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Many vacation goers who spend time exploring the Caribbean islands choose to do so by cruise ship. A cruise can be a stress-free way to soak up the sun and sand at incredible tropical destinations.
If you're new to cruising, you may wonder, how much is a Caribbean cruise?
The total cost of a cruise can vary depending on many factors, such as the departure port, itinerary, length, travel dates and the type of cabin booked. Additionally, the desired experience you're going for can influence the cost.
A luxury, all-inclusive cruise will cost significantly more, while a no-frills Caribbean cruise can be cheaper. Before booking, find out what considerations you should make to determine the cost of a Caribbean cruise.
Anticipated Caribbean cruise costs
As you research potential Caribbean cruise itineraries, consider the total cost. Most cruise lines only show the base price of each cruise, and the price you see is usually the cost per person per room (based on double occupancy).
In addition to the base price, you can expect to pay taxes and port fees. Planning for all costs in advance can help you avoid surprises.
How much is a short-term cruise to the Caribbean?
We looked at a sample of four-night cruises to the Caribbean across multiple cruise lines departing in March 2024.
Based on our findings, we've determined an average base Caribbean cruise cost for less than a week to be $383 per person per room. This price doesn't include taxes, fees or other port expenses.
» Learn more: The best ways to book a cruise
How much is a weeklong cruise to the Caribbean?
Do you prefer to book a more extended cruise? We looked at a sample of seven-night cruises to the Caribbean across multiple cruise lines departing in March 2024.
Based on our findings, we've determined an average base Caribbean cruise cost for a week to be $635 plus taxes and port fees.
Carnival Cruise Line
New Orleans to Key West, Florida; Freeport, Bahamas and Nassau, Bahamas.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Nassau, Bahamas; Cozumel, Mexico and Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.
Miami to Isla de Roatan, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya, Mexico and Nassau, Bahamas.
Tampa, Florida to Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico; Cozumel, Mexico and Roatan, Honduras.
Miami to Roatan, Honduras; Costa Maya, Mexico and Bimini, Bahamas.
» Learn more: The best cruise lines
Costs to consider when planning a Caribbean cruise
For the sake of your budget, keep in mind that the base rate you see advertised isn't the full price you'll pay when you book a cruise. Below are some other expenses to be aware of as you plan your Caribbean cruise adventure:
Taxes and port fees
The advertised base price doesn't include taxes or port fees.
Exact prices vary depending on cruise length, destinations and other factors, but you should expect to pay an additional amount for these costs.
Some cruise lines allow you to prepay for gratuities when booking, but it's still an added expense, no matter when you pay,
If you don't prepay, many cruise lines will automatically bill gratuities to your onboard account during your cruise. Be sure to research policies and costs before booking your cruise so you're not surprised at the end of your trip.
The price that you see advertised is for the cheapest available option, which is likely an interior cabin.
If you want to book a cabin with an ocean view, a balcony or any other upgrades, expect to pay an upcharge. However, you can obtain a more affordable rate by booking a standard room.
When you book a cruise, various food offerings are included in the price you pay.
Typically you'll have access to buffets, dining room offerings and casual poolside fare. However, you may wish to splurge on premium beverages or dine at specialty restaurants. If that's the case, expect to budget for these additional costs.
It can be pricey to drink on a cruise. If you're paying per drink, expect to spend a lot of money.
Most cruise lines offer alcoholic drink packages that include specific types of beverages for a set price. You'll want to plan for this extra cost if you plan to drink on your vacation.
Booking shore excursions can be a great way to participate in local experiences at each port of call.
While booking through the cruise operator is convenient, it may cost more than exploring the port on your own. Plan to pay for any tours or activities you book, many of which start at $100 or more for a half-day adventure.
Unless you live in the port city you're departing from, you'll want to plan for extra travel costs. First, consider whether you can drive to the port or if you'll need to fly.
In addition to transit costs, you may need to budget for a hotel stay at your departure port. Those with travel credit cards may want to consider redeeming their rewards to cover the cost of a hotel or plane ticket.
» Learn more: The pros and cons of cruises
How to save money on the cost of a Caribbean cruise
Look for deals
If you want to score a reasonable Caribbean cruise price, look for deals.
Booking a cruise well in advance is one way to get a better price. Another way is to look for last-minute cruise deals. Many cruise lines discount prices a month or two before sailing to fill empty cabins.
Having the right credit card in your wallet may help you save money on a cruise, and cruise line-specific credit cards can be a good fit for brand loyalists.
Once you have collected enough points, you can redeem them for room upgrades, onboard credit, companion fares or even a discounted sailing.
Many cruise lines have free loyalty programs that can offer valuable benefits. Becoming a member can earn discounts or qualify for upgrades or other perks that make your next cruise more enjoyable.
These programs are best for loyal cruise-goers, but even first-time cruisers may find value in joining.
» Learn more: Seven tips for getting the best deal on your next cruise
Caribbean cruise cost recapped
Now that you know how much a Caribbean cruise costs, you can begin to plan an unforgettable cruise adventure.
Consider taking advantage of ways to save money, like booking a standard cabin, planning your cruise well in advance and using travel rewards credit cards to reduce overall travel costs.
If you're strategic, you can book a memorable — and affordable — cruise vacation.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card