How Much Does a Vacation with Carnival Cruise Cost?

Carnival Cruise Cost to Consider Before purchase

Cruise fares can look really tempting, week-long sailings are advertised for less than $75 per person per day, especially in the Caribbean. Unfortunately, the advertised fare does not fully represent the total cost of the cruise. Before you make your final decision on whether or not you want to cruise your next vacation, let’s look into the total Carnival Cruise cost.

There’s still no doubt that a vacation at sea is a great value, but how much does a cruise really cost? This article will help you budget the right amount of money for your vacation and I will also share with you a few tips about saving money while on cruise.

What Affects the Price of Your Cruise

Different cruise lines have different terms and packages for your vacation. When it comes to Carnival, there are three major factors that will influence the cost of your cruise fare. These are the type of cabin you book, the length of your cruise and where you are traveling to. In order to explain this well, I will use an example of the cruise I took this January on the Carnival Dream. It’s possible to find an inside cabin on Carnival for as low as $60/night, but a balcony cabin on the same cruise could cost $200/night, so you need to understand the difference if you would like to have a balcony.

Cruising Tip: An extra charge you might not be aware of before you go on the cruise is the $200 deposit per person. The day you board, Carnival will charge $200 to your account. Don’t worry, it will be returned to you after you come back. However, Carnival does it to incentivize you to could spend more while you are on-board, so be careful!

Food on Carnival cruise

Carnival Cruise Cost – What’s Included

  • Stateroom cost
  • dining at many restaurants
  • on-board shows and entertainment
  • fitness center
  • pools, whirlpools and water slides
  • year-round youth programs

Now, let’s see what is not included in your cruise price!

Carnival Cruise Cost Does Not Include

  • Dining in specialty restaurants and snacking at cafes and lounges
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Onboard purchases
  • Shore excursions
  • Photographs
  • Internet access
  • Laundry services
  • Gratuities

If you are planning to use any of these services, you need to factor this in your budget before you sail. Otherwise, you will be surprised to get a bill at the end of your vacation.

Budgeting Tip:
Unlike hotel prices, cruise prices are listed per person assuming there are two people occupying a cabin. Cruise lines offer single travelers the opportunity to book a double stateroom for themselves by charging 1 ½ times the list price. You’ll save a lot of money if you bring another person with you to share the cabin!

Interior Staterooms on Carnival Dream Cruise Ship comfortable beds

Carnival Cruise Costs to Consider Before You Sail:

Your Stateroom Price Breakdown

This is where you should start. Let’s assume you’re taking a 7-night cruise from New Orleans to Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. These are some of the most popular ports in the Caribbean. Your stateroom could cost from around $450 per person for an interior room for 7 days. It would be about $800 per person if you would like to have a balcony in your room and $1600 if you would like a suite. Paying about $450 per person for 7 days seems really affordable, especially since it includes food and a stateroom.
While this is the lowest price, while you are still booking, Carnival will try to up-sell you! You will have to pay an extra $5 per person per room if you would like to avoid bunk beds. If you want to stay on the higher part of the ship, you might have to pay another $2-$5 per person. From there, you will need to counter in taxes, which will be around $100 per person. Carnival Cruise also offers a vacation protection for an average of $80 per person that includes: Cancellation, Fee Waiver Program, Carnival Travel, Insurance and Emergency Assistance. So what’s is the Carnival Cruise cost for a stateroom? It is an average of $1300 per stateroom or $650 per person.

Packing and Things You’ll Need

You might need a new swimsuit or a package of sunscreen for the family. Most likely, you will have to get a few things to get you ready for your vacation! Check out my list of recommended items that you will wish you had on your cruise! Add the prices to your trip too!

Parking or Transfers Between the Ship and the Airport

Consider the transfer costs of the bus or taxi to get you between the airport and the ship for embarkation and disembarkation. If you are driving to the port, figure in parking charges instead, which could be around $15- $20 per night.

Estimated Price Per Person: $50 – $150

Ultimate Cruise Packing ListCruise Planning Checklist by Travel Eat BlogCruise Packing Checklist

The Cost of Flights and Fees

Factor in the cost of flights – you can expect to pay about $100 to $400 per person, depending on the destination and length of the flight.
Estimated Cost Per Person For Flights: $100 – $400 per person
If you add everything together, you will have quite a big range.
7 Night Carnival Cruise ship prices per person
in the Caribbean can range between $1000 – $3,700.
Most people will spend between $1,000 and $2,000 per person for a full vacation. Now, it’s true that if you were to drink only water, explore ports on your own, and stick to the main dining room and buffets, you could be paying on the lower end. The $50 per person/per day price includes an interior cabin, all of your meals and snacks, regular coffee, tea, ice tea, lemonade, taxes, and port charges. It also includes many shipboard activities, nightly entertainment and daytime child care for ages 2 thru teens. For many destinations in the United States, just the hotel can cost just as much. Remember, that many folks don’t realize how affordable family cruises can be.

Cost of On-shore Excursions in the Caribbean islands

The Carnival Cruise Cost for Shore Excursions

Imagine you have arrived at Grand Cayman Island. You would like to go swimming with stingrays or snorkeling, wouldn’t you? Or you could hold baby sea turtles at the turtle farm! Unless you plan on exploring independently, signing up for the ship’s group tours can set you back anywhere from $50 to $400 per person per day. The average Carnival cruise cost for some of the sightseeing options is about $100 per person per excursion. If your ship is stopping at 3 or 4 ports of call, these excursion prices can add up very quickly. The cheapest options are walking tours, and the most expensive ones I saw are helicopter excursions. These may be once-in-a-lifetime adventures, don’t skip them — just be sure to factor them in your budget from the beginning. And if it’s too much, look for cheaper alternatives, walk around on your own or stay aboard the ship and enjoy all of the on-board activities. Often there are great deals for things like spa treatments on port days when most people are off the ship.
Estimated Cost for shore excursions: $150 – $1000 per person for a 7-day cruise.

Are you considering a Disney Cruise? See How Much Would a Disney Cruise Cost!

Carnival Cruise Costs While You are On-board:


Carnival Cruise does not include the tip in your price, however, it does add it automatically once you are on the ship. It can set you back about $80 to $90 per person per week — around $12 per person per day. In addition, 10 to 15 percent gratuity is typically added to your bar bills — for alcohol or soft drinks and spa treatments as well.

Cruising Tip: You can decide to pay your own gratuities if you request this option on the last day of your cruise. Then, you can tip every person who made your cruise so amazing. For more cruise advice, check out my article with 31 Carnival Cruise Tips on budgeting, food and alcohol hacks, and more!
Estimated Cost for gratuities on a Carnival Cruise: $100 – $150 per person.

Carnival Cruise Alcohol Packages

If you’re a drinker, beer, cocktails, and wine will increase the cost of your cruise. Expect to pay $5 to $12 per drink, depending on your beverage. A can of soda or a small bottle of water costs approximately $2. Most lines sell drink packages for alcohol, unlimited fountain sodas, or packages of bottled water. A Carnival Cruise alcohol package costs about $55 per day per person and gets you about 15 drinks. These might be worth it if you tend to drink throughout the day. Estimated Cost for drinks on a Carnival Cruise: $50 – $350 per person, depending on each person.

Cruising Tip: Don’t forget that you can bring one bottle of wine or champagne per person for free on your cruise. It will save you a bit if you would like to have a couple drinks without paying for drinks or packages on the ship. Also, don’t forget you could purchase drinks for a lot cheaper when you are in your ports of call. However, you will not be able to take your purchased bottles to your staterooms, you will get them the last night of the cruise.

Carnival Dream Cruise Ship Food Onboard

Carnival Cruise Cost for Activities and Specialty Restaurants

Visiting the spa or taking classes in the gym on the Carnival cruise ship will cost you. The price of specialty restaurants and the myriad of options has also increased dramatically in the last decade. A visit to a spa can cost you $200 if you would like a massage when you are on the ship, which is a significant price to consider. You might also end up spending money if you go to an art auction or a casino. Make sure to plan for purchases like these to be prepared.
Estimated Average Price for Extra Activities: $50 – $350 per person

Food on Carnival Cruise

Tips To Help You Cut Down on the Carnival Cruise Costs: 

Be Flexible

Prices for cruises are based on supply and demand. Popular family vacation weeks like the December holidays and spring break cost the most. If you can be flexible with your sail dates, sometimes just a couple of days will get you extra savings. If your family is not tied to a school calendar then you can save a lot by sailing on the off-season dates like Sept or Oct.

Departure Ports

It’s generally cheaper to drive to port than it is to fly, especially if you’re traveling less than 400 miles. If you’re flying then airfare will need to be calculated into your overall budget. Look at different ports and consider your flight prices before booking.

Consider These Prices

To help you figure out how much you will spend on your cruise vacation, I have the prices of common extra charges found on Carnival Caribbean cruises listed in this article.

Are you ready for your trip? Then it’s time to start packing! Use this cruise packing list from Travel Eat Blog to make sure you have everything you need for your cruise!
Please Note: Prices may vary by ships within the same cruise line, as well as by itinerary, and they’re subject to change at any time, without notice; these prices were accurate as of January 2018.

Carnival Liquor Drinks: $8 and up

Carnival Specialty Dining: $35 per person

Latte: $2.95 – $3.50

Massage: $150, 50 minutes

Fitness Class: $12

Photo: $21.99, 8×10

Social WiFi plan: $4 per day

Premium WiFi Plan: $14.88 per day

Gratuities: $12 per passenger, per day

Tell Me: Are you planning your next cruise vacation? I hope this article will help you budget and consider full Carnival Cruise cost before you go.

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Hi, I'm Marina, passionate traveler and blogger, based in the United States and travelling the world. Thanks for following me on my life and travel adventures!


  1. FlySoulmates
    April 4, 2018

    Very Interesting article! Keep going!

  2. Monique
    April 4, 2018

    Good info! Thanks


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