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A cruise to the Bahamas delivers fun in the sun and beautiful scenery. Of course, there’s great shopping, dining and watersports on the islands, too. With a cruise, the journey is just as much fun as the destination. But how much is a cruise to the Bahamas? The answer: it depends.
There are incredible deals for shorter three-night cruises that can appear online for less than $100, but a longer cruise in the most luxe cabin can reach into five digits during certain times of year. The average cost of a cruise to the Bahamas will vary by the length and time of year, but can be less than $1,000 for a short cruise. It is even more enticing if you live close to a cruise port and can drive instead of fly to the port to save on costs. With cruises to the Bahamas taking place all year long, consider avoiding holiday periods if you want to save more.
Here are some important considerations to keep in mind when determining the cost of a cruise to the Bahamas. It may be cheaper than you think if you can use miles and points on a trip or are willing to forgo some frills on board.
How much is a Bahamas cruise?
Cruises advertise the base price of a sailing, which often doesn’t include taxes and port fees. The super-low numbers you see at first may not be entirely transparent. You’ll want to consider the taxes and fees as well as the type of cabin you book on board.
The base fare for a cruise can be around $169 for an entry-level room on a shorter cruise, but some promotions can drop the price down to $98. These prices are typically for two or three-night cruises before taxes and fees. These prices are per person and based on at least two people being in the cabin (double occupancy).
We looked at a sample of shorter-term cruises to the Bahamas across multiple cruise lines in October 2023. Based on our findings, we’ve determined an average base price for a Bahamas cruise for less than a week to be $186.50.
Miami to Nassau.
Miami to Nassau and Bimini.
Port Canaveral to Nassau.
Port Canaveral to CocoCay.
Note that this doesn’t account for myriad expenses, such as travel getting to/from the port of departure, as well as other typical expenses that we outline below.
» Learn more: The best cruise lines
Additional expenses to plan for, beyond the base price
Taxes and port fees
Sometimes, the taxes and port fees can be almost as much as the cost of a cruise, if you find a really cheap fare. For example, the $149 cruise fare with Carnival above has taxes and fees of $129.20 per person. All of a sudden, the starting price for that cruise is $278 per person. But that’s not all.
All of the people that take care of you on board rely on tips as part of their salary. While some cruise lines may package gratuities into the rates, many do not. There are standard flat rates that are used as a suggestion for how much to tip.
For example, Carnival’s gratuity suggestion is $14.50 per person, per day for a standard cabin and $16.50 per person, per day for a suite. If you book the lowest category room, a three-day cruise for two people would cost $87 for gratuities. This is just for the stateroom attendant. If you order drinks in the bar or dine in the restaurant, you’d want to tip there, too.
For the purposes of the rate, let’s add the gratuity to the base cost and taxes. That comes to $321.50 per person for a three day cruise for two people (or $643 total for the couple).
Cruise lines, like any other business, advertise their lowest fares, but there are opportunities to upgrade to a higher cabin. Perhaps, you prefer a cabin with a large window or one with a balcony. If you want a suite, it will cost even more. Keep this in mind when considering how much a Bahamas cruise is because it is easy to see the costs spiral out of control if you’re not careful.
One helpful tip is to join a cruise line’s loyalty program. If you travel with one cruise line often enough, you can earn elite status, which comes with different benefits. These can include cabin upgrades, discounts for onboard services like laundry or the gift shop, welcome drinks and other perks that can slash the cost of a cruise.
» Learn more: How to earn and redeem points on cruises
Cruise credit cards
Other perks are reserved for cardholders of a co-branded credit card with the cruise line. Savvy sailors know that this can be another great way to save money on a Bahamas cruise cost. The Carnival World Mastercard has no annual fee and the ability to earn 20,000 FunPoints, enough to redeem a $200 statement credit toward your next cruise. The card also offers a 10% discount for onboard shore excursions.
If you apply that $200 credit toward the earlier example of the starting cabin price without any shore excursions, the price suddenly drops. It may make sense to look into a no-free credit card for the cruise line you are using before setting sail.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
How much is a week cruise to the Bahamas?
Obviously, the longer the cruise, the more expensive it can become. This is especially important to consider if flying to a cruise port rather than driving since your expenses would be potentially higher. If you’re paying for a flight, you might as well enjoy a longer sailing.
You’ll also have shore excursions and onboard activities that you’ll want to consider as part of the overall cost. Here are some important factors that can affect a cruise to the Bahamas cost.
We looked at a sample of weeklong cruises to the Bahamas across multiple cruise lines in fall 2023. Based on our findings, we’ve determined an average base price for roughly weeklong cruises to be $570.
Baltimore to Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Freeport.
Tampa to Nassau and Bimini.
Port Canaveral to Ocean Cay (Bahamas) and Costa Maya, Cozumel (Mexico).
Cape Liberty to Orlando, CocoCay and Nassau.
Again, these base prices are semi-misleading as you will still need to cover costs related to taxes and port fees, gratuities and more.
Additional expenses of longer cruises to plan for
Beyond the expenses outlined above, longer cruises often call for more opportunities to try land-based adventures and other special activities. Here’s what else you might want to account for as you plan for your Bahamas cruise budget.
Many people prefer to explore on their own in the islands rather than book an expensive shore excursion. This can save substantially on the overall cost, but you would be responsible for any additional expenses if you do not return in time to the ship on time before it leaves.
Review the ports of call and decide what you want to do before you board. You may be able to organize a cheaper excursion with a local vendor or just take a taxi to get out and explore on your own schedule.
Cruise ships have plenty of free food. You’ll find buffets, poolside snacks, late-night dining and everything in between to keep you satiated. But if you’re looking for a more upscale experience, some cruise lines have added specialty restaurants that carry an additional charge.
This can include Japanese sushi or teppanyaki venues, gourmet steakhouses and celebrity chef-inspired restaurants. If you visit these restaurants, there is an added, per-person cost. The quality of food and the experience will certainly be notably higher though.
The fee will depend on the restaurant. For example, a burger joint may cost around $7, but a super-fancy venue can be more than $100. The average price of a specialty restaurant, per person (before gratuity or alcoholic drinks), is $30-50.
Cruise lines may include tap water, juices, coffee, and hot or iced tea, but on mainstream cruise lines, most drinks (including soft drinks) have a surcharge. This can include specialty coffee drinks like a cappuccino or espresso. If you get thirsty for something even heavier, like wine, beer or a cocktail, these have a cost, too.
You can choose to pay as you go or opt for one of many different beverage packages — ranging from bottled water all the way up to the most premium liquors — which may make sense if you consume a lot. Do the math in your head before committing to this package as you may end up spending more that way.
Think twice about bringing your own alcohol or bottled water aboard. While cruise lines do have a certain limit you can bring with you, going over that amount will mean leaving it at the cruise port or picking it up at the end of the cruise. Plus, if you bring your own wine to a dining room, there may be a corkage fee, too.
Whether you indulge in the spa or partake in activities like the casino, organized games or amusement rides (some ships have things like race tracks and thrill rides), these carry extra expenses.
It’s important to budget these into your overall spending plan so you don’t walk off the ship with a bigger bill than expected.
Bahamas cruise prices recapped
The price can vary greatly by cruise line, length of the trip, type of cabin and the amenities you enjoy onboard or ashore. But there are incredible deals to be had if you know how to create your own fun and don’t overindulge on the ship.
Even better, holding elite status with a cruise line or perks from a co-branded credit card can make the experience more enjoyable with a host of freebies and discounts that can cut down on the overall Bahamas cruise cost.
All information about the Carnival World Mastercard, Royal Caribbean Visa Signature Card, Princess Cruises Rewards Visa® Card and Norwegian Cruise Line World Mastercard has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Carnival World Mastercard, Royal Caribbean Visa Signature Card, Princess Cruises Rewards Visa® Card and Norwegian Cruise Line World Mastercard are no longer available through NerdWallet.
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