How much does a cruise cost? If you're looking for an exotic vacation that allows you to enjoy fine dining, great entertainment, beaches, and the company of other like-minded tourists, you should consider taking a cruise. But how much does it cost?
First, some basic information about cruises, so you can understand why the prices vary like they do. Cruises are generally at least three days in length, and can last up to 21 days. Most cruises are an average seven days. Popular destinations for cruises are typically Caribbean countries like Jamaica, the Barbados and Bermuda, though Alaska remains a popular cruise destination.
Popular cruise lines include:
• Carnival (a very popular, if not THE most popular cruise line)
• Holland America
• Royal Caribbean
A year or two ago, the average price for a cruise was around $800-$1,000 a person for a seven-day cruise in the Caribbean or to Alaska.
Now, because of the current economic climate, cruise lines are offering spectacular deals for the tourist. Carnival currently offers three-day cruises for as little as $169! (Of course, conditions DO apply; you must be an "Early Saver" before you are eligible to get this price.)
Besides the actual cost of the cruise itself, there are other additional expenses that must be taken into account. For instance, if you live in Kansas and are taking a cruise that leaves from Miami, you must factor in airfare or carfare to Miami. On average, airfare can be $300 or more for each person.
On top of airfare or gas/rental cars to get to a port of departure, you have to take into consideration additional charges on the cruise. Drinks can be very expensive and some cruise lines add a 15% gratuity to the bill each time one of their personnel serves you a drink. Typically, at the end of the cruise, you are charged an additional 10% gratuity for each day. The amount of that gratuity depends upon the foodstuffs and drinks that you ordered during the cruise.
Services like laundry, massage therapy and other tourist amenities might also cost you additional money. On average, a 20-minute massage can cost you anywhere from $130 to $220! What might have seemed like a bargain at the onset could turn out to be a fortune spent once you're out in the middle of the ocean.
While cities of destination—like Kingston, Jamaica—have many great things to offer the tourist, you should keep in mind that the cruise line won't be financing your expenditures while you are out and about in a port of arrival. (Also, some items, while allowed in one country, might not be allowed on board a cruise ship. For a list of prohibited items, check with your travel agent or with a representative from the cruise line.)
Bottom line: the price of a cruise isn't just the cost of the actual cruise itself. Be sure to factor in amenities, money for shopping in port cities, clothes to wear on the cruise, and other items or necessities that might be a part of your travel.
Overall, a cruise is a very worthwhile expenditure, often giving you and your loved ones a trip of a lifetime. Bon voyage!