How much do cruises really cost? To work out the real cost of a cruise you should consider not just your cruise ship ticket price, but anything else you’ll need such as flights to the port, shore excursions, drinks and gratuities.
This article looks at the cost of various cruises and what you actually get for your money.
How much does it cost to go on a cruise?
A cruise can cost anywhere from $50 (£40) per person, per day, with a budget cruise line like Costa Cruises to well over $1,000 (£800) per person, per day, with an ultra-luxury cruise line like Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The average cost of a cruise is $161 (£125) per person, per day. This equates to $1,127 (£875) for a 7-night cruise.
What’s included in a cruise?
Cruise tickets generally include accommodation, meals, some drinks and entertainment. You’ll pay extra for speciality dining, alcoholic drinks, gratuities, spa services, casino, wifi, flights, transfers and excursions.
What’s included in your cruise varies for each cruise line. Some cruise lines include gratuities in the ticket price. You may also get a drinks package included at no extra cost. Sometimes, cruises come with free onboard credit, which you can spend on the ship.
If you plan your cruise carefully, it’s perfectly possible to not spend anything extra on top of the price of your cruise ticket.
How much does the average cruise cost?
The average cruise ticket costs $1,293 (£1,009) per person. On top of that, guests spend an average of $498 (£389) on extras such as drinks, casino, spa services and shore excursions. This does not include the cost of any flights or transportation to the port.
Cruise price comparison table
One of the biggest factors affecting the price of your cruise is your choice of the cruise line.
The table below shows the average price for a 7-night Caribbean cruise (excluding flights) in a balcony cabin (per person, based on two people sharing).
|Cruise line||Cruise fare||Gratuities||Drinks package||Total|
|Costa Cruises||$900 (£685)||$88 (£67)||$308 (£237)||$1296 (£989)|
|MSC Cruises||$988 (£750)||included||$427 (£324)||$1415 (£1074)|
|Carnival||$963 (£730)||$98 (£74)||$364 (£276)||$1425 (£1080)|
|P&O Cruises||$1280 (£1000)||included||$358 (£280)||$1638 (£1280)|
|Princess Cruises||$1153 (£900)||$102 (£80)||$420 (£328)||$1675 (£1305)|
|Marella||$1670 (£1300)||included||included||$1670 (£1300)|
|Celebrity Cruises||$1670 (£1300)||included||included||$1670 (£1300)|
|$102 (£80)||$483 (£377)||$1735 (£1351)|
|Norwegian Cruise Line||$1359 (£1059)||$109 (£85)||$693 (£542)||$2161 (£1686)|
|Disney Cruise Line||$2550|
|$95 (£74)||not available||$2645 (£2074)|
The aim of this data is to give you a rough idea of the average cruise prices for each cruise line. I sourced the prices from the cruise lines’ websites.
Marella and P&O Cruises are priced with flights included on the cruise line websites. I took off the flights to standardise the pricing. Some cruises come with special offers such as free on-board spend which aren’t included in this table.
Which cruise line offers the best value for money?
It’s usually the case that you get what you pay for when it comes to booking cruises. The more expensive cruises will have better service, better food and probably even better weather.
Even if you’ve cruised before, deciding which is the best value cruise is tricky, and it’s not something you want to get wrong!
To learn which is the best cruise for your budget AND how to save up to 60% off the brochure price when you book, I recommend this video course by Emma Cruises. Emma is a top cruise YouTuber and these videos pack in so much information.
I’ve had a good look at Emma’s course and I promise that it offers amazing value for money. It will pay for itself many times over with the money you’ll save on your next cruise.
How much does a cruise cost for a family of four?
The price of a cruise for a family of four depends very much on what discounts are available for children. The price for a family could be double the price for a couple, or it could be very little extra.
Many cruise lines don’t offer any discounts for children. This is usually the case on ships which have a lot of activities made for children like kids’ clubs, water slides and splash parks.
However, it is possible to get cheap kids prices, by either choosing a cruise line that doesn’t charge full price for children or by looking out for special offers and booking at the right time.
Kids fares by cruise line
This is how much each cruise line charges for kids:
- Carnival – Full adult price
- Celebrity Cruises – Full adult price
- Costa Cruises – Children under 18 pay only port fees and service fees (approx £150 per week)
- Cunard – Full adult price
- Disney Cruise Line – Child rate for ages 3 to 12
- MSC Cruises – Children under 18 cruise FREE when booking in the USA and from £119 when booking in the UK
- Norwegian Cruise Line – Full adult price except when the Free At Sea promotion is on when kids cruise free
- P&O Cruises – Full adult price in the school holidays and £99 per week in term-time
- Princess Cruises – Full adult price
- Royal Caribbean – Full adult price except when the Kids Sail Free promotion is on
The price for children under two years old also varies and can be anywhere from free to the full adult fare.
Read more: Do you have to pay for babies on cruises?
How much do drinks cost on a cruise?
The price of drinks on a cruise varies quite a lot, depending on the cruise line. Drinks on British- and European-owned cruise lines (e.g. P&O Cruises, MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises) are generally cheaper than on American-owned cruise lines (e.g. Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival).
Also, the general rule is that the more luxurious the cruise, the more the drinks will cost.
Here’s the price range for drinks on cruise ships:
- Beer: $3.50 (£3) to $10 (£8)
- Glass of wine: $3.50 (£3) to $16 (£13)
- Cocktail: $6 (£5) to $20 (£16)
You can find the full list drinks prices broken down by cruise line here: The Ultimate Guide to Cruise Drink Packages
Frequently asked questions
There are some destinations and cruise lines which people often ask about the price of. Here are the answers to those specific questions…
How much does a cruise around the world cost?
A world cruise costs from $13,724 (£10,549) per person for a 99-night cruise in an inside cabin on-board P&O Cruises’ Aurora to $224,959 (£173,020) per person for a 116-night cruise in a penthouse suite on-board Crystal Serenity. The average cost of a world cruise is $32,000 (£25,000) per person.
How much does an Alaskan cruise cost?
An Alaska cruise can cost anywhere from $500 (£383) per person for a 4-night cruise in an inside cabin with Princess Cruises to $75,000 per person for a 15-night cruise in an expedition suite with Crystal Cruises. The average cost of an Alaska cruise is $1500 (£1148) per person.
How much is a cruise to the Bahamas?
A Bahamas cruise costs from $99 (£75) per person for a 3-night cruise in an inside cabin on MSC Armonia up to $52,000 (£40,000) for a 7-night cruise in a Royal Loft Suite on Symphony of the Seas. The average cost of a Bahamas cruise is $1300 (£995) per person.
How much does a Disney cruise cost?
A Disney cruise costs from $1,332 (£1,019) per person for a 3-night Bahamas cruise in an inside cabin, up to $47,521 (£36,504) per person for an 11-night Norway cruise in a concierge suite. The average cost of a Disney cruise is $2,950 (£2,058) per person.
How much is a Carnival cruise?
A Carnival cruise costs from $129 (£98) for a 2-night Bahamas cruise in an Inside Stateroom to $4,019 (£3,079) for a 15-night cruise in a Suite. The average cost of a Carnival cruise is $963 (£730).
Why are MSC Cruises so cheap?
MSC Cruises are cheaper than others because they have a lower space-to-guest ration and a lower crew-to-guest ratio. Plus, MSC Cruises charges extra for things that other cruise lines include for free.
Before you consider booking a cheap MSC cruise, I recommend that you read my full guide to why MSC Cruises are so cheap.
How to cruise for less
While cruising can seem expensive, you should know that it’s possible to save at least 60% on advertised cruise prices by implementing a series of tips, tricks and hacks.
The fastest and easiest way to learn how to do this is to watch the series of ‘how to’ videos from award-winning blogger and YouTuber Emma Cruises.
As well as simple video guides Emma’s ‘How to Cruise for Less‘ course comes complete with cheat sheets, tools and guides which show you how to save money at every stage of your cruise.