Amid staffing shortages, rising inflation, and record-breaking gas prices, travelers may wonder whether there is still hope for an affordable getaway this summer. Cruise lines were one of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic, and it seems they are just as eager for travelers as they continue to slash prices for upcoming bookings. As hotel prices rise more than 50% in areas like Miami, a room aboard a cruise ship averages out to a starting price of just $100 a day. With the average daily rate of an upper midscale hotel room sitting at $131, according to data provider STR, it’s clear that a cruise is an excellent way to vacation on a budget this summer.
While the nightly price of a cruise averages out to be cheaper than many hotel rooms, this simple comparison doesn’t quite show the full extent of cost-saving benefits to travelers. When booking a trip with most popular cruise lines, the nightly rate often includes meals, onboard entertainment, and lodging. One of the biggest appeals cited by travelers who frequent cruises is the value offered by the experience. While meals and entertainment are commonly included, some cruises even offer extras such as free childcare, all-inclusive alcohol, and gratuities.
Travelers interested in taking advantage of the discounted rates need not rush, as cruise lines are pushing hard to boost their occupancy rates to as close to 100% as they can by the year’s end. Discounted rates are likely to stick around, as it has historically taken years for pricing to rebound in the cruise industry after across-the-board discounts. In more good news for travelers, many cruise lines are even leaving fuel surcharges off the bill. With fuel costs currently skyrocketing, this is a big win for summer cruisers.
As prices continue to fall for the upcoming summer cruise season, many future passengers are canceling their bookings with the sole intention of rebooking at a lower rate. While they may lose their non-refundable deposit, the cost savings are significant enough to make the effort worthwhile. With prices lowering, cruise lines will likely see their occupancy rates reach a level they haven’t seen since before the pandemic. With near-full occupancy and travelers coming aboard at a discounted rate, analysts predict that spending while aboard will increase by over 100%.
While full occupancy is clearly a desire for cruise lines, cruisers themselves are more mixed in their opinions towards increasing cruise capacity again now that Covid is waning. In a poll conducted by Cruise Critic, only 18% of those polled were looking forward to cruise ships reaching full occupancy again. Of the respondents, 77% said they don’t think it is the right time to return to full occupancy.
However, it should be noted that out of the 77% who felt this way, only 56% of them felt that it wasn’t the right time due to Coronavirus concerns. The other 44% are of the belief that they would be safe while on a cruise; they just enjoy the extra space on the ship. While their preference for additional space is understandable, the financial benefits of full occupancy to both the customer and the cruise line make up for the loss in space.
The monetary benefits of a cruise this summer are evident. However, another benefit to booking a vacation aboard a cruise ship is the included transportation. After boarding, travelers need only unpack their bags once, and they will be able to visit multiple countries, cities, and attractions. Why choose between different Caribbean islands if you can wake up each day to a new one waiting for you to explore what it has to offer?
For travelers who cruise often, the current discounts have likely not gone unnoticed. For travelers that are used to a more traditional vacation on land, 2022 may be the year to try something new. With the value offered aboard a cruise through all-inclusive offerings and the continuing decline of cruise rates, travelers’ wallets will be thankful for the new adventure.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com