(NEW YORK) — As summer travel booms and prices for gas, hotel rooms and flights skyrocket, taking to the sea this summer season could save travelers big bucks.
Despite rising prices in most sectors, Chris Gray Faust, the managing editor of online industry publication The Cruise Critic, says prices for cruises “are some of the lowest that we’ve seen in a very long time.”
Right now, a five-day cruise around the Caribbean costs approximately $500 per person, Gray Faust said. Some experts says that’s a great way to get big bang for your buck.
“That works out to about $100 per day, including lodging, meals and entertainment,” Gray Faust told ABC News. “And with the way that land vacations have been … [with] airfares more expensive, you’re really hard pressed to find a vacation for a similar price on land.”
Some of the best deals right now include a three-day Carnival cruise from Miami to the Bahamas, for just $118 per person; a four-night Royal Caribbean cruise from Miami to the Bahamas starting at $198 per person; and a seven-day Holland America cruise in Alaska at $399 per person.
Gray Faust also recommended checking for additional deals that could make a cruise an even better buy.
“Not only are the fares low, but a lot of the cruise lines are putting in a lot of extra value type of things — like, they’re throwing in free gratuities, free Wi-Fi, free drink packages, things like that,” Gray Faust said.
Compared to skyrocketing prices for hotels and airfare, cruises are, for the time being, a steal. According to Hopper, an online travel booking platform, hotels are currently averaging $204 a night, up from $150 per night in 2021.
On top of that, Hopper estimates the average price of a round-trip domestic flight at around $397 and more than $1,000 for a round-trip international flight.
As pandemic-related restrictions relax, cruise lines are looking to fill their cabins and sail more of their ships, which lowers costs as well.
“What that means for [people] looking for a good vacation this summer is that there’s plenty of room on these cruise ships because there’s more ships back, there’s more rooms available and the prices are lower,” Gray Faust said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention removed its risk assessment of cruise ship travel in late March of 2022, but still advises travelers to be aware of a particular ship’s risk designations and stay up to date with their vaccinations. The agency has also recommended purchasing travel insurance before a trip and has advised travelers to continue masking up indoors.
Though pandemic protocols have eased on board most ships, passengers should still check with their cruise line ahead of time to see whether there are specific vaccine or testing requirements.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, or those awaiting COVID-19 test results, should not travel, according to the CDC.
Travelers hoping to snag a good deal should move soon. According to Gray Faust, prices will begin to increase as the holiday season approaches this fall.
“Summer is a good time for a value vacation like this, partially because of hurricane season,” Gray Faust said, adding that “we should see these prices last until October” and that “now is that time to go.”
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