“If you talk to someone who’s traveled – or tried to travel – this summer, you’ll probably hear a horror story,” said Chris Gray Faust, CEO of Cruise Critic. “One area of travel prevention the unfortunate trend is cruises.”
CDC stops reporting coronavirus cases on cruise ships
Flights skyrocketed in price this summer, and on top of that, many are delayed or completely canceled. Hotels are also expensive and deal with labor shortages. Holiday rentals are taken over. Driving is also not the budget-friendly option it once was.
Cruise cabins are still available for last-minute trips this summer and into the fall. “Tickets are some of the cheapest we’ve seen in a while,” said Gray Faust. “You will be hard pressed to find a land-based travel experience that is less expensive or more convenient this summer.”
Four- and five-night Bahamas cruises at Carnival in August and September cost as little as $ 25 a night on some travel sites, including Priceline and Cruises.com. Taxes and fees are not included and in some cases are more than rates.
You can book a seven-night Mexican Riviera cruise at Carnival in August for $ 40 per night, and if you want to take the same cruise in September, it’s $ 36. A seven-night Royal Caribbean cruise in September costs $ 92 a night – and that’s if you want a sea view room, a steal compared to what you would cough up for a decent hotel.
A guide to your best summer vacation
Prices are low outside the Caribbean and Mexico. For a seven-night trip to Northern Europe with Royal Caribbean in August, with stops in Norway and Denmark, a room with a sea view costs $ 97 per night and a room with a balcony is $ 109 per night. A balcony room on a Princess cruise to France and Italy costs $ 123 per night, slightly more expensive than the other cruise options.
The demand for cruising is subdued. Cruise returned to US waters last summer after being docked in March 2020, but only a limited number of ships sailed. These cruise ships had occupancy limits, and allowed only 50 percent capacity. Now, a year later, most cruise lines have fully recovered, and occupancy limits have disappeared. “The number of available cabins increased dramatically, and naturally made room for more competitive prices as the lines worked to fill cabins for the summer season,” said Gray Faust.
7 cheaper summer holiday destinations
When it comes to pandemic-related risks, some travelers feel safer on cruises, and others feel that the risk is higher than any other form of travel. This month alone, Coral Princess had more than 100 covid cases on board Australia. Cruise companies have addressed the reality that the coronavirus will find its way to ships. As of last Wednesday, 93 of the 94 vessels that reported coronavirus data to the CDC were under observation for covid cases on board.
This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ended a pandemic program that revealed coronavirus cases on ships to the public. While companies will continue to report cases to the agency, the CDC says travelers should now check with their cruise line for precautions and coronavirus levels. The agency dropped cruises from its pandemic travel advisory in March.
Many of the major cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean and Carnival, require passengers to be vaccinated and show a negative test result before boarding. Earlier this month, Norwegian Cruise Line dropped its test requirement; it still has a vaccination mandate. However, the BA.5 variant poses a high risk of infection, even for travelers who have been vaccinated or have been infected before.
Aside from the dangers of coronavirus, not everyone’s favorite way to travel is. But when you compare cruises to land and air travel, the value and convenience of a cruise vacation is hard to beat, said Gray Faust.
“We have heard from many cruise lines that they have no intention of raising prices significantly in the short term,” she said. “After such a long time without cruising, they will be sure not to add any unnecessary obstacles to booking.”