When it comes to buying a cruise, you might be wondering if you’re getting a good deal… or if you’re paying too much for the trip.
The truth is, it can be hard to know at first glance if you’re getting a cheap vacation. That’s because pricing on cruises is a little complex. Take a trip with a headline price of $599. Truth is, you won’t end up paying anywhere near that figure.
First, cruise pricing is stated on a per-person basis, but staterooms are sold based on double-occupancy. So a cabin priced at $599 per person actually costs double — $1,198 — when you go to book the trip.
In addition, there are additional charges for port fees and taxes that can add another $100 to $300 on the price of the trip. And don’t forget gratuities, which are an additional charge that can add up to $30 per day for a couple taking a cruise.
It’s not surprising to see a trip of $599 turn into more than $1,500 before it’s all said and done.
How then do you know what is a good price for a cruise? For that, we suggest the following guidelines…
Here’s a Good Price for A Cruise
Of course the total amount of money that you pay for a cruise is going to depend on a number of factors. One of the biggest factors, however, is going to be the length of the trip.
That shouldn’t be a surprise — the longer you are on a cruise ship, the more you should expect to pay. After all, you have to be fed, roomed, and entertained for that much longer.
That’s why if you want to compare the price of cruises to see if you have a good price, you want to look at the price per day. This gives you a quick and easy way to see how much you’re paying for a cruise and allows you to compare shorter cruises with longer ones.
All you do is take the headline price offered for the cruise (per person) and divide by the number of days. So a 4-day cruise with a $500 fare would be $125 per day.
While you will also have to pay for things like port fees and taxes, these can’t be avoided. Instead, you simply want to look at the fare charged by the cruise line to see if it’s a deal.
Interior cabins are the cheapest cabins available on the ship. It is also the headline price quoted on most cruises. So how much should you pay for one of these rooms?
Lots of factors go into the price of any one specific trip, including the ship and time of year. Sometimes you can’t help but pay a higher price. Still, if you are looking for the best deal, then you can use the prices below as a rough guideline.
Keep in mind that these figures are for the large cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian, among others.
These figures are rough guidelines — not concrete numbers. We’ve based them off comparing prices on hundreds of cruises sailing throughout the year across major cruise lines. If you sail during popular times (such as summer) expect it to be much hard to find cheap deals. But all things equal, if you find a price below $70 per night, per person, then you’ve found a deal. Prices between $71 and $100 should be considered a typical price. Anything above $101 per night for an interior cabin is expensive.
While interior cabins are the cheapest cabins, many people choose to upgrade to balcony cabins for their trip. Of course, these cabins are more expensive. The price bump can vary widely, from about 20% more than an interior cabin to more than double the price. In general, however, you’ll find the price increase in a ballpark of 50-60% more than an interior cabin.
That means if you find a balcony cabin on your cruise for under $100 per night, per person, then you’re doing well. Typical prices range between $101-150 per night. Balcony cabins during high season on on popular ships are likely to be more than $150 per night, making them pricey.
Remember, these figures are meant to give you an idea of what’s a good price. There may be some instances where your specific cruise could be a deal but not fall into these ranges.
Want to know more about finding the best deal on a cruise? Read our 10 rules of cruise buying here.