The Cost of a Cruise

One of the most common misconceptions about cruising is that it is much more costly than other holiday types. However, by considering everything included in a cruise holiday you can quickly see that the value is like no other.

That being said, the price of a cruise may seem scary at first, so it is important to understand the cost breakdown and everything you get included. In addition to that, knowing how much to budget for a cruise is essential so you can be as prepared as possible.

In this article we’re going to look at different cruise ship prices, budget cruises and how to get the best price on a cruise.

Working out the Price of a Cruise

Working out the total cost of your cruise beforehand is important so that you can enjoy your holiday without any financial worries. It also allows you to budget accordingly and save over the course of a few months or the year if you want to.

1. Flights

One of the biggest extra costs can be getting to your departure port, especially when it’s overseas. At we’ll always try to offer you a Fly-Cruise price, which not only takes the hassle out of looking for your own flights but makes for clearer budgeting too.

Of course, if you feel like a city break before you sail, you’re free to book your own flights so you fly out at a time that suits you best but it’s worth noting that in peak season they’ll likely be more expensive. Unless you’re getting the train or a lift to and from the airport, there’s parking costs to consider too, though free airport parking is something we sometimes offer with our cruise deals.

If you’re departing from home shores, the cost of getting to your ship is likely to be a lot less but there are still fuel costs and cruise port parking to consider, or train or air fares if you’re not planning to drive yourself to your departure port.

2. Gratuities

Gratuities are a part of cruising and because cruise ships are largely cash-free and there are that many service elements involved in your cruise from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed, a daily gratuities charge is added to your room account, which is payable at the end of your cruise. This automatic charge ensures that everyone involved in looking after you during your cruise gets a fair share of your money. It makes for clearer budgeting too, because the daily charge is always outlined in the FAQ section of your cruise line’s website.

3. Cabin Choice

Junior Suite - Harmony of the Seas

Another potentially big cost is your choice of stateroom. Again, the price of interior, window and balcony accommodations are always clearly shown so you’ll know exactly what your room will cost but it’s worth noting that taking the step up to a room with a balcony will cost you more. On that note though, it’s not uncommon for lines to offer free upgrades to balcony rooms as the date of a cruise nears, which is something to bear in mind if you’re looking for extra value on a late deal.

4. Port Trips

Explore your ports of call to the best effect and you’ll certainly have a more satisfying holiday. While it’s true that you’re usually free to explore on your own, it always makes sense to book excursions if you’re visiting a destination which is an hour or two from port or one that you’ve never visited before. Depending on duration and what’s involved, the cost of these can vary greatly but the best way to get the best value and clearly budget before you set sail is by booking your excursions in advance. Cruise lines may offer packages specific to certain itineraries, saving you money and time and helping you to plan ahead.

5. Drinks


Though all your food is included in the cost of your cruise, drinks are not and that goes for soft drinks too. If you like a drink or if a meal is not complete without a bottle of good wine, the cost can soon mount up. One of the most cost-effective ways of budgeting is to buy a drinks package before you sail, which will be added to your room account. It’s worth noting that such packages are sometimes offered as free added extras when booking your cruise.

6. Speciality Dining

All your meals are included on your cruise, and you’ll have more than enough choice when it comes to mouth-watering menus and complimentary dining venues. However, there’s always the option of a meal in one of your ship’s speciality dining venues, which involves a cover charge per person. Of course, this is completely optional and may not affect the cost of your cruise at all but it’s worth noting if you are planning to treat yourself.

7. Indulgence

Lotus Spa - Princess Cruises

Another completely optional cost is making use of the health, beauty and spa treatments offered on-board your ship. If you want a new do for that special black-tie night or fancy treating yourself to a facial, such things are often not included in the cost of your cruise, so if you are planning to be pampered on holiday, prepare to pay extra.

How to Budget for a Cruise

With all of the above considered you should be able to accurately budget for your cruise. But how exactly should you do that? We have some top tips that should help you with budgeting for your next cruise.

1. Pay for everything you can in advance

This is one of our best tips – and should be fairly easy with a cruise as there are so many packages and add-ons you can choose ahead of your trip. By paying for things in advance you won’t have to worry about how much you need to take on your cruise. You can also often split the cost over a period of months in the lead up to your cruise – which is a little easier on your wallet. Paying in advance also helps to prevent you overspending whilst you are travelling as everything you need is already paid for.

2. Start a savings pot

From the above we hope you are better able to work out the cost of your cruise, including savings needed for the holiday itself. Now you have a goal amount to save, we suggest adding 10-20% just to be sure, and setting this as your savings goal.

Split this out into monthly or weekly goals, and it’ll make it seem more manageable. You can always add lump sums when you can to make it a little easier to save. By doing this, you’ll see your spending money come together in no time. And, if you have any leftover after your holiday, you can spend it on your next holiday!

3. Automatic savings

With the above in mind, it is also incredibly beneficial to set up automatic savings. With some current accounts and savings apps, you can do this in a variety of ways. However, the easiest way is to set up a direct debit from your current account to a savings account.

If you set it up so that your savings, come out of your salary each pay day you won’t even notice the amount coming out and it’ll make it much easier for you to save the money. Whereas if you have to transfer your savings manually, there is always the temptation to spend it elsewhere!

Cruise Ship Prices and Budget Cruises

Of course, one of the best ways to save money on a cruise is to bag a bargain on a budget cruise, of which we have plenty of options.

Across various cruise lines we have cheap cruises available – from the likes of Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises and MSC just to name a few. Of course, there are other ways to save money as well. Cruise ship prices vary massively depending on departure ports, trip duration, destinations and ships. However, you can always keep an eye for deals across some of the biggest cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean. There are many ways to save money – whether that be through paying less for your cruise in general or by opting for all-inclusive options to save yourself money in the long run.

In terms of how to get the best price on a cruise, there are a few ways you can look to save money. Many people choose to wait out for a late deal and save money this way – however, that doesn’t always work out. If you are willing to risk waiting it can be a great way to save some pennies but if not, we would suggest booking in advance. You can also always give us a call to discuss our best packages and our expert cruise concierge are always happy to help find the best priced package for what you’re looking for. If you don’t have specific destinations or durations in mind there are plenty of doors open to you and an even greater chance for you to bag the best deal.

View all of our incredible cruise deals and latest itineraries.

Charlotte Richards

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