How much does it cost to go on a world cruise?
Several people asked me to comment about my costs on this world cruise. I finally tallied up all my expenses and did some more research. In the next few days, I will post a series of articles outlining the total costs of a world cruise and how you can better predict what your total costs will be – which will always exceed the basic fare that you will pay the cruise line. At the conclusion of this series, I will post an interactive web based spreadsheet that will help you predict your own cost for a world cruise based on YOUR own data!
Let’s get started.
Part 1 – World Cruise Pricing Overview
World Cruises cost significantly more than a typical 1 or 2-week cruise and many people planning their first world cruise focus on the cost the cruise itself, which even for the least expensive cabin will cost $40,000 and that is before you buy a single drink or go on a single tour. Even the $40,000 number will seem a little high if you only look at the big print on the HAL website. The lowest fare listed for an Inside Cabin on the 113 day 2018 World Cruise is $17,499 – If you double that in your head, you think – Hey, I can go on a world cruise for $35,000. Still a nice chunk of change, but will that be your total cost once the smoke clears and you are staring at your final bill in April the day before Fort Lauderdale? No, of course not, and everyone knows, there are always additional charges, but how much will they be?
Is a world cruise simply 16 one week Alaska cruises back to back? Do you spend more per day or less per day than on other cruises? What is the total cost of a world cruise and how can you estimate your total world cruise cost?
In my example above, the $35,000 fare in the big print on the website quickly becomes $41,273 after you add in the port fees and taxes ($3,450) and the Hotel Service Charge ($2,825). After some discounts and other incentives with shipboard credits you could probably get this price back down to the $36,000 range.
Let’s start with a high level view of the various cabins: Here is a table with the cost per couple per cabin of the various cabin types. I am using the lowest price in the category where you are assigned a cabin shortly before departure. (Referred to as a guarantee)
|2018 World Cruise Base Pricing per cabin|
|Category||Base Cost||Port Fees||HSC||Total|
Like buying a car, most people don’t pay full sticker for any cruise. Travel agencies will offer incentives and discounts, HAL will offer incentives and perks and certain agencies may benefit from volume pricing, group discounts, etc. The value of the discount will vary, but it is always important to look at the entire value proposition and not simply compare the bottom line. Some perks have value to you and others may not.
Discounts will vary a lot by travel agent but will usually be in the range of 5-12% off the commissionable fare. Early pay discounts, port fees, taxes along with a small portion of the base fare are not commissionable so when you hear someone saying they got a certain percentage discount, consider the baseline from which they started. Based on my research we will use 10% as a realistic discount off the full fare to keep the math simple. You may be able to do better than 10% and some agents may balk at this discount, but this discount is available if you are willing to shop around and forgo some travel agent perks and service you may have come to expect.
There are other discounts available if you book early – Here is a LINK to the benefits for 2017. Also if you pay in full by June 1st you usually get another 3% off. Note they have included some free internet minutes as part of the early booking discount.
Here is a table that summarizes the value of early booking which I converted to its cash equivalent. Note: These benefits are for 2017 only and may change in the future.
|Early Booking Discount Summary of Cash Value per 2 person cabin|
|Laundry Dry Cleaning and Pressing||$990||$990|
|Unlimited Water and Soft Drinks||$600||$600|
|Prepaid Internet (800 minutes)||$280||$280||$280|
|Complementary Shore Excursion||$600||$600||$600|
|In Suite Liquor||$160||$160||$160|
|2 Pieces of luggage||$200|
Below is the original table recalculated with a 10% discount and subtracting the early booking and early pay discount. Sometimes your discount will be a combination of lower base fare combined with On Board Credits (OBC). Certain fares will have more or less room for discounting as well. I am sure that the Neptune Suite price has more wiggle room than an inside cabin, so bear that in mind when you shop around for your fare.
|2018 World Cruise Base Pricing per cabin|
|Category||Base Cost||Add Port Fees||Subtract10% TA Discount||Add HSC||Subtract Early Booking Value||Subtract 3% Early Pay Discount||Total|
|Outside (Cat F)||$47,598||$3,450||$4,760||$2,825||$4,050||$1,427||$43,635|
Now that you have a better idea for the basic cruise fare, let’s look at the other costs involved with a world cruise. I will break them down into the following categories and cover them in more detail over the next few days.
- Pre & Post Cruise Expenses
- Onboard spending
- Shore excursions
Coming up tomorrow – Pre and Post Cruise Expenses
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