Do you want to climb the Eiffel Tower? Lay on a Greek beach? Traveling around Europe is a bucket list dream for many but it’s also the kind of trip that doesn’t come cheap.
This is especially true right now because the fact is there’s never been a more expensive time to visit Europe.
But that doesn’t mean that deals aren’t available.
When many people think of exploring Europe on a budget they think of backpacking or staying in hostels but if that doesn’t appeal to you then there is an alternative. Taking a European cruise.
Here’s why cruising is one of the most affordable ways to travel Europe right now:
An Expensive Time To Visit Europe
Demand drives price increases and this year has been one of the busiest years on record for U.S. travelers heading to Europe. The most popular European destinations have seen a dramatic increase in hotel room prices thanks to this demand.
Compared to summer 2019 average room rates were up 33% in London, 38% in Paris, and 22% in Amsterdam this summer.
As a result the price gap between hotels and cruises in Europe has never been bigger.
And of course there are other financial factors to consider when you take a vacation to Europe. No one is visiting Paris and staying in their hotel room all day!
So you will also need to think about local travel expenses, food and drink prices, and even the cost of connecting to the closest Wi-Fi network to stay connected or check your maps.
We also need to mention airfare, which like hotel rooms is seeing sustained high fares right now. That means that flying from country to country on a European tour isn’t as cheap or as easy as it used to be.
When you take a cruise around Europe however many of these things are included in your initial package price. Certainly you won’t need to think about how much food and drink will cost when you’re sailing in a floating all-inclusive hotel!
The cruise industry took a big hit during the pandemic but it has recovered much faster than many commentators expected. Demand for cruises has increased but the price hasn’t followed quite yet.
Finding An Affordable European Cruise
It would be misleading to say European cruising is a cheap vacation option. But it can be a more affordable choice than traveling and booking hotel rooms independently in many cases.
Below is a key example of this:
MSC is offering a 7-night Mediterranean cruise departing on June 29th 2024 for $999 per person for an ocean-view cabin. This cruise route departs from Bari in Italy and gives passengers the opportunity to explore Italy, Greece and Turkey.
This price increases by approximately $300 per person if you wish to add the premium drinks package. All service charges and gratuities are included in this price.
During the summer months American Airlines flies non-stop to Bari in Italy. Return non-stop flights from New York JKF cost from $860 per person, depending on when you book.
This means that two people sharing a single ocean-view cabin with all drinks included could spend a week in Europe for $4,318 in total. The cost of shore excursions would be added to this.
A Royal Caribbean Greek Island Cruise departing from Venice on June 1st would cost $1,136 per person for an outside-view cabin. Travelers could explore Venice before stopping at the Greek islands of Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, and Argostoli.
Round-trip non-stop flights from U.S. airports to Venice are abundant. United Airlines is currently advertising non-stop flights from $758 per person. That means that this trip could be booked for as little as £3,788 based on two passengers sharing a cabin.
Both examples offer a much lower cost than you would spend if you wanted to visit those same destinations in one trip and travel between them independently.
What’s more, because European cruise ships often sail while you sleep, you get to enjoy more time in your ports of call and less time traveling from one destination to another.
That makes cruising convenient as well as affordable.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com