Cruises. Ah, it’s funny how just thinking about the term makes you feel tingly on the inside. A kaleidoscope of images comes to mind: the shimmering sea stretched out as far as the eye can see, endless buffets that would put your grandmother’s Sunday feasts to shame, and sunset dances on the deck. Ahoy, relaxation! They’re the stuff of dreams, these floating oases of luxury. They promise adventure, romance, and – most importantly – an escape from the onslaught of your boss’s emails.

The popularity of these sea-faring vacations is as vast as the ocean they sail on. The industry has been thriving for years, with each new ship and major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and the Seven Seas regularly launching new ships. But, let’s face it, the cost of cruising can often seem as mysterious as the Bermuda Triangle.

Why does a ticket to paradise seem to cost an arm and a leg? And is it possible to embark on this journey without having to sell your beloved pet Fluffy or auction off your collection of rare baseball cards? These questions, my dear reader, are exactly what we’re going to address today.

Welcome aboard! Fasten your seatbelts (or should we say lifejackets?). This isn’t just another blog post; it’s your comprehensive guide to understanding the depths of how much a cruise ship costs and how to navigate the sometimes choppy waters of budgeting.

Person calculating money on their phone


Are Cruise Trips Expensive?

Now, you might be thinking, “Cruise trips? how much does a cruise ship cost? Those floating resorts? They must be as expensive as a unicorn made out of diamonds!” Well, not so fast, my friend. Cruise ships cost, ship cost is a curious creature. It’s not quite as mythical as you might imagine, yet not as straightforward as buying a burger, either.

Cruise pricing is a bit like an iceberg. What you see on the surface – the base cruise fare – is only a fraction of the whole picture. It’s a complex beast, affected by many factors, much like trying to choose the best ice cream flavor at a fancy gelato shop.

The first big influencer is the most expensive, the cruise ship and the line itself. You see, not every cruise line is the same. There are mass-market cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival Corporation that offer a more wallet-friendly experience. There are also high-end cruise lines like Regent Seven Seas, where extravagance is the order of the day. These lines provide a world-class experience, with ticket prices that would make even a billionaire blink.

Clean cruise ship room

The size and age of the cruise ships also play a pivotal role. The rule of thumb is that newer and larger cruise ships will tend to cost more. After all, they boast a plethora of onboard features, from Broadway-style shows to ice-skating rinks and rock-climbing walls. Older cruise ships, though not as flashy, can offer a cost-effective option without sacrificing comfort or fun.

But let’s not forget the timing. Just like buying plane tickets, when you book your cruise fare can drastically affect the total cost. Planning to sail in the peak season? Be prepared to shell out some extra clams.

Now, what does your ticket price usually include? At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, here it goes- your accommodation (sorry, Fluffy has to stay at home), meals at the main dining venues, access to entertainment, and most of the ship’s facilities, like swimming pools and fitness centers. It also covers the crew members who are at your service around the clock, ensuring your voyage is as smooth as a dolphin’s back.

Top Cruise Lines and Their Average Costs

In this part of our journey, we’re going to hop aboard some of the older ships of the most popular cruise lines out there and delve into their treasure chests to find out what they typically charge, and what those prices get you. So, ready to compare the costs of these floating kingdoms? Full speed ahead!

Cruise ship on the sea

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International, the fleet known for its Oasis-class ships, makes you feel like royalty, but without the need for a king’s ransom. Their ships are some of the largest and most innovative in the industry, boasting amenities such as zip lines, ice-skating rinks, and even surf simulators. They are the Clark Gable of the seas: suave, sophisticated, and ever-so-slightly showy.

Depending on the cabin class, the location, and the time of year, the typical cost of a 7-night cruise can range from $700 to over $2000 per person. This includes meals, entertainment, and use of the aforementioned wild and wonderful amenities. Watch out, though! Extras like the drinks package, special dining venues, and shore excursions could have your wallet crying out for mercy if you’re not careful.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line is like that fun uncle who turns every family gathering into a party. Known as ‘The Fun Ships’, their cruises are packed with activities, comedy shows, and nightlife to keep even the most energetic passengers entertained.

Carnival cruises typically cost less than Royal Caribbean, with an average 7-night trip running between $500 to $1500 per person. Again, this fluctuates based on factors like ship size, sailing date, and itinerary. The base fare includes food, some drinks, and activities. But remember, experiences like the thrill-inducing SkyRide or the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa are add-ons that will add up!

Norwegian Cruise Line

The Norwegian Cruise Line is the laid-back cousin of the cruise family. Their ‘Freestyle Cruising’ concept is all about flexibility: there are no set dining times, no enforced dress codes, and no fixed schedule. It’s the ‘come as you are’ party of the high seas!

For a 7-night journey, you could be looking at $600 to $2000 per person. As usual, meals, entertainment, and most onboard activities are included. But be aware, that some of the fancier dining options, spa treatments, and your midnight Margaritas at the bar aren’t part of the deal.

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises is your sophisticated aunt who enjoys the finer things in life. This cruise line is all about luxury, offering gourmet dining and Broadway-style shows.

A week-long trip on one of the most expensive cruise ships these grand dames of the ocean can cost between $700 and $2,500 per person. As always, the cost varies depending on various factors. Onboard amenities are included in the price, but the luxurious extras like wine-tasting experiences or a balcony suite will require a fatter wallet.

Disney Cruise Line

Finally, we arrive at the Disney Cruise Line, the Peter Pan of cruises – where kids and adults can immerse themselves in magic, and no one ever really has to grow up. Disney delivers top-notch entertainment (think Disney musicals and first-run movies), character experiences, and themed dining.

A 7-night cruise on one of these magical vessels usually costs anywhere between $1000 and $3500 per person. The cost includes Disney’s one-of-a-kind entertainment, meals, and access to most onboard activities. However, Cinderella’s fairy godmother won’t be covering the cost of things like alcoholic beverages, specialty dining, or off-ship excursions. Remember, even in Neverland, some things never come for free!

Additional Costs to Consider

All right, brace yourself, matey, because we’re about to go down the rabbit hole of “How much does a cruise ship cost? Or as I like to call them: the pirates lurking in the financial seas, ready to plunder your pockets when you least expect it!

Family of four playing on the shore


Shore excursions

First up on our “watch out!” list is shore excursions. These off-ship adventures can be as diverse as diving into the turquoise Caribbean waters or exploring ancient ruins in Rome. While these experiences are more thrilling than a parrot on your shoulder, they can cost anywhere from $30 to several hundred dollars per activity. These are not included in your cruise fare and trust me, the price tags can be as steep as a ship’s plank!

Specialty Dining

Next, let’s talk about food, glorious food! While the main dining venues are part of your expensive cruise ship, fare, specialty dining can lure you in like a siren’s song. Picture this: a romantic steak dinner under the stars, or a sushi feast prepared by a master chef. Sounds delightful, right? Well, this luxury comes with a cost, usually ranging from $15 to $100 per person. Remember, every sushi roll adds to the roll of bills!

Onboard activities

Then there are those irresistible onboard activities that aren’t covered by your cruise fare. Want to experience a blissful massage at the ship’s spa? That’ll cost you. Fancy trying your luck at the onboard casino? It’s not just about gambling money, it’s about spending it too. You never know when these expenses will mumble “free!”


Don’t forget about gratuities. They are not just a fancy way of saying ‘tips’. Daily gratuities are frequently added to your account by cruise companies, and they are given to the hard-working staff members who make your cruise experience enjoyable. This could be around $12 to $20 per person, per day. So don’t be that grumpy old sea dog who forgets to factor this in!

Travel insurance

Sure, insurance may seem like an unnecessary expense, but when you’re cruising, it’s as essential as a life jacket. Your journey may be disrupted by medical problems, travel cancellations, or even missing bags. The cost of travel insurance varies based on the coverage and your age but think of it as a safety net for the high seas.

Transportation to and From the port

Finally, how are you going to get to and from the port? Unless you’re lucky enough to live next to one, you’re probably going to have to budget for transportation costs. Flights, car rentals, hotels – it all adds to the total cost of your cruise trip.

How to Save on Your Cruise Trip

Oh-ho, you want to know the secret to keep your treasure chest full while cruising, eh? Well, grab your compass and eyepiece, and let’s chart a course toward some savvy cruise savings!

Finding Deals and Discounts

Person holding a credit card while purchasing online

The cruise industry is as fond of deals and discounts as a seagull is of chips. With a keen eye and some smart internet surfing, you can snag some fantastic bargains. Websites like Expedia or often have hot deals. Signing up for newsletters from cruise lines and cruise deal sites can also lead you to some unexpected gold mines of discounts.

Timing Your Booking

Having coffee while booking a cruise trip

Just like the tides, cruise pricing has its ebbs and flows. Generally, the best times to book a cheaper trip are during “wave season” (January to March) when the cruise industry offers enticing deals, or in the off-peak seasons when fewer vacationers are setting sail. Another trick of the trade is to book during “shoulder seasons,” which are the periods just before or after the high season. While the weather may be fluctuating, so are your savings!

Early Bird or Last Minute?

There’s an age-old debate among sea-faring savers: to book early or to book last minute? Booking well in advance (think 6-18 months before your departure) can help you secure the best staterooms and get an early bird discount. On the other hand, if you’re more of a spontaneous adventurer, last-minute bookings (usually within 60 days of departure) can yield deep discounts, as cruise lines scramble to fill empty cabins. The risk, of course, is that you may have to compromise on cabin choice and itinerary.

Loyalty Programs

Person holding a voucher

Finally, don’t forget to explore the benefits of cruise line loyalty programs. Just like a well-traveled sea turtle, returning to the same cruise line can have its rewards. Most cruise lines have reward programs that offer repeat cruisers perks like discounted fares, priority boarding, free Wi-Fi, or even complimentary upgrades. It’s like being part of an exclusive sailor’s club, where the more you sail, the more you save!


Family walking on the beach

Aye, we’ve sailed through the murky waters of cruise pricing, navigated through the labyrinth of hidden costs, and hoisted the Jolly Roger of savvy saving strategies. We’ve discovered that answering “How much does a cruise ship cost?” is a bit like asking how long is a piece of rope. It all depends on factors like the cruise line, the type of cabin, the itinerary, the time of year, and whether you’re a fan of shore excursions or specialty dining.

Just remember, cruising isn’t just a vacation. It’s an experience like no other! It’s the thrill of waking up to a new destination each morning, dining under the stars in the middle of the ocean, and enjoying world-class entertainment all in one place. Cruise trips are like your favorite beachside buffet – they come with a spread of options, you just need to pick what suits your taste and budget.

So, whether you’re a budget-conscious Jack Sparrow or a lavish Captain Hook, there’s a cruise out there with your name on it. With so many cruise lines, ships, and itineraries to choose from, the world is truly your oyster – or rather, your ocean. Don’t be put off by the price tag, for there’s always a deal to be found, a discount to be had, or a budgeting trick to keep your cruise costs from heading into the Bermuda Triangle.

Remember, the adventure is out there; it’s just a cruise deal away! So get out there, fellow sea dogs, and find your perfect cruise. The horizon is calling. Fair winds and following seas, my friends!


How much does a 7-day cruise cost per person?

Ah, the classic week-long cruise! The cost of this salty escape can vary quite a bit, just like the Caribbean Sea’s varying shades of blue. Generally, you might be looking at anything from $500 to $5,000 per person, depending on factors like cruise line, cabin type, itinerary, and time of year. Keep an eye out for those cruise deals – they’re as coveted as a treasure map!

How much does a 3-day cruise cost?

A quick 3-day cruise, or what I like to call a “sprint on the sea,” can be a pretty affordable way to dip your toes in the water of cruising. Generally, you could find deals on expensive cruise ships ranging from $200 to $1000 per person. But remember, that’s just the ticket price. Don’t forget about the lurking additional costs like gratuities, drinks packages, and shore excursions!

Do you pay per day for a cruise?

In a way, yes! Cruise fares are usually quoted per person, based on double occupancy of a cabin, and calculated on a per-day basis. However, the price you see also includes a boatload (pun intended) of inclusions, like meals, entertainment, and access to amenities. Just remember, the rate might not include the sneaky additional costs we’ve been chatting about.

Is food free on cruises?

This is one of my favorite subjects: food! In most cases, food in the main dining venues, the buffet, and some casual spots onboard are included in your cruise fare. Think endless buffets, poolside burgers, and elegant main dining room dinners. However, specialty dining venues – like that scrumptious steakhouse or delightful sushi spot – will likely cost you extra. So you might not need to guard your dinner from pirates, but you will need to guard your wallet from those additional costs!