each Fall. Thats when many cruise ships are moved from Europe across the Atlantic to Florida, among other home ports serving the Caribbean, in time for the winter high-season months.
These transatlantic repositioning cruises form the most common repositioning cruise route. But there are many other repositioning cruise routes to consider.
Alaskan cruises cant sail in the winter. So those ships need to go elsewhere, of course! Europe-Asia repositioning cruises can provide for port-intensive journeys between the adjoining continents. Transiting from North to South America can be an interesting voyage that often includes a Panama Canal Cruise. There are many seasonal shifts in cruising that bring about repositioning cruises.
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Go For The Cabin Guarantee
If cabin location isn’t important, you might want to opt for a “cabin guarantee,” which basically means you’re assured to get a cabin in at least the category specified — and, if you’re lucky, even get an upgrade. However, you can’t choose your exact stateroom.
Many lines typically discount guaranteed cabin bookings about $50 to $100 per person off the advertised fares. However, if you’re prone to seasickness or sensitive to noise, you might want to reconsider the value of choosing your own cabin location so as to not end up near the elevators or riding the wave near the bow. Also, not all guarantee fares are eligible for booking perks, so ensure the value tradeoff is worth it before you commit.
If you’re willing to book in bulk, most cruise lines will offer free berths, depending on the number of passengers in the group. For instance, book seven or more double-occupancy cabins on Norwegian Cruise Line, and for every 10 passengers booked, one passenger can cruise for free. Each cruise line has its own threshold for groups some lines consider 10 guests/five cabins to be a group, while others require 16 guests/eight cabins.
Group leaders can choose to spread the savings across the group or keep it all for themselves. Groups can get other perks, as well. Norwegian offers group members a choice of complimentary amenities beyond its Free at Sea promotion, such as extra onboard credit or a cocktail party for the group.
Ship Internet Access And Wifi
Internet access onboard cruise ships has been a notorious sore spot for years. The good news is that cruise lines seem to be improving their connections all the time, with some boasting better speeds than on land. However, cruisers who want to share their experiences on social media or stay connected with family, friends, or work arent likely to find bargain deals on cruise ship WiFi.
This is partially due to the complexities that also plague airlines – the difficulty of maintaining a consistent connection while in transit, even crossing multiple national borders, remains a tough challenge for cruise lines.
Normally your choice of shipboard internet packages falls into two categories:
Flat daily rate: Basically, you pay for each day you want to connect to the Internet. These packages usually start at $8.99 per day and increase from there.
Metered: With this option, you pay either by the minute or by the megabyte. Either way, the cost can add up fast, so youll need to monitor your usage very closely.
Some cruise lines, like Norwegian Cruise Line, are also beginning to offer Internet packages specifically for social media. Their Freestyle Choice Plans distinguish between certain apps and websites to cater to cruise passengers needs.
Other cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, focus on providing the highest quality connection possible. VOOM, the Internet aboard Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise ships, is fast and consistent, but with a price tag to match.
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Where Youll Spend Money On Your Cruise
Head to any cruise website and youll see plenty of cheap headline prices. Cruises starting at a few hundred dollars for a week are common. At first glance, it seems like living on a cruise ship would be amazingly affordable.
After all, a cruise for $500 a week would cost only $26,000 to sail for a year. For many people, that would be cheaper than living on land!
But anyone who has been on a cruise knows those headline prices are just the start of what you pay. In fact, in our opinion, its a bit disingenuous of the cruise lines to advertise those prices. After all, what youll actually pay is much, much more.
Double Occupancy Cruise Fare: Apart from a few sailings that offer solo cabins, any headline price you find is actually only half of what you will pay for cruise fare. Thats because cabins are typically sold based on double occupancy, but prices are shown per person.
So for a fare thats $599, it will actually cost $1,198 based on double occupancy. Even if you are sailing solo , you will still have to pay this double charge.
In other words, whenever you see a cruise price, double it right away for what youll really pay in fare.
Port Fees & Taxes: We all expect to pay taxes on things that we buy. Its no different for a cruise. However, the taxes arent included in the headline cruise fare. As well, cruise fares will also have port fees tacked on. These are per-passenger fees paid to ports of call for the privilege of docking.
Make The Most Of Past Passenger Discounts
Like frequent fliers, frequent cruisers are able to benefit from brand loyalty. Sticking with one line means earning perks like nightly cocktails in private lounges, free laundry, complimentary dinners in alternative restaurants and even free cruises once you’ve earned enough “credits” — all things you’d typically have to pay for. Past passengers can also take advantage of special discounted sailings throughout the year, or be entitled to book new itineraries before the general public can.
Related:Cruise Line Loyalty Programs
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Top 10 Cheapest Cruises For 2020 Starting At Only $26 Per Day
Love cruising? We get it after our very first cruise we were completely hooked! Now that weve done some repositioning and trans-pacific cruises, we cant stop dreaming about our next sailing.
But lets be real sometimes cruise prices can add up to WAY more than our travel budget allows which is why were always searching for the cheapest cruises.
From last minute to repositioning cruises, weve found cruises for as low as $26 per day. That is INSANELY CHEAP for your cruise fare, food and cabin! Weve dug through all the top cruise comparison websites, along with using our own little secrets, and have found some amazing deals.
Cruise prices are in USD per person and INCLUDE taxes/port fees. At the beginning of each month we search the internet to bring you the absolute best cruise deals we can find. Cruise prices are constantly changing so we keep this list up to date as possible at all times.
Night Repositioning Cruise Frombarcelona To Tampa
$59 Per Day
$821 TOTAL Trip
Chase the Autumn Blues away by hopping on Caribbeans Rhapsody of the Seas. Its setting sail November 7th, 2020, and tickets are super affordable.
This repositioning cruise deal landed in our number 4 spot and is sure to impress. Enjoy 14 days of gorgeous cruising all the way from Tarragona to Tampa.
The itinerary has port stops in: the Canary Islands and the Bahamas. This ship holds up to 2400 guests and was recently renovated in 2016. Definitely a bucket list cruise at a truly affordable price.
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The Value Of A World Cruise
Some world cruises take you to a dozen countries, which is impressive if youre trying to rack up passport stamps. What would it cost if you independently visited six of these countries, including booking airfare to all of those destinations? Say you live in or near Los Angeles and you plan to visit the countries on the Princess Cruises itinerary mentioned above. This means buying plane tickets to two U.S. states and 24 countries. As airfare costs fluctuate greatly, lets say each ticket to a destination is $500 one-way. Youve just spent $13,000 on airfare. This makes the $18,449 world-cruise fare suddenly more affordable, right? And this is before factoring in lodging or food.
Night Repositioning Cruise Fromsavona To Pointe
$26 Per Day
$516 TOTAL Trip
Topping our list in the number one spot is the cheapest cruise in the world! Costa is known for being budget friendly, but this price is outta this world! For only $26 per day you could be sailing for 20 days from Savona to Pointe-a-Pitre on the Costa Magica.
Departing on December 6th, 2020 the ship will set sail with stops in: France, Spain, The Canary Islands, Martinique, Domincian Republic and St. Maarten.
The ship was refurbuished in 2017 and can hold up to 2600 passengers. On board amenities include 4 pools, 5 jacuzzis, casino, gym and spa.
We hope this list of the Cheapest Cruises in 2020 gives you some great ideas for your next vacation! Like we mentioned above, this list changes as ships get sold-out. We will be updating it frequently, so check back often!
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Is It Cheaper To Go On A Cruise Or An All Inclusive Resort
A cruise will be comparable in price to a higher than average priced Caribbean or Mexican all inclusive resort package. By the time you compare drink included fares or packages and gratuities, average all inclusives to Cuba and Dominican Republic will cost less. If you dont drink alcohol, you will find lead in cruise prices, flights, gratuities comparable to even average all inclusive resorts. You will get far more entertainment on a cruise, and on balance, better food. It is also a great choice for children and in particular teens because there are more kids their own age on a cruise, more freedom, and more organized activities.
Price Variety By Itinerary
There are three types of Caribbean cruises:
Generally speaking Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises are cheaper than Southern. Youll find many luxury cruise lines in the southern Caribbean. The most popular way to visit the Caribbean is on a cruise from the USA. It is also possible to do a transatlantic from Europe which heads straight to the Caribbean.
We talk more about the difference between Caribbean cruise itineraries in my cruise course, How to Cruise For Less. To find out more about how to cruise well on a budget, including how to save 60% off advertised cruise prices, check out this post: How to Cruise For Less.
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Which Cruise Line Is Most Affordable
It depends on where you are travelling and when. Within the mass market lines that comprise 90% of the bookings by Canadians, it will vary and this is the beauty of the tripcentral.ca grid we find you the lowest price or best value for all the major lines. Sometimes its Royal Caribbean, sometimes Celebrity, sometimes Carnival, Norwegian, Princess or Holland America. MSC and Costa are often the most affordable in Europe.
Whats It Cost: How Cheap Are Repositioning Cruise Deals Really
Repositioning cruise deals can vary greatly in cost, based on purchasing trends, timing of the purchase, the popularity of the ship, and the appeal of the exact itinerary.
That said, a decent deal for a two-week oceanic crossing can range from around $400-$800 per person. That breaks down to about $30-$60 per person, per night! Personally, we try to shoot for repositioning cruise prices under $50 per person, per night. Sometimes well go above that threshold that for a great itinerary or if extra perks are included.
During each Spring and Fall season, we regularly see cheap repositioning cruise deals for about $500, or even less, on all the common routes. For those who are ultra-price-sensitive, a nightly rates of $40 or less per person is an achievable repositioning cruise deal to aim for.
But repositioning cruises are regularly priced higher than those aforementioned deals. Factors such as great itineraries and sought-after ships will certainly help to drive up the prices for repositioning cruises. Purchasing trends also affect pricing. Its not uncommon to see repositioning cruises listed for over $1,000 and much higher.
Yet supply and demand for each particular voyage can help drop repositioning cruise prices very low. So how low can they go?
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Gratuities Just When You Thought It Was Over Theres More
Carnival adds gratuities on your statement on the last night of the cruise. They used to charge $11.50 per person per day. This which totaled $115.00 for us. We did pay this in advance of our cruise. That way we didnt have to worry about it while we were cruising.
Carnival has since raised its gratuity prices to $13.99 to $15.99 per person per day.
You dont have to pay the gratuities if you dont want to, but the crew does rely on them as a large part of their compensation.
If you had any problems with your service or dont feel you should have to pay that much, you can go to guest services. Then, you can request that they reduce the gratuity amount on the last day of your cruise. We had outstanding service so we didnt adjust our gratuity payments at all.