When it comes to cruising, Carnival Cruise Line is among the lowest-priced options in the industry. Whether you’re wanting a quick getaway or you want to go on a longer trip, you’ll find that the cruise line has some of the best fares you’ll find.
So how much does a Carnival cruise cost? What you’ll pay will vary widely depending on the specifics of your cruise. Cruise for a week on the newest ship in the fleet? Obviously, you should expect to pay more than a quick 3-day getaway on an older ship.
Even so, we have some data on what you can expect to pay no matter which cruise you select to give you a better idea of what you’ll pay to sail with Carnival.
What Goes Into the Cost to Cruise With Carnival
Before we get into the actual prices that you will pay, it’s helpful to understand what goes into the price of your cruise. These factors can drastically alter what you pay by hundreds of even thousands of dollars.
Of course, the type of cabin that you sail on Carnival will have a big impact on what you pay. Interior cabins — which sit on the inside of the ship and have no windows — are the least expensive rooms that you will find. From there, the prices rise for oceanview, balcony rooms, and suites. So you can pay thousands more for the exact same cruise if you sail in the nicest rooms compared to the least expensive.
But Carnival has more than four different room options. Newer ships have a number of special cabin types like Cloud 9 cabins (near the spa) and Havana staterooms. These rooms will have special décor and features like access to exclusive areas such as private pools. They will also carry a higher price tag.
Just like cabins, cruise ships will also see different costs. As a rule of thumb, the newer the ship, the higher the price you can expect to pay. However, that doesn’t mean every trip aboard that newer ship will be more expensive than every trip on an older one.
Still, in general, if you’re wanting to sail on the newest ships that also have the most to do, then expect to pay a bit more.
For example, take a July 2023 cruise aboard Carnival Celebration (the line’s newest ship) from Miami. Here, the cruise fare for a six-day trip in an interior cabin runs $759 per person.
A trip 6-day trip aboard Carnival Horizon (a ship built in 2017), leaving the same time of year from the exact same port costs $679 per person for an interior cabin — or about $80 less.
Time of Year
Finally, the last major factor in what you’ll pay to cruise on Carnival is the time of year you sail. The same trip departing at different points of the year will have drastically different prices.
The easy rule of thumb is that Carnival’s prices are cheaper when school is in session and more expensive during breaks in the school year. As a family-oriented cruise line, more demand when school is out means higher prices.
Let’s take that same trip aboard Carnival Celebration that departs for six days. If you sail in July, then the cost for an interior cabin starts at $759 per person. But the exact same itinerary costs just $449 per person if sailing in September. That’s $310 per person less.
Other Costs to Consider
While the cost of your cruise will vary widely based on the ship, time of year, and the cabin you choose, there are also some more costs that you should keep in mind. These costs won’t vary as much from cruise to cruise, but they still impact your bottom line.
One considerable expense on your cruise will be the fees and taxes that are tacked onto the cruise fare. These will vary based on the cost of your trip and also the ports you sail from and visit. However, for most cruises they run between $100-$200 per person. Unfortunately, there isn’t any way that you can avoid these fees; they are added in with your cruise fare that you pay.
One area that you do have a lot of power over what you spend is with onboard spending. This category includes everything from drinks onboard to casino gambling to spa services and more. Technically you could sail the entire cruise and not spend a dime on the ship, but that’s not realistic for most people. Still, what’s spent on the ship will vary widely from person to person. On average, Carnival Corporation (the parent of Carnival Cruise Line, Princess and others) reports that a passenger spends about $100 per person, per day on their ships.
In cruising, gratuities are a fact of life. Yes, technically they are optional in that you can go down to Guest Services and have them removed from you account if there is a problem with service. However, for the vast majority of people, the gratuity charges — which go to people like the waitstaff and your room steward — are just a fact of life. Carnival charges $14.50 per person per day for gratuities on its trips ($16.50 per person per day for suites).
Getting to Port
Finally, don’t forget to factor in the cost it takes to get to port to set sail on your cruise. If you are flying in, then you’ll have to purchase airfare, plus a hotel if flying in the night before. As well, don’t forget to factor in transportation to the cruise port. Driving in for your cruise? It’s definitely more convenient, but don’t forget that you’ll have to pay for parking while you’re gone.
With all these items in mind, what can you expect to pay to sail on Carnival? We have a cost breakdown below…
What You Can Expect to Pay to Sail Carnival
As mentioned, your cost to sail on Carnival (or any cruise line) can vary widely based on your trip specifics. That’s why we’ve broken down the cost to sail on Carnival into three different categories — a budget cruise, an average cruise, and a high-end trip. This will give you a better idea of what you’ll pay based on your specifics.
Cost of a Budget Cruise on Carnival
For a budget cruise, we assume you are taking a cruise during the off-season for 3-5 days and staying in an interior cabin on an older ship. This gets you on the ship and having a fun vacation for a more affordable price than what many will spend.
One example cruise we found a 4-day cruise aboard Carnival Radiance, departing Long Beach in late February. It offers the following pricing for an interior cabin and is a good representation of what you can expect when looking for an inexpensive cruise aboard Carnival:
Keep in mind this estimate doesn’t include your transportation to the port. But it gives you a good idea of what you’d spend to cruise on a budget. Here, the cost works out to about $140 per person, per day with all the costs included.
Cost of an Average Cruise on Carnival
While there is no such thing as an “average” cruise given all the variables, for this mid-tier vacation, we’re assuming a 7-day trip in a balcony cabin aboard a newer (but not the newest) ship in the fleet during the summer. As well, we assume that you spend a little more on board than someone would on a budget vacation.
The pricing below is for a 7-day cruise aboard Carnival Vista in a balcony cabin, sailing from Galveston in April.
Here with the upgrade to the balcony cabin, a longer cruise, and a newer ship, you can see that the cost of the cruise jumps considerably. But one thing to keep in mind is that a large portion of this estimate is onboard spending where you have the most control over what you’ll spend.
Cost of a High-End Cruise on Carnival
Finally, let’s consider what you’d pay for a high-end cruise on Carnival. Here, we are assuming a passenger staying in a suite aboard the newest ship and sailing at the peak of the summer season. As well, we assume a higher level of onboard spending on things like drinks, specialty restaurants and the spa.
The pricing below is for a 7-day cruise aboard Carnival Celebration in a suite cabin, leaving in July from Miami.
Here, the price jumps considerably with a new ship, higher-tier cabin, and sailing in the peak of the summer season. For that more luxurious experience, you end up paying about $425 per person, per day.
How Much Does a Carnival Cruise Cost?
As you can see, there is no set cost on what you can pay to cruise. Want to cruise for cheap and only spend a few hundred per person? That’s possible. Want to go all out, stay in the nicest cabins on the newest ships? It will cost considerably more.
In general, however, we think you’re best off estimating around $200-$300 per person, per day for a cruise on Carnival when all expenses are factored in.
In fact, in public investment filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Carnival Corporation (which encompasses Carnival and other cruise lines) shows an average cruise fare per day of around $150 per person and average onboard spending of around $100 per day — for a total of roughly $250 per day.
But it should be clear that what you pay can vary widely around that average depending on the sort of cruise you want to take.
What about sales on Carnival?
Head to the Carnival website, and you’ll no doubt see that they are running a special sale. That’s because these sales go year-round. And while they might be tweaked occasionally, it usually doesn’t lead to big swings in the price for the cruise. So it’s unlikely that you’ll look one day and see a price that’s drastically less (or more) than the day before.
That said, yes, occasionally there are special offers or prices — especially if you’re a VIFP member (Carnival’s loyalty program) with high status. But in general, we suggest not letting sale offers dictate when you decide to buy.
What about the cost of third or fourth passengers?
Sailing with a family? Then the pricing gets a little different. Above, we’ve accounted for two passengers in the cabin. In that case, both passengers pay the same cruise fare. Add a third or fourth person to the room and it’s slightly different.
In this case, the fare for the third person is drastically reduced — sometimes up to 70-80% the fare paid by the first two passengers. Still, they will have to pay the full share of port fees and gratuities.
Even so, sailing with a third or fourth passengers is among the best deals in travel.
More on Sailing Carnival:
- 47 Best Carnival Cruise Line Tips & Tricks
- Complete Guide to Sailing Carnival Cruise Line (What It’s Like)
- Worth It? 15+ Questions & Answers About the Carnival CHEERS! Package