Can I afford a cruise?

One of the reasons people shy away from cruises is simply because of the price. Many people are not afraid of the initial price, but the hidden expenses you might come across. So I’m going to break my last cruise down to show how much can be spent and what are some of the “extras” you can do without.

1.) The initial cost of the cruise:

Harmony of the Seas (Inaugural Season) Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony, Western Caribbean: $1,867.00 USD – Let us break down that price.

When you book your cruise you will get booking confirmation. In the center of that booking confirmation you are going to see this:

What is this Gibberish?

Cruise Fare: Your price per person

CAS Balc Suite: Crown and Anchor Discount (Loyalty discount)

30% Savings: Where the promotion discount will be listed if any.

Taxes, Fees and port expenses: Self-explanatory and yes you have to pay this even if you do not get off at the ports.

Total Charge: Your Total

Amount Paid: How much you have paid until this point

Balance Due: What you owe

The full balance of your cruise is typically due 75 days before your departure date. Typically you can book about two years out from your cruise and you can make monthly payments.

**These are not up to date promotions please click below to see current promotions**

Promotions and Discounts:

If you have never cruised before you will not get a loyalty discount, however, you can absolutely take advantage of any promotion that is happening. When my family and I booked the Harmony royal was running a 30% off every guest sale. The initial price was $3,278.00 USD and the promotional deduction brings us to $2,135.00

Taxes, Fees, and Port expenses:

This is a mandatory expense, therefore, it is better to consider it as part of the overall cost. These fees for this specific cruise are $116.36 per person

Total cost of 7 night western caribbean cruise onboard Harmony of the Seas 2017: $2,367.72 USD


A deposit must be made at the time of the booking to hold your cabin. Typically this is $250.00 per person unless there is a reduced deposit promotion running. When you decide to book make sure you have at least $500.00 to put down and then that will come off your total amount.

$2,367.72- $500.00 deposit = $1,867.72

2) Gratuities:

As of February 2017, the gratuities per person per day on Royal Caribbean International are roughly $13.50. This expense will show up daily on your onboard account and will be paid at the end of the cruise. If you do not agree with this charge do not book a cruise, the crew deserves every last penny of their gratuities. Total gratuities per person for a 7-day cruise: $94.50 per person.

You are allowed to tip more if you like if a crewmember stood out to you and went above and beyond!

Total tips:

$94.50+ $50.00 (optional)= $144.50

3) Pre-cruise stay:

I always suggest flying in 1 night before your cruise so you don’t have to worry about any flight delays or cancellations before getting to your ship. Remember that the ship will not wait for you if you are not there on time.

Average hotel stay in Ft Lauderdale: $150.00 -$300.00. Choose the cheaper hotels because you are only going to be there for one night.

My cost for hotel stay was $300.00 split between three people: $100.00 each- optional

4) Transportation to and from Pier:

A majority of hotels will have a shuttle set up for the morning of your cruise. They are typically offered on a first come first served basis, offer a variety of times and will charge you between $10 and $15 each way depending on which port you are going to (Ft. Lauderdale or Miami). If you pay round-trip upfront with cash you will have a guaranteed ride to the ship from the hotel and from the ship to the airport at the end of your cruise.

P.S.- If there is a group of 12 or more they will typically offer a private shuttle for less per person.

My cost for transportation to and from the pier was $16

5) Excursions:

Most cruise lines have online portals where you can book excursions on all the islands you are visiting. Excursion range in price from $25.00 per person to $1,300.00 per person and every island is different. I highly recommend an excursion if you have never been to Specific Island, but if you have been there you can get away with not spending money on excursions.

My cost for excursions:

Labadee, Haiti:

Parasailing: $85.00

Falmouth, Jamaica:

Dunns River Falls transport and Rum Tasting: $39.00

Entrance to duns river falls: $20.00 (cash)

Cozumel, Mexico:

Snorkeling and Tequila Tasting: $39.00

Total Excursion cost: $183.00 - optional

6) Beverage Package:

If you are even a slight drinker and plan on drinking while you’re on your cruise buy a beverage package. The average drink onboard a cruise ship is about $12, the average beer is $8, and the average glass of wine is $10. On Royal Caribbean, the “Deluxe Beverage Package” is the only beverage package that includes alcohol is $55 per day per person. Before you think that is too pricey I can honestly say that I have never once paid full price for a beverage package on Royal Caribbean. For instance, in January of 2017, I paid $48 per day for the deluxe beverage package, which just so happened to include onboard Internet (thanks to a black Friday sale). Always remember to add an 18% gratuity charge to that beverage package total; this pays for your tips for the week for the bartenders.

Total Beverage and Internet cost: $396.48- optional

7) Internet:

Do you need it? If you are traveling with others I highly suggest the Internet to keep in contact with each other while around the ship. The Internet allows you to keep in contact with each other that will allow you all to do what you want and meet up when you would like. So yes to the Internet package and typically the Internet is $16 a day per person. Let’s all hope the Internet and beverage package will be combined as a deal again!

8) Dining:

Yes, all the food you could possibly imagine is included in your cruise ticket price however, you do have the options to dine in specialty restaurants for a fee. Typically you will pay between $20- $100 per person but the average price on a Royal Caribbean ship is about $50 per person. This expense is totally optional but I highly recommend splurging to try a phenomenal restaurant onboard.

Total cost for specialty dining: $50 -optional

9) Airfare:

Airfare is totally different for everyone it depends on where you are traveling from and to, the time of year, the airline and so many other factors. If you are traveling from within the U.S., depending on the time of year, you are likely to pay anywhere from $200- $700 for round-trip airfare.

Total Cost for Airfare in January 2017 from New England to Southern Florida: $290

Total cost: $2,363.00

Monthly payments for 2 years: $98.00

Monthly payments for 1 year: $197.00

Total cost without the optional expenses: $1,584.00

Monthly payments for 2 years: $66.00

Monthly payments for 1 year: $132.00

Overall the price of a cruise is completely worth it and varies depending on time of year, cruise line, destination etc. no matter what the cost, remember that you cruise can be paid off monthly from the time you book it until the time your last payment is due, this could mean that you can pay monthly on your cruise for 2 years. So do what you have wanted to do and go BOOK YOUR CRUISE!

Click here to check out the prices on Royal Caribbean

Click here to check out the prices on Carnival Cruise Line

Click here to check out the prices on Norwegian Cruise Line

Click here to check out the prices on Celebrity Cruises

Click here to check out the prices on Princess Cruises

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