Over the past two and a half years, my husband and I have taken six cruises. Yep, you might say we had caught the cruising ‘bug’ and went a bit crazy. Our first cruise was in November, 2016 to the Western Caribbean and our most recent cruise was this past November to the Southern Caribbean. We’ve cruised the Eastern Caribbean twice, and took a cruise from NYC to Canada. (It’s amazing how much money gets freed up when you are done paying for college! 🙂 )
My husband and I had a blast on these trips. They were amazing. But they weren’t cheap.
We’ve discovered that there are many ‘hidden’ costs to cruising — everything from insurance, gratuities, and drinks to hotel stays, excursions and airline tickets. In fact, my mind was blown when I realized I could have hired a cleaning lady every week for a year for the price we paid for one week in the Caribbean on a cruise. Ouch.
Below is a typical budget for an 8 day, 7 night Caribbean cruise on a mid priced cruise line for a balcony cabin for two. I’ve included air fare and a one night hotel stay, because it’s always recommended to go a day early just in case something happens with your flight. (The ship won’t wait for you.) If you can drive to the port, lucky you! 🙂
A Sample Caribbean Cruise Budget
8 days, 7 nights – Balcony Cabin MidShip on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas in April.
- Cruise for two/taxes: $2,800.00
- Gratuities ($14.50x2x7): $203.00
- Insurance for two: $400.00
- Roundtrip airfare for two (Coach): $1,100.00 (from DCA-MIA)
- Hotel in Fl.: $150 – 250 (mid range)
- Uber/Taxi/Tips: $50.00
- Meals in Fl.: $50 – $100
- Specialty Restaurants: $100 (You will want to try one of them, trust me)
- Excursions: $100-$300 (This is on the low side if there are more than 2 ports)
- Drinks on ship: $200 (This is what we’ve spent for sodas, water, mixed drinks)
- Misc. tips: $50-$100
- Spending money: $250-$500 (depending on how much you like to shop and/or gamble 😉 ).
(I haven’t included all the clothes, accessories, luggage, etc. you purchase before you go on the cruise, so figure another $250).
Are you shocked? We were. We usually pay for everything separately which gave us the illusion that the trip cost less than it actually did.
Of course you can cruise less expensively. You can choose to cruise off-season. You can cruise with another less expensive cruise line (i.e. Carnival). You can drive to the port, get an inside cabin, never take an excursion, never eat in a specialty dining room or never purchase a souvenir. You can skip the insurance and stiff the help by not tipping. Or something in between. Your trip will still most likely cost $2,000.00 – $4,000.00.
So, is it worth the price? Only you can decide.
For us, it was. The time spent together and the memories that we made will be cherished forever.
The only difference is that now (since we know the true cost of cruising) we are being much more selective with our future cruising plans.
If you have cruised, please share! Did any expenses or the final cost surprise you?