We Checked 10 Websites… Here’s the Cheapest Site to Buy a Cruise

Looking for the best deal on a cruise? Considering that the majority of people report spending over $2,000 on their cruise vacation, finding even a small discount is welcome.

That’s why we wanted to find out once and for all which website has the cheapest cruise deals. Truth be told, the answer surprised us for a couple of reasons.

We’ve outlined before the best sites to buy a cruise. But that focused mainly on the ease of searching and finding a trip that matched both your schedule and your budget. This was the first time we’ve looked at several sites individually to see exactly which has the best offer.

What’s somewhat surprising is that when it comes to the headline price, nearly every site has the same offer. So if a cruise is $569 per person on one site, then usually every other site will have the same price.

Does that mean it’s worthless to shop around? No way. Since most sites have the same prices, many offer incentives such as onboard credit to get you to book with them. On some trips, these incentives can be worth hundreds of dollars.

However, searching every single site can take hours. That’s why we did the work for you — searching 10 different websites to see who had the absolute best deal on a cruise. Check out our results below…

The Cruise

To make sure we’re comparing apples to apples, we selected a popular cruise that should be available on every site searched. We selected a 7-day cruise aboard the Carnival Glory. The cruise in question departs July 7, 2018, with stops in Grand Turk, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Amber Cove, before returning to Miami. For our search we looked for the cheapest¬†balcony cabin.

Carnival.com

Being that we were searching for a Carnival cruise, it made sense to begin our search with Carnival.com. Searching the site, we found our cruise listed for $1,194 per person. On Carnival’s site, the cruise was labeled as “Extra Value” which offered $50 in onboard credit, half off the deposit, and choice of room location.

cruise price carnival

Price per person (before taxes and fees): $1,194 per person
Incentives: $50 onboard credit per cabin, half deposit

Expedia.com

Expedia is well-known in online travel, although you may not realize you can also book cruises there.

Searching for our 7-night cruise, we found it for $1,194 for the balcony room — the exact same price found on Carnival’s website. In addition, the incentives offered by Expedia were the same. Booking through the site offered $50 in onboard credit and 50% off the normal deposit amount.

Expedia cruise prices

Price per person (before taxes and fees): $1,194 per person
Incentives: $50 onboard credit per cabin, half deposit

Orbitz.com

If Orbitz and Expedia look similar to you, it’s not your imagination. Expedia owns Orbitz. As such, you would expect them to have the same prices… and they do.

A search on Orbitz found the same $1,194 price tag for a balcony cabin as found elsewhere. The site also offered the same reduced deposit and $50 in onboard credit.

Orbitz cruise prices

Price per person (before taxes and fees): $1,194 per person
Incentives: $50 onboard credit per cabin, half deposit

Travelocity.com

Most people don’t know it, but Travelocity is owned by Expedia (which also owns Orbitz). In other words, all three of these major travel websites will give you the same results for your cruise.

Sure enough, Travelocity has a fare of $1,194 for our balcony cabin and the same $50 in onboard credit and 50% deposit as found elsewhere.

Travelocity cruise prices

Price per person (before taxes and fees): $1,194 per person
Incentives: $50 onboard credit per cabin, half deposit

Seahub.com

Seahub is one of the newest booking engines and perhaps the nicest to use. The site offers a lot of options to find the perfect cruise and because it’s focused solely on cruises (unlike other travel sites), it’s much more user friendly.

The one issue is that right now prices seem higher than what’s found elsewhere. In this case, we found the balcony cabin for $1,234 per person — $40 higher than found elsewhere. As well, we couldn’t find other incentives like onboard credit or reduced deposits.

Seahub cruise prices

Price per person (before taxes and fees): $1,234 per person
Incentives: None found

Cruise.com

With a name like Cruise.com, the site has to be good, right? While the site isn’t as slick and inviting as some other search portals, it turns out that the incentives for using Cruise.com are pretty good.

Our search found a balcony cabin for the 7-day cruise at the expected rate of $1,194. In addition, the site offered the 50% reduced deposit. What’s more, it also offered a cash back incentive for booking.

Cruise.com prices

According to the terms, the amount of cash back would be $100 per cabin. The amount increases with a higher fare and decreases with lower fares. Keep in mind this incentive is a special ongoing at the time we searched and subject to change.

Cruise.com cash back

Price per person (before taxes and fees): $1,194 per person
Incentives: $100 cash back per cabin, half deposit

CruisesOnly.com

CruisesOnly.com bills itself as “America’s Largest Cruise Agency”. A search of the site for the 7-day Carnival cruise found it selling for $1,194 — perfectly in line with what most other sites show.

In addition, the site offered several different bonus incentives, including upgrades, no deposit required, or $50 in onboard credit. While all of these incentives sound great, not all of them are available to be used together. For instance, if you select the $50 in onboard credit, then you can’t also book with no deposit. Other incentives required you to call in and talk to an agent to receive them.

CruisesOnly cruise prices

Also, you should note that CruisesOnly.com charges a $25 processing fee to book through their site.

Price per person (before taxes and fees): $1,194 per person
Incentives: $50 per cabin onboard credit or no deposit required
Note: $25 processing fee is additional

Priceline.com

While Priceline may be famous for naming your price on hotel rooms, that’s not the case for cruises, unfortunately. Their rates are in line with competitors, charging $1,194 for a balcony room on the cruise in question.

Like CruisesOnly.com, you also have the option of $50 in onboard credit or no deposit required. The company also has an offer of “double cruise cash,” however, we couldn’t find any details on what exactly this offer entailed.

Priceline cruise prices

Smart buyers should also note that Priceline charges a $25 processing fee for booking on their site.

Price per person (before taxes and fees): $1,194 per person
Incentives: $50 per cabin onboard credit or no deposit required
Note: $25 processing fee is additional

CruiseDirect.com

CruiseDirect.com boldly states they have a “100% Best Price Guarantee”. In fact, a search for our cruise shows a price that matches what’s found in most other places — $1,194 for a balcony room.

What’s more is that this price comes with some pretty strong incentives. First, the site offers 10% off shore excursions, and up to $1,000 in onboard credit. This onboard credit amount will vary with how much the cruise costs. In this case, the onboard credit was $100.

CruiseDirect prices

Price per person (before taxes and fees): $1,194 per person
Incentives: $100 per cabin onboard credit and 10% off shore excursions

CostcoTravel.com

Everyone knows that the discount warehouse Costco has some amazing deals. Most people don’t know that you can also book travel. The store’s CostcoTravel website actually has some great deals.

For this cruise, we found a rate of $1,234 for the balcony stateroom. That’s $40 higher than found on most sites, but here’s the kicker — that price includes a $190 Costco Cash Card that can be used at the store. So for $80 more per cabin ($40 x 2 passengers), you are saving $190 — for a net of $110.

CostcoTravel.com cruise prices

Price per person (before taxes and fees): $1,234 per person
Incentives: $190 per cabin Costco Cash Card
Note: Requires a Costco membership to book travel

Final Recommendation

For our cruise, we found prices varied from a low of $1,194 per person to $1,234 per person. Meanwhile, incentives ranged from nothing to $190 back. Below, we’ve summarized the results.

Comparison of cruise website prices

In this case, CostcoTravel turned out to be the best deal to book, although it wasn’t the cheapest headline price. Still, you will almost always pay a similar price elsewhere so it pays to shop around to see the particular incentives offered by each.

For more on saving on buying your cruise, see our 10 Rules to Getting the Best Deal on a Cruise.

Popular: 39 Useful Things to Pack (17 You Wouldn't Think Of)

Read Next: Park & Cruise Hotels for Every Port in America

Popular: The Cruiser's Bible (Must-Have Resource)


LEAVE A REPLY