Don’t Bet On Seven Days
It is possible to snag a good deal on a weeklong cruise, but in most cases, you’ll find that short cruises are the bigger money savers.
Bear in mind: These cruises tend to have more of a party atmosphere because they attract a younger crowd and lots of bachelor/bachelorette and other celebratory groups.
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Carnival Cruise Line Best Budget
If youre looking for an affordable cruise that still meets the tightest cruise industry standards, Carnival Cruise Line is the way. They set themselves apart with their myriad cruise deals, which offer discounts on prices that are pretty low already. Whether youre looking for short cruises or longer voyages, by booking in advance you can often save 30% or even more.
Additionally, you wont pay anything extra for onboard activities. Some other additional things like beverages, however, arent covered. Then again, thats the case with most other cruise lines, too.
How Much Cruise Lines Profit
All told, these costs eat into revenue, but there is still a healthy profit. How much so? Of the $1,560 in revenue generated from each passenger, 19.1% $298 ends up as profit. Below, weve broken down all the expenses the cruise line sees on the average fare per passenger :
As you can see, a healthy small portion of the money taken in by Royal Caribbean goes down to the bottom line. All told, last year saw a profit of $1.815 billion or $4.96 million per day before adjustments.
If youre a shareholder, thats great. The company has raised its dividend from $1.10 per share to $2.60 per share during the last five years.
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Not Buying A Drinks Package
If youre a big drinker, by contrast, a drinks package can be a money saver again, depending on what type of drink you prefer. Drinks packages can make sense for wine drinkers, in particular, as the cost of wine by the glass on cruise ships often is high. To continue with the Carnival comparison: Wines by the glass on the lines ships range from around $8 to $14. At the higher end of that spectrum, youd have to order just five glasses a day for the package to start paying off.
Note that, in addition to alcoholic drinks, passengers purchasing a drinks package typically also have access to an unlimited number of nonalcoholic beverages such as specialty coffees and sodas that normally come with an extra charge. The packages thus can be a good value to vacationers who are fond of ordering a high number of lattes, Cokes and other nonalcoholic beverages during the day in addition to alcoholic drinks.
To use the Carnival example again, someone who orders two or three lattes in the morning, several sodas during the day and three or four glasses of premium wine in the evening would come out ahead by buying a drinks package.
Pro tip: Some lines will offer discounts on their drinks packages in advance of sailing. Royal Caribbean, for instance, is known for doing this. At Royal Caribbean, the deals will appear in the My Cruises section of the lines website .
Medium Ship Line #: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
As far as all-inclusive cruises go, Regent Seven Seas is the real deal. Everything from specialty excursions to meals and alcohol to airfare is included in the rates. Even the mini-bar is free! The only things youll have to pay for are spa treatments, laundry, and the casino. The cruise lines five ships each carry 750 passengers or fewer, but the ships are actually quite large, offering each guest plenty of personal space, especially in their cabins. Regent Seven Seas specializes in round-the-world itineraries.
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How To Choose A Cruise Line
We recommend that you first ground yourself with our easy trip planning tips, Trip Planning: Steps to Choose the Best Vacation, which lists questions youll want to answer before deciding on a cruise line. Answering key questions like, Who will be traveling with me?, and When can I take my trip, and for how long? can significantly narrow down your choices and point you in the right directionwhether youre researching online cruise reviews or chatting with a travel agent.
Disney Dream Disney Cruise Line
The number one favorite cruise ship in the world is the Disney Dream of the Disney Cruise line. Its the largest ship n the line and has undergone updates to make it one of the most technologically modern cruise ships on the seas. Its created with families in mind and it provides children with the vacation of a lifetime, especially appealing now to the teenage group and younger, providing specialized gathering places, gaming consoles and a variety of activities and entertainment for people of all ages.
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Large Ship Line #: Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity Cruises currently sails around the world with a fleet of 14 ships, ranging in size from its petite Xpedition-class vessels, which carry 16 to 100 passengers, to its large 2,800- to 3,100-passenger Solstice class and 2,900-passenger Edge class, which debuted in late 2018 with Celebrity Edge, an edgy ship designed to appeal to a non-cruising clientele with innovations like Eden, a three-story hybrid experiential restaurant, craft cocktail lounge, and performance venue and Le Petit Chef at Le Grand Bistro, a dinner restaurant that features a 4D animation projected on your plate throughout the course of your meal. Celebrity Edge will be joined by three sister ships in the next five years, starting with Celebrity Apex as soon as this year.
What Is The Best Cruise Line For Your Money
Ocean cruises are one of the best ways to explore multiple Caribbean islands or the Pacific Northwest without the hassles of booking numerous flights, hotel rooms and rental cars. With so many cruise lines to choose from, finding the best cruise for your money can be challenging.
People stand in line as they prepare to board the Celebrity Edge cruise ship in Fort Lauderdale, … Florida, on June 26, 2021. – Celebrity Edge is the first major cruise ship to restart operations from a US port since the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown cruise travel.
Royal Caribbean is the best overall value for many itineraries. Their fares are competitively priced and are some of the cheapest fares starting as low as $225 per night.
Booking a cheap cruise doesnt mean youre automatically going to have a no-frills voyage or be on a party boat where the celebration never ends, even when youre trying to rest. This cruise line has a reputation for having a good mixture of solo travelers, families and retirees. There are also many on-ship amenities for entertainment, relaxation and dining.
Families are more likely to find childrens programs without the steep cost of a Disney cruise. While the experience isnt the same, children and parents will likely still have a great time. Booking a suite can also be a good option if you have a bigger travel budget but dont want to splurge for a luxury liner.
Norwegian Cruise Line
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Holland America Kids Sail Free
For over 400 port services, Holland Amerca is one of the best cruise lines for families with children. All fleets offer kids clubs and family-friendly theatre shows. The cruise line offers occasionally third and fourth passengers travel for free.
Holland America Line offers kids sail free as a part of Whos in Your Crew? promotion for 2019 and 2020 cruises. The promotion includes Alaska, Europe or Canada & New England cruise, or select Alaska Land+Sea Journey.
- The promotion is based on sharing a stateroom with 1st & 2nd guests. Kids/Extra guests offer applicable to aged 17 and under.
Buying The Soda Package
Unless youre the type of person who drinks a soda every few hours, these packages dont always make sense. Often, people buy them for their kids, who love the freedom of having access to soda all day long. But be sure to think through the drink-cost math before committing to one of the packages. At Royal Caribbean, for instance, you can get a soda a la carte for around $3, while a soda package runs $12.99 per person, per day. That means the package doesnt really start paying off until you hit an average of five sodas a day. If that doesnt seem too out-of-the-question to you, remember that on some days you will be off the ship for extended periods touring.
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Reasons You Should Splurge For A Suite On Your Next Cruise
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Anyone who has priced out a suite on a cruise ship knows theyre not inexpensive.
As The Points Guy showed in a family cruise lines pricing comparison, youll often pay at least 50% more for a suite on a cruise vessel than for a standard cabin. Sometimes the premium can be much higher.
At $11,000 a night, the top suite on luxury line Regent Seven Seas Cruisesnew Seven Seas Splendor, for instance, is more than five times the cost of a standard cabin on the vessel.
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Still, its not just high pricing that sets suites on cruise ships apart. Cruise ship suites also are typically a lot bigger than standard cabins on cruise vessels, have better locations and come with a long list of extra perks that you wont get with a regular cabin.
The perks often include lots of complimentary things for which youd normally pay extra on a ship such as Wi-Fi access and dinners in top shipboard restaurants.
Should I Use A Travel Agent To Book A Cruise
We just spent some time answering this, but the real answer is that you should use a travel agent for booking much more than just cruises! We mentioned that if you have pre or post cruise plans, an agent can help with your hotel, car, and other reservations – but it turns out some people take trips that aren’t cruises! Who knew? Keep this in mind, as whether it’s business travel or a land vacation, it really can be a relief. Personally, we’ve booked hotels and other arrangements for entire department meetings using our cruise travel agent, and looked like the hero when we just said, “don’t worry everyone, I’ll handle it all.”
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Discover The Best Cruise Ships
There are so many reasons to get excited about a Royal Caribbean® cruise. Choose from itineraries that take you to top-rated destinations, from sun-soaked Caribbean isles to ancient temples in Asia and everywhere in between. And make the most out of every moment at sea onboard the worlds best cruise ships, loaded from bow to stern with game-changing thrills, dazzling entertainment, next-level dining and activities for all kinds of adventure-seekers. No matter which ship you choose to sail on, this is a fleet filled with incredible feats.
Mega Ship Line #: Royal Caribbean International
If you truly want to feel like youre living in a floating city, Royal Caribbean is the cruise line for you, given that it has the four largest cruise ships in the world. Symphony of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, and Oasis of the Seas top the lists in terms of passenger count , length , and gross tonnage . Given their size, these ships provide every amenity you can think ofand plenty you cant even imaginefrom waterparks to world-class musical productions to autonomous bars staffed by robots to double-decker suites with slides for the kids. Youll find these behemoths sailing the Caribbean and Mediterranean throughout the year, but with so many activities on board, you might not even want to leave the ship.
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Large Ship #: Msc Cruises
Nearly half of MSCs fleetnamely those ships in the Musica and Fantasia classesfalls into the large cruise category, with its newer builds firmly taking a bigger is better stance. The eight large vessels primarily sail in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, though they do offer itineraries in North and South America, Asia, and Northern Europe, too. The family-friendly ships skew on the upscale side, and theyre known for their incredibly international crowds.
Norwegian Cruise Line Kids Sail Free
Norwegian Cruise Line is one of the best cruise lines for families. Norwegian offers kids sail free promotion on a limited time. It is now available to all destinations Norwegians ships visit.
Norwegian is one of the best cruise lines for family cruisers. The cruise lines freestyle in dining options is greatly appreciated among family cruisers. Norwegian calls it called Freestyle Dining. Casual and free choices in dining styles make family cruisers with kids relax.
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Mega Ship Line #: Norwegian Cruise Line
Known for its colorful ships, Norwegian Cruise Line first broke into the mega-ship category in 2010 with the launch of Norwegian Epic, which can carry just over 5,000 passengers at full occupancy, and have since introduced five others in the Breakaway and Breakaway-Plus classes. The crowd aboard these vessels, which primarily sail in North America, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean, often consists of families who take advantage of amenities like waterparks, virtual-reality gaming, and go-kart racing, though the cruise lines newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, has a decidedly more mature atmosphere. In November 2019, Norwegian launched the newest member of its fleet, Norwegian Encore, which is the most luxurious of its mega-ships.
Small Ship Line #1: Seadream Yacht Club
Sailing through the Caribbean, around Europe, or across the Atlantic on either of SeaDreams two 112-passenger yachts means quickly getting to know your fellow guests. Facilities on the six decks include a pool, whirlpool, and casino, but the real highlight is the watersports marina that can be lowered down to the waves for easy ocean swimming, kayaking, and more. The ships often overnight in port, allowing guests the opportunity to experience the local nightlife before taking off for their next destination. In 2021, SeaDream will launch a 110-cabin luxury expedition yacht, SeaDream Innovation, that will sail to all seven continents.
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Not Using Points To Get To Your Cruise
Using points and miles to pay for a cruise doesnt always make sense, as it often requires a huge number of them to secure a cabin. But that doesnt mean you cant save big time by booking your flights to and from a ship using points and miles.
Youll find plenty of stories here at The Points Guy about how to, say, pay the equivalent of $1,330 in points for a flight that cost $16,000, or book a $27,000 around-the-world trip for just $168 in out-of-pocket costs. Scroll around a little, and you may never pay cash for a flight to a cruise ship again.
Small Ship Line #: Ecoventura
As Ecoventura operates a fleet of three expedition yachts with a capacity of only 20 passengers, you know youre getting a personalized experience on board. The ships sail two week-long itineraries in the Galápagosyou can combine them both if you want more time with the islands incredible wildlife. The luxurious ships each have 10 well-appointed cabins, a lounge where naturalists provide lectures and briefings before excursions, a dining room and bar, a library filled with scholarly tomes on the Galápagos, and a sundeck for relaxation.
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Investing In Cruise Line Stocks In 2021
Considering how much the pandemic continues to affect cruise lines, investing in them is relatively risky. The cruise line business has high operating costs, and many cruise companies have lost a lot of money. Investors in search of safe stocks may want to stay away from this industry right now.
Cruise lines tend to have a passionate customer base with plenty of repeat passengers. Over the long term, cruise line stocks may be a good value investment provided that you are comfortable with some volatility.
How To Choose The Best Cruise Line For You
There are tons of options when it comes to planning a cruise vacation. You may find yourself perusing cruise reviews and cruise deals aplenty, wondering how in the world youre going to narrow down a specific cruise line and itinerary that best fits your travel preferences and budget. And while cruise deals are easy to find, booking your best cruise vacation is more about finding one that makes sense for you, and less about grabbing last minute or all-inclusive cruise deals that you may not fully enjoy.
Deciding on a cruise vacation is a lot like planning any other vacation, only youre choosing your transportation, accommodations and oftentimes your activitiesall in one. Keep in mind that each cruise line has its own unique vibe, and what works for a large family may not appeal to a couple wanting a romantic getaway. Youll have to do a little bit of homework, but once you know what to look out foryoull alleviate some of the guesswork and perhaps feel more confident in choosing a cruise line that aligns with how you prefer to travel and spend your time while on vacation.
So, before you snag that all-inclusive cruise youve been eyeing, consider these helpful tips:
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