How Much Money Should You Budget for a Cruise?

Planning for a cruise can be incredibly exciting, but figuring out how much money you should budget might feel a bit daunting. “How Much Money Should You Budget for a Cruise?” offers you a clear and friendly guide to ensure you’re financially prepared for your maritime adventure. We’ll walk you through all the essential costs, from booking your cabin to indulging in shore excursions and dining experiences. With this handy article, you’ll know exactly how much you should tuck away to enjoy your cruise without any financial surprises.

How Much Money Should You Budget for a Cruise?

Have you ever wondered how much money you should budget for a cruise? If you’re planning your first voyage or looking to better manage your expenses for an upcoming trip, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know to ensure smooth sailing.

Understanding the Basics

When it comes to budgeting for a cruise, some costs are straightforward while others can sneak up on you. Let’s start with the basics.

What’s Included in Your Cruise Fare?

Cruise lines generally include several essentials in the initial ticket price. Here’s what you typically get:

  • Accommodation: Your cabin or stateroom
  • Meals: Most dining options, including buffets and main dining rooms
  • Entertainment: Shows, musical performances, and some activities
  • Basic Amenities: Pools, fitness centers, and certain classes

What’s Not Included?

However, many things are not included in the base fare, and these can significantly impact your budget. Items often not included are:

  • Alcoholic beverages and specialty drinks
  • Specialty dining
  • Shore excursions
  • Gratuities
  • Internet access
  • Spa treatments
  • Onboard activities like casino gaming

Breakdown of Additional Costs

To help you better plan, let’s break down the typical additional costs you might encounter on a cruise.

Alcoholic Beverages and Specialty Drinks

If you love enjoying a cocktail by the pool or a glass of wine with dinner, you’ll want to budget for drinks. Here are the average prices:

Drink Type Average Price
Cocktails $8 – $12
Wine (per glass) $6 – $10
Beer $5 – $7
Specialty Coffee $3 – $5

Specialty Dining

While basic dining options are included, many cruises offer specialty restaurants that come at an extra cost. A meal at a specialty restaurant can range from $15 to $50 per person.

Shore Excursions

Shore excursions can be one of the most enjoyable parts of the trip but they come at a price. Here’s a range you can expect to spend:

Excursion Type Price Range
Basic tours $30 – $50
Adventure activities $75 – $150
Exclusive experiences $200 and up


Most cruise lines automatically charge gratuities to your onboard account. This typically ranges from $12 to $20 per person, per day.

Internet Access

Staying connected at sea can be expensive. Internet plans can vary significantly but expect to pay around $10 to $30 per day.

Spa Treatments

A little pampering can add up. Expect spa treatments to range from $50 for simple services to $200 or more for full packages.

Additional Activities

Whether it’s trying your luck at the casino or enjoying other paid onboard activities, these can also impact your budget. Here’s a small guide:

Activity Expected Cost
Casino gaming Varies
Bingo $10 – $25 per card
Specialty fitness classes $10 – $20 per class

How Much Money Should You Budget for a Cruise?

Budgeting for Different Cruise Types

Not all cruises are created equal, and the type of cruise you choose can significantly affect your budget.

Budget Cruises

  • Fare: $50 – $100 per night
  • Total Cost: $500 – $1,000 for a 7-day cruise
  • Additional Costs: $300 – $700 (drinks, excursions, etc.)

Mid-Range Cruises

  • Fare: $100 – $200 per night
  • Total Cost: $700 – $1,400 for a 7-day cruise
  • Additional Costs: $500 – $1,000

Luxury Cruises

  • Fare: $200 and up per night
  • Total Cost: $1,400 and up for a 7-day cruise
  • Additional Costs: $1,000 and up

Saving Strategies

Now that you know the potential expenses, let’s go over some tips on how to save money on your cruise.

Book Early or Late

Booking your cruise either well in advance or at the last minute can sometimes get you significant discounts.

Take Advantage of Promotions

Keep an eye out for promotions, such as drink packages or onboard credits, which can help offset additional costs.

Plan Excursions Independently

Booking shore excursions through the cruise line can be more expensive. Consider researching and booking these independently.

Limit Specialty Dining

You can experience a lot of great food without the additional cost by sticking to included dining options.

Gratuity Packages

Some cruise lines offer gratuity packages upfront, which can be cheaper than paying per day.

How Much Money Should You Budget for a Cruise?

Sample Budget

Let’s build an example budget for a 7-day mid-range cruise to help you visualize costs.

Item Cost Per Day Total Cost
Cruise fare (per person) $150 $1,050
Drinks (2 cocktails) $20 $140
Specialty dining (2x) $25 each $50
Shore excursions (2x) $100 each $200
Gratuities $15 $105
Internet $20 $140
Spa treatment $100 $100

Total Estimated Cost: $1,785

Emergency Fund

It’s wise to have an emergency fund just in case of unexpected costs. Consider putting aside an additional 10% of your total budget to cover any surprises.


So, how much money should you take on a cruise? As you can see, it can vary widely based on your preferences, the cruise line, and the additional activities you plan to enjoy. The key is to set a realistic budget, take advantage of savings where you can, and always have a little extra just in case. With some careful planning, you can ensure that your cruise is both enjoyable and financially stress-free. Happy sailing!