The Great Lakes – the azure crown jewels of North America, holds a sheer volume of freshwater that’s enough to flood the entire continent. Imagine setting sail on a great lakes cruise where every twist and turn on these majestic lakes unravels a new spectacle. But there’s a catch, a mystery yet to be explained – why are Great Lakes cruises so expensive?

You see, these aren’t your regular run-of-the-mill lake tours, no sir. We’re talking about a floating luxury resort experience, one that makes you feel like the captain of your destiny. Ocean cruises may offer a vast sea of possibilities, but a Great Lakes cruise is an exclusive club, a concierge service on water if you will. Yes, my friends, we’re about to embark on an adventure to uncover why this luxurious voyage has an equally luxurious price tag. Buckle up!

great lakes cruise, great lakes cruise ships, cruise line

What Makes Great Lakes Cruises Unique?

Great Lakes cruises offer a distinct spectacle that’s akin to finding an uncut diamond in your backyard. It’s not just about the breathtaking beauty of these vast freshwater lakes; it’s the unique, unforgettable experiences they offer.

Welcome aboard the ‘Lake Superior Supreme,’ where you can wake up to the spectacular view of sunrise glinting off Lake Superior. By noon, you could be marveling at the imposing cliffs of Thunder Bay. Come evening, you may find yourself under the mesmerizing spell of a Lake Michigan sunset.

cruise ships, great lakes cruise ships

Great Lake’s unique attractions don’t just stop at stunning natural beauty. Think iconic cities that emerge from the shores like mirages, each with a distinct flavor and charm. Add to that an array of bespoke shore excursions – from culinary delights to historical landmarks – and you realize that a Great Lakes cruise is not just a journey, it’s an immersive sensory experience. You’re not just on a cruise; you’re on a curated adventure!

Are River Cruises More Costly Than Ocean Cruises?

The first glance at a river cruise price might make your bank account shudder. But don’t let that £1400 tag fool you. It’s like an all-inclusive resort; those extra amenities are baked right in. We’re talking wine and beer with meals (sommelier approved), steady WiFi for all your ‘humble-bragging’ needs, and even airport transfers, so you feel like a VIP from the moment you land.

Ocean cruises, on the other hand, seem to be the budget travelers’ dream. £875 for an ocean cruise? Sounds like a steal! But before you reach for your wallet, remember this: ocean cruises are a bit like à la carte menus – add-ons galore. Your initial price might not include your beverages, WiFi, and those darn airport transfers. You’d be lucky if they included a good morning!

When you tally up the entire expense list, including all those sneaky extras like excursions, taxes, and gratuities, the overall cost of river and ocean cruises is like two peas in a pod. Or should we say, two ships in a sea? So, remember, just as with cruising through life, when it comes to choosing your cruise, look beyond the sticker price!

How Much Are Great Lakes Cruises?

So you’re hooked! The allure of the next Great Lakes cruise season has you dreamily gazing at nautical maps and envisioning yourself aboard a luxurious vessel, gliding over the sapphire-blue waters. Now, onto the nuts and bolts: “How much are these fantastic Great Lakes cruises?“, you ask. Buckle up, my friend. Let’s dive into the treasure chest to find out!

Great Lakes Cruises, nature, scenery, great lakes region

Great Lakes cruises are like premium chocolate truffles; you can’t quite call them cheap, but the exquisite taste… oh, so worth it! A typical Great Lakes cruise, hovering between 7 and 10 nights, would set you back around $5,000 per person as a starting point. Remember, this is not a one-size-fits-all price tag. Depending on the choice of your stateroom, the cost can vary.

If you’ve got an eye for the penthouse views, staterooms on higher decks command a higher price, rewarding you with an unparalleled panorama. And then, there are the suites! Ah, the crème de la crème of cruising, promising a plusher experience for a few more clams.

“But why so costly?” you might wonder. Remember, on a Great Lakes cruise, you’re signing up for much more than just a journey. It’s a ticket to a meticulously crafted, high-quality cruising experience, where every whim is catered to, every desire is met with a warm smile, and every view is a priceless masterpiece.

Why Are Great Lakes Cruises So Expensive?

Ah, the age-old question that keeps many a traveler awake at night: “Why, oh why, are Great Lakes cruises so expensive?” Well, pull up a deck chair and don your captain’s hat, as we venture into the waters of this perplexing riddle.

great lakes cruises cost, cruise ships, cruise line

There Are No Interior Staterooms.

You know how ocean cruises tempt you with bargain-basement prices, only to reveal those are for windowless interior cabins? And suddenly, your budget-friendly voyage feels like being stuck in an elevator? Well, Great Lakes cruise ships don’t play that game. On these trips, internal staterooms are not available. Every cabin comes with a view worthy of a postcard. It’s like an endless all-you-can-see buffet of stunning scenery.

The Seasonal Affair

Great Lakes cruises are a bit like seasonal produce – they’re not available year-round. Our reliable waterway, the St. Lawrence Seaway, which connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean, only operates from late March to early December. The majority of the Great Lakes cruises happen between May and September, making them as exclusive as a limited-edition vinyl record. High demand, short seasons, and exclusivity inevitably raise the prices.

These Ships Are the Prima Donnas of the Cruise World

On board a Great Lakes cruise ship, you’re not just a passenger; you’re a guest at a five-star floating resort. These ships are tailored for luxury cruising, boasting opulent interiors, top-tier amenities, and service that would make a butler envious. With most Great Lakes cruises though, you get what you pay for a premium cruise experience.

petite ship, great lakes cruises

Great Lakes Ships Are on the Petite Side

Unlike their ocean-going cousins, Great Lakes ships are designed to fit the region’s narrow waterways comfortably. So, you won’t see any Titanic-sized behemoths around here. Limited passenger capacity means fewer passengers to share the fixed costs, pushing the higher costs of the prices per head a tad higher.

Where’s the Competition, Mate?

In the world of Great Lakes cruising, there are only a handful of cruise operators around. It’s not exactly the bustling marketplace you see with ocean cruises. This lack of competition means they can charge more. It’s like being the only ice cream stand on a hot summer day at the beach!

You Get More Bang for Your Buck

Great Lakes cruises tend to offer more than your typical ocean cruise rates. The gratuities, WiFi, and frequent drink packages are all included in the fare. So, no need to worry about those surprise expenses popping up left and right like on an ocean cruise.

Great Lakes Cruises Are for the Young at Heart, But Often Older in Age

Great Lakes cruises have a special place in the hearts of retirees who have the means to splurge a bit on their adventures. With a demographic willing to pay for an exceptional experience, the prices of ocean cruise ships don’t need to dip.

How to Get a Great Lakes Cruise Cheaper?

Is there a way to sail the Great Lakes without selling a kidney?” You ask with a twinkle in your eye. Fear not, my adventurous friend! Scouring the crystal-clear waters of the Great Lakes doesn’t have to be an exercise in financial acrobatics. Let’s navigate some effective ways to grab a front-row seat to this magnificent spectacle, without breaking your piggy bank.

Harness the Power of a Travel Agent

No, they’re not mythical creatures from travel lore. Trustworthy travel agents are still around, and they can be your secret weapon to snagging a Great Lakes cruise on a budget. These savvy navigators of travel deals have the inside track on discounts that aren’t typically available to the general public. So, forget about that common misconception of saving only by booking directly with the cruise line. Your travel agent could well be your ticket to a sweeter deal.

Travel agents, great lakes

Eagle Eye for Deals

Patience and a bit of luck could be your allies when looking for a cheaper cruise. If you’re flexible and ready to pack at a moment’s notice, last-minute deals could be your golden ticket. Unoccupied cabins often get reduced closer to the sail date. So, put on your deal-spotter glasses, sign up for notification emails from travel agents and ocean cruise lines, and let those offers come to you!

offer great lakes cruises, ocean cruise ships deals

Flexibility is the Key

Speaking of flexibility, the ability to adjust your travel dates can go a long way toward trimming down the cost of a Great Lakes cruise. Willing to travel a little out-of-season? You might trade a few degrees of temperature for significant savings. You’ll still experience the charm of the Great Lakes, albeit with a bit of money and more wind in your hair!

great lakes cruise travel date

Lower Deck, Lower Cost

If you’re content to trade the loftier views of the higher decks for a friendly price tag, booking a room on a lower deck is an effective cost-saving strategy. Although most staterooms offer a similar layout, those perched on the higher decks come with a premium for the view. A well-placed stateroom on a lower deck can still provide a fantastic (and more affordable) window to the aquatic wonderland outside.

cruise operators, great lakes cruise


Sailing towards the horizon, we’ve navigated through the enchanting allure and have been enlightened on the conundrum – “Why are great lakes cruises so expensive”. At first glance, the price tag can make eyebrows soar higher than the ship’s mast. But we’ve delved beneath the surface, exploring the myriad factors contributing to this seemingly princely sum.

From boutique-like ships tailored for luxury to exclusivity offered by the limited cruising season, these cruises are designed to deliver an unmatched experience. There are no cramped interior staterooms here; instead, every room offers stunning vistas of nature’s grandeur. Add to that the top-tier service, wonderful amenities, and a wealth of included extras like gratuities, Wi-Fi, and even drinks packages.

The Great Lakes cruise might be a playground for the elite, but the splendor it presents is worth every penny. This journey unravels a rare tapestry of beauty and tranquility, a celebration of the North America’s Great Lakes region’s natural treasures , and an experience that is, quite simply, priceless.

Moreover, we’ve charted the waters of cost-saving, proving that with the right strategies and a dash of flexibility, this dream voyage isn’t reserved just for the deep-pocketed. By leveraging travel agents’ power, keeping an eye for deals, being flexible with your dates, and opting for a lower-deck stateroom, your Great Lakes adventure might be closer than you think.

In conclusion, the high cost of a Great Lakes cruise is a testament to its immense value and the unique experiences it offers. So, go ahead, step aboard and let the whispering waves of the Great Lakes tell you their stories. After all, some experiences are worth more than their weight in gold.