Looking for what is a good price on a cruise? We have you covered whether you are sailing to the Caribbean, Alaska, or the Mediterranean.
When it comes to how much a cruise should cost, many people are surprised that the amount you pay can vary widely. Unlike a domestic flight, where the experience is essentially the same across any airline you take, your experience on the cruise can vary widely. And each of those factors can impact what makes a good deal and what’s a high price.
In other words, nailing down exactly what is a “good” price for a cruise a little more difficult than you would think at first glance. Even so, we can give you a pretty good idea.
So what can cause a cruise price to vary so dramatically? There are a number of factors that make a big difference in what you’ll pay…
Major Factors in Finding a Good Price for a Cruise
Numerous factors go into what you pay for your cruise, but here are what we see as having the biggest impact on getting a good price.
Date of Sailing
Perhaps the biggest factor in what you pay for your cruise isn’t whether you find a sale or even which cruise line you pick. Instead, it’s when you sail.
Cruises sail 365 days a year. Want to sail in January? July? A cruise for Christmas or your birthday? There are trips heading out to sea and returning no matter the time of year. However, the prices for these cruises — even if they are the exact same itinerary — will vary widely.
It can be that a trip sailing during the off-season can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars less than sailing during the peak season. As a rule of thumb, if school is out then prices are considerably more expensive than when school is in session. So if you can sail in months like January or April or October, you’ll pay a lot less than if you book a trip for the summer.
When it comes to what you pay for your trip, we like to think of cruise lines like car brands. There are some cruise lines that cater to more passengers with lower prices and broader appeal, just like General Motors or Toyota. Then some cruise lines focus on a higher-end experience catering to a different clientele, similar to Mercedes or Range Rover.
As a result, what is a good price will depend on the cruise line. For example, you can assume that a Disney cruise will be much more expensive than a similar route on Carnival, however, it’s also a different experience on the ship.
Just like the cruise line, the ship you sail can also make a difference in what’s a good price for your trip. Newer ships offer the latest and greatest and there can be a dramatic onboard difference between ships built in the past few years and those built more than a decade ago.
Of course, you’d expect to pay more for a nicer, newer hotel. It’s the same principle for a cruise ship. Newer ships often have higher prices. Older ships generally allow you to sail for less money. The price difference isn’t as dramatic as you’ll see between sailing during the high season and low season, but it can still make a difference.
Itinerary (Days Sailed and Route)
Want a cheaper cruise? Sail a shorter trip. It’s obvious, but it is something that makes it more difficult to say what a good price is for a trip. After all, someone might pay more money for a trip, but have it be a longer cruise — providing more value than a shorter trip that’s more expensive on a per-day basis.
As well, different itineraries and regions can see varied costs. In general, it’s a bit pricier to sail Alaska than to sail to the Caribbean, all other things equal.
Finally, even on the same ship the price one passenger pays compared to another can vary widely. Want to get the absolute cheapest price? Go for an interior cabin. These rooms are small, don’t have any windows, but still get you on the ship without breaking the bank.
Balcony cabins and suites offer a much nicer experience, but also have a higher price tag attached.
The prices you see advertised for sale are always for the lowest-tier interior cabin. That’s what we also use for the pricing below. However, if you’re wanting a balcony cabin then cruises with the best interior prices should also have good balcony prices as well.
Below, we give you some ballpark figures for what is a good price for a cruise based on recent pricing.
All prices are based on a per person basis, for an interior cabin. Note that this only includes cruise fare. Taxes and port fees will mean a higher price.
Caribbean Cruise Good Price: $75 per night ($525 for a 7-Night Trip)
Think of a cruise and you likely picture a trip island-hopping the Caribbean, complete with blue water, white sand, and gorgeous sunshine. And trips to this area of the world are the most numerous in the world, with millions of passengers each year taking a trip everywhere from The Bahamas to Mexico and all points in between.
The good news is that these trips are highly affordable. You can find cruises sailing to the area starting at $125 per person in some cases, although prices that low will only be on shorter cruises.
Prices will vary widely based on length of cruise, cruise line, and when you sail. In general, however, a good value is any trip running below $75 per night, per person — or about $525 for a week-long cruise.
Can you find cruises that are less expensive than this? Absolutely. We found some running as little as $50 per night. However, as a general guide, the trips running less than $75 per night per person offer a good price.
Keep in mind that you’re unlikely to find these sorts of rates during the peak summer season, and you won’t be on the newest ships. As well, this is the price for only cruise fare. Taxes and port fees can add a considerable amount to your vacation ($100-$200 per person).
Alaskan Cruise Good Price: $100 per night ($700 for a 7-Night Trip)
If Caribbean cruises are most popular, it might be Alaskan cruises that are the most unique. Alaska is such a beautiful, yet remote destination. In fact, it is hard to explore unless you have a small plane… or you can take a cruise.
Given the landscape of Alaska, many spots to explore are right near the coast giving you not only amazing views, but also better access via the water.
Historically, Alaska cruises tend to be pricier than their Caribbean counterparts. This is due in part to the fact they only sail part of the year. Instead of setting out year-round, the cruise season to this part of the world runs from May through September. That means it is usually more difficult to find cheaper deals.
If you’re taking a trip to Alaska, then watch for prices that run less than $100 per night per person. You can often find these early in the season (May) and later in the season (September).
Of course, balcony cabins are popular on these trips as it gives you your own private view, but will come with a higher price tag.
One other thing to watch — you can often find cruises for much less than $100 per night to Alaska, but they are not round trip. Several cruise lines offer “northbound” and “southbound” cruises, with each leg being seven days. These cruises can run much cheaper each way, but just know that you have to combine two in order to make it back to your starting port.
Mediterranean Cruise Good Price: $85 per night ($595 for a 7-Night Trip)
Perhaps no cruise on earth gives you the chance to take in as much culture and history as a trip around the Mediterranean. France, Spain, Italy, and more… you can see them all on a single trip. And since the Mediterranean was such an important body of water historically, many of Europe’s great cities sit right near the sea, giving access via a cruise ship.
In fact, if you’re wanting to see a sample of the continent in a short amount of time, then we can think of no better way than with a cruise.
What’s more is that the price of a European cruise doesn’t have to break the bank. You can find many of them starting for under $400 per person for a seven-night trip, even during the summer. However, this does typically mean sailing an older ship.
As for a good price on a European cruise, there will be some variation based on the number itineraries that are offered. Still, trips priced under $85 per day — or around $600 for a week-long cruise — are what we would consider to be a good deal.
Of course, remember this is for an interior cabin on a per-person basis. As well, things like taxes, fees, and gratuities would be extra.
Remember: The Total Cruise Will Cost Much More!
While we’ve offered up a price per day for each of these three major cruise itineraries, keep in mind that the total you pay will likely be higher. The figures provided above are to give you an idea of a good price base on how cruise lines advertise fares.
Each cruise will also see taxes and port fees added on, which can run hundreds of dollars. Gratuities will also add to the amount you pay.
As well, we are offering up this guideline for a good price based on the per person fare for an interior room to help you compare with the prices you might see when shopping around online. Choosing a higher-grade cabin, like a balcony, will mean a higher price.
Finally, keep in mind that the best deals on cruises are likely to come off-season and with older ships. It may be that your schedule or the ship you want to sail means you have to pay a little more.
More on Cruise Deals:
- 10 Rules to Getting the Best Deal on a Cruise
- 8 Things Definitely Worth It On a Cruise and 3 Places to Save Your Money