June 13, 2024

8 reasons cruises may be a better value for a 7-day vacation than land-based hotel stays


Millions of Americans are on the brink of travel this summer, with current analysis from the MMGY Travel Intelligence’s Portrait of American Travelers research revealing that 76% of Americans plan to take a journey this yr. 

With this journey surge, savvy shoppers are all the time striving to reap value from vacation {dollars}. 

But does a cruise offer extra vacation value than a land-based hotel keep?  

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FOX Business consulted with four different travel professionals to find out how and if consumers can stretch their vacation dollars on a cruise vs. a hotel stay. 

Here’s a deep dive into the issue — with eight intriguing reasons why cruises may win out in the end.

1. Cruise amenities are usually plentiful 

Cruise loyalists sail over and over again because of the “unpack once” concept — and the value a cruise can present. 

Not only can you visit several ports during one sailing, there are ample food options, activities and entertainment that your cruise fare covers. 

A large cruise ship docked and passengers walking towards it

A cruise ship is shown docked at an unnamed location. Aboard cruises, there are usually ample food options, activities and entertainment — all covered by the cruise fare. (Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Also, there are often booking incentives with onboard credits, free drink packages, free Wi-Fi and military discounts on some cruise lines. For consumers who are driven by price, it’s worthwhile to analysis cruise choices this summer season. 

“When we look at pricing for mid-summer travel season in the Caribbean — a seven-night cruise in July, for example — we’re seeing an average starting fare of $1,160 per person, or $165 per night, per person,” mentioned Colleen McDaniel, spokesperson with Cruise Critic, who is predicated in Denver. 

“It’s an extremely competitive price compared with similar options on land.” 

“And when you take into account the amenities included in that fare — food, entertainment and your room — it’s an extremely competitive price compared with similar options on land.” 

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When you are contemplating apples-to-apples when it comes to high quality, you’d be hard-pressed to search out a comparable hotel choice for much less, in accordance with McDaniel. 

“At sea, you are experiencing not merely a room and a pool, however you’ve got acquired an array of bars and restaurants, Broadway-caliber leisure, waterparks and extra,” she mentioned. 

2. A cruise’s value can be stretched

Experts say vacationers could make a cruise a fair higher value than a land-based hotel keep.

“One perk of cruising is that it allows many American travelers to, in effect, ‘drive’ to their cruise destination — whether that’s the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada/New England or Mexico, as homeports can be found along the East and West Coasts, and along with the Gulf Coast. So for many, it means there is an option to drive rather than fly,” mentioned McDaniel. 

Norwegian Encore at sea

“One perk of cruising is that it allows many American travelers to, in effect, ‘drive’ to their cruise destination — whether that’s the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada/New England or Mexico.” (Norwegian Cruise Line / Fox News)

Without the necessity to e book a flight or quite a few flights in some circumstances, it can save you hundreds of {dollars} for those who have been flying throughout the U.S. or to an island within the Carribean. 

Also within the win column for cruises: There’s the discount of journey hassles.

“One could also argue that avoiding the airport — crowds, delays, cancellations, added fees — has even more value in the form of mental wellness,” McDaniel mentioned.

3. There is extra selection in lodging picks

Unlike lodges, a part of the cruise reserving course of additionally contains reserving your actual cabin — and the room decisions can be intensive. 

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“So, rather than choose between a handful of room types at a hotel, most of which come at relatively the same price, you’re able to select the cabin that best fits both your needs and your budget,” mentioned McDaniel. 

4. Cruise traces cater to vacationers simply as lodges do

Cruise traces cater to various vacationers. 

“Yes, there is definitely a tiered model of cruise pricing across the industry that’s very similar to the hotel brands and industry,” McDaniel mentioned. 

“There are mainstream lines that are more budget-friendly, and other mainstream lines that are a bit more elevated in experience and price.”

Two ladies take pictures in front of the Carnival cruise ship Elation in Nassau

Two women take footage in entrance of Carnival cruise ship Elation in Nassau, Bahamas, on April 29, 2019.  (DANIEL SLIM/AFP by way of Getty Images / Getty Images)

5. A cruise’s tab is extra predictable

When reserving a cruise, you’ll usually face fewer separate prices, mentioned Sally French, journey professional at NerdWallet in San Francisco. 

“Cruise fare tends to include meals, entertainment and lodging all in one,” she mentioned.

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However, she famous, “cruisers may see extra costs — particularly if they book add-ons like shore excursions, have a meal at one of the ship’s fancier restaurants, or take part in cruise offerings that necessitate an additional fees like a spa treatment.”

“Cruise fare tends to include meals, entertainment and lodging all in one.”

Booking a hotel room, in contrast, sometimes means you’re nonetheless on the hook for filling your day and your stomach, French mentioned.

“While it’s not uncommon to find hotels that offer free breakfast and activities, travelers should typically budget for ongoing costs throughout the trip, such as dining out, entertainment and transportation between those spots,” she mentioned.

6. Cruises can be all-inclusive

It’s an fascinating comparability when booking upscale travel

“Luxury cruise lines tend to be more truly all-inclusive,” French mentioned. 

In distinction, price range cruise traces are likely to cost extra for extras. 

(*8*) Royal Caribbean Labadee, Haiti cruise port

Cruise passengers disembark from the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas cruise ship on Royal Caribbean’s personal coastal peninsula of Labadee, Haiti.  (Ron Buskirk/UCG/Universal Images Group by way of Getty Images / Getty Images)

For instance, many reasonably priced cruise traces solely serve water, tea and occasional for free, however cost additional for soda, juice and alcohol.  

That mentioned, “it’s rare to find a luxury hotel brand that offers free breakfast, except in unique circumstances such as [consumers’] elite status,” mentioned French. 

And, she mentioned that lodges more than likely to serve free breakfast are likely to be the low-to-mid tier manufacturers related to main hotel chains.

“Travelers [have] an opportunity to relax and focus on the experience and their time together rather than [the] additional costs they’ll need to consider.” 

Kim Guimaraes, vp of nationwide accounts with Crystal and Abercrombie & Kent, who is predicated in Miami, informed FOX Business that generally, vacationers who select to vacation at a traditional five-star hotel can anticipate to pay further prices for any on-site actions chosen, along with meals and beverage. 

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“On upscale cruises, not only are guests receiving white-glove service around the clock, but they are also getting premium dining experiences, top-shelf spirits and wines, award-winning entertainment and innovative guest programming included in their cost,” mentioned Guimaraes. 

Carnival Ecstasy cruise ship

On the Carnival Ecstasy cruise ship: Lido Deck and the swimming pool.  (Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group by way of Getty Images / Getty Images)

“This provides travelers an opportunity to relax and focus on the experience and their time together rather than what additional costs they’ll need to consider.” 

7. Vacation transportation prices can be decrease

A cruise takes vacationers to a number of locations, in lots of circumstances. 

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“If you were to price out traveling to those ports, with train or air and hotel separately, it would add up to the same or more than using a cruise as your mode of transportation,” mentioned Kelly Connor, journey adviser with AAA Club Alliance in Marlton, New Jersey. 

“Figure in travel time and airport arrival and wait times — and a cruise is valuable in handling the travel for you, plus offering a fabulous sea view.”

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For occasion, a Mediterranean cruise stopping in Capri, Mykonos and Istanbul and ending in Athens, mentioned Connor, is rather more reasonably priced than making an attempt to hop round to these locations in a week by yourself. 

“Plus, you have your choice of a wide variety of onboard experiences and entertainment at night and on cruising days — right there in walkable distance,” Connor added. 

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“The convenience is amazing and you don’t have to take a taxi to get back to your room.”

8. Cruising can be extra streamlined

Don’t overlook the value of journey planning, mentioned French with NerdWallet. 

“With a cruise, there’s very little thinking involved once you’re onboard, and generally, you can eat when you want and partake in any of the available activities at your leisure,” she mentioned.

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With a hotel keep, guests are usually on their very own when it comes to planning their days.

Plus, in case your land-based vacation includes nights in a number of cities, you’ll must cope with checking out and in of a number of lodges and dealing with your baggage accordingly. 



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