1. Home
  2. Planning
  3. Cruise Tips and Advice
  4. Cruise Pricing by Destination

Cruise Pricing by Destination

Aerial from Palm beach at Aruba in the Caribbean Sea (Photo: Steve Photography/Shutterstock)
Aerial from Palm beach at Aruba in the Caribbean Sea (Photo: Steve Photography/Shutterstock) (Photo:Steve Photography/Shutterstock)

Find a Cruise

You've decided it's time to take that cruise to Alaska (or the Caribbean or the Mediterranean) you keep hearing about. But you're not sure how much it's going to cost you. The Mediterranean sounds awfully expensive, but what about Alaska? Perhaps a New England and Canada cruise would be more affordable?

Cruise pricing is never static; no matter which region you choose to sail, prices ebb and flow. Cruise line (and even the specific ship within the line, since newer vessels tend to command more), time of year, length of trip and, of course, cabin type are all factors that affect the price of a cruise. Plus, what's included -- or not included -- determines the overall affordability of any given sailing. But some destinations are generally more affordable than others.

Updated September 6, 2018

Cruise Critic compared sample itineraries in five popular cruise regions, using our Find a Cruise tool, to help you understand roughly how much you can expect to pay for any given region, breaking fares down into "low," "average" and "high" categories.

While perusing the sample pricing we turned up, you'll note that the low and average rates for any given itinerary are offered by the mainstream lines, while the highest-priced cruises are almost always the domain of the upscale lines. Keep in mind that the same line sometimes spills over into multiple categories, for example in instances where there's a costlier itinerary featured on a premium or newer ship within the line, or in some cases, when it features a more in-demand itinerary within a region.

(Prices cited reflect entry-level cabins and are listed per person, based on double occupancy, for 2018/2019 cruises. Rates are not inclusive of any additional taxes or fees, and can change at any time.)


Iles des Saintes (Photo: Robert Bleecher/Shutterstock.com)

The Caribbean is a year-round cruising destination blessed with (nearly) consistent sunny climes and easy access from cities fronting the Eastern Seaboard (most especially from Florida) and Gulf of Mexico. Winter months are prime time for warm-weather cruises, fueled by cruisers looking to escape blustery weather back home. Prices are usually at their highest during the end-of-year holidays, as well as during the summer school vacation period; you'll find deals if you're willing to chance sailing during the height of the post-summer hurricane season between September and November.

Caribbean sailings run the gamut from quickie four-nighters to lengthy two-weekers, but the bulk of regional itineraries run a standard one week.

Sample Itinerary: Seven-night cruises sailing from Miami in January

Low: Starting from $379 to $599, on lines like Carnival, MSC, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean Average: Starting from $683 to $1,128, on lines like Celebrity, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean

High: Starting from $1,649 to $2,899, on lines like Oceania and Viking


Florence, Italy (Photo: Nattee Chalermtiragool/Shutterstock)

The Mediterranean offers a wide selection of departure ports (with biggies like Barcelona, Rome and Athens), making this destination tough to narrow down. A year-round sailing destination, the summer months are the busiest -- and priciest – when school's out and the beaches are in full swing. You'll find fewer sailing options and cooler (but not cold) temps during the off-peak winter months, but can hone in on comparative bargains. Fall and spring cruises fall right smack in between summer and winter in terms of pricing and temps.

As it's difficult to see much in less than a week, you won't see many Med itineraries running less than seven nights in duration (with the vast majority of offerings falling within the 7- to 14-night range), though a handful of lines do run five-nights-or-less jaunts, too.

Sample Itinerary: Seven-night sailings from Barcelona in October

Low: Starting from $449 to $649, on lines like Costa and MSC

Average: Starting from $779 to $1,549, on lines like Celebrity, Costa, MSC, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean

High: Starting from $1,799 to $3,799, on lines like Crystal, Seabourn, Oceania and Windstar


Ketchikan, Alaksa (Photo:Ramunas Bruzas/Shutterstock)

May through September is Alaska's sailing season, with June through August comprising the peak (and priciest) period; May and September fall on the fringes, offering the coolest weather, but the biggest bargains. Departing from Seattle is typically an easier and less expensive trek than flying to embarkation ports like Vancouver, or Seward or Anchorage within Alaska.

With travelers coming some distance to cruise here with destination immersion in mind, there are only a handful of Alaska sailings that are less than a week in duration; the majority of voyages are scheduled for seven nights, though you'll find plenty of options in the eight- to 14-night range, as well.

Sample Itinerary: Seven-night sailings from Seattle in June

Low: Starting from $849 to $899, on Holland America

Average: Starting from $984 to $1,564, on lines like Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean

High: Starting from $1,699, on Oceania


Maui (Photo:Artazum/Shutterstock)

Hawaii sailings are on offer year-round, and there's no bad time to sail here weather-wise (apart from a mild winter wet season). Pricing tends to spike during the winter months (thanks to an influx of winter-fleeing sun-seekers), and again over the summer holidays.

The shortest available option here is a weeklong cruise, sailing round trip from Honolulu (on Norwegian), though the majority of available itineraries fall within the 10- to 15-night range -- lengthier in duration because of the time needed to cruise round trip from the West Coast. Most of these involve a one-way run between Honolulu and Vancouver, or operate round trip from cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Sample Itinerary: 10- to 15-night cruises in April

Low: Starting from $969, on Carnival

Average: Starting from $1,169 to $1,499, on lines like Carnival and Celebrity

High: Starting from $1,629 to $1,749, on lines like Celebrity and Princess

Canada & New England

Portland (Maine) (Photo:Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

The seasonal Canada and New England cruise calendar runs from May through October, with the bulk of regional sailings timed to coincide with the area's peak foliage period. Accordingly, fall months attract leaf-peeping devotees; summer months reel in more of a family clientele (with cruise fares during both periods priced pretty similarly). Cruising on either end of the sailing season in May or late October means that temperatures can get chilly, especially the further north you head into Canada.

Primary embarkation ports include Baltimore, Bayonne (New Jersey), Boston and New York, as well as Montreal and Quebec City in Canada. Given the vast swath of coastline to cover, sailings rarely fall below seven nights in length, and more frequently run in the duration of 10 to 14 nights.

Sample Itinerary: 10- to 14-night cruises from NYC in October

Low: Starting from $729 to $849, on lines like Holland America and Norwegian

Average: Starting from $999 to $1,804, on lines like Celebrity, Holland America, Princess and Windstar

High: Starting from $3,635 to $8,715, on lines like Crystal, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn and Silversea

Find a Cruise

Popular on Cruise Critic

7 Best Cruise Lines for Solo Travelers
How often are you able to make your our own vacation choices… to wander the world and contemplate life on your own terms? The liberation of a solo cruise -- of not having to be responsible for anyone's pleasure but your own -- allows you to appreciate the experience on an entirely different level than when you're with a friend, spouse or family member. However, in this coupled-up world, a solo traveler can find it difficult to cruise alone. Mega-ships don't make it easy to meet people and run into them again onboard, and harried crew members don't always have the time to dote on lone cruisers. Open-seating dining and reservations-only restaurants are not always friendly to singles who do not wish to dine alone. Then there's the issue of cost: A solo can expect to pay between 125 and 200 percent of the published cruise fare to cover the cost of the "missing" passenger. Some cruise lines do make an effort to cater to solos. Some will greatly reduce or even waive single supplements in an effort to fill berths, or offer meet-and-greets or group dining for single cruisers. Additionally, several lines now offer dedicated solo cabins, touting priced-for-one fares that generally run higher than the per-person cost for a double occupancy cabin, but lower than assuming the cost of the single supplement on a standard cabin. (See The Truth About Solo Cabins for more info on how fares for solo-dedicated cabins stack up.) All that said, here is a look at the seven best lines for those who like their "alone time."
A Guide to Cruise Line Drink Packages
Hate paying individually for drinks on a mainstream cruise ship -- or perhaps you've been known to run up a huge bar tab onboard? You might be the ideal candidate for an alcohol-inclusive drinks package, offered by the majority of mainstream cruise lines. Found somewhere between the ubiquitous soda packages and the included-in-your-fare booze of most luxury lines, these programs let cruisers pay one base price that covers most -- if not all -- of their nonalcoholic and alcoholic drinks onboard. Of course, while high prices and annoying fine print may persuade some travelers to go it a la carte, for others, the freedom to sample brightly colored cocktails and wines of unknown provenance can be too appealing to ignore. See below for a line-by-line guide to available drink packages, followed by some Cruise Critic reader reactions to the programs.
7 Cruise Cabin Hacks That Will Change the Way You Cruise Forever
Your cruise ship cabin is your home away from home when you're at sea. But unlike your own bedroom, you can't tweak the space given to you by the cruise line if you find something lacking (like having nowhere to hang your jacket or struggling with where to put your wet bathing suit). Or can you? Given the growing popularity of life hacks (those nifty tweaks you can use to make life just a little bit easier), Cruise Critic has put together a list of clever solutions to minor cabin irritations like the lack of hanging or drawer space or the need for a night light. And we're not just talking about that tried-and-true hack of throwing an over-the-door shoe holder on the bathroom door to collect all your bits and bobs. Here are seven great cruise cabin travel hacks that will change the way you cruise forever.
Sneaking Alcohol on a Cruise: 5 Reasons You Should Never Try It
Sneaking alcohol on a cruise has always been a popular pastime for those who are willing to break the rules to avoid paying for drinks onboard. Mainstream cruise lines prohibit passengers from bringing their own liquor, beer and other alcohol (with the exception of wine or Champagne) on ships. Why spend more money than you have to, when you can try to pull a fast one on security staff? While the worst that likely will happen is a trip to the naughty room and having your prized bottle of Caribbean rum confiscated, we can think of five reasons why you shouldn't sneak alcohol on a cruise. Don't worry, rule-breakers: You can still enjoy a carefree vacation by cutting in line at the buffet and hogging as many deck chairs as your heart desires.

Find a Cruise