May 25, 2024

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Cruise deals galore: Why this could be the year to spend the winter holidays on a ship

Cruise deals galore: Why this could be the year to spend the winter holidays on a ship

As cruise lines continue to discount fares to drive bookings, the holidays could be a terrific time to sail, with deals on upcoming 2022 voyages everywhere you look — some as little as $50 per person per night.

Travel demand is swelling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that airfares have skyrocketed, as have prices for land-based hotels, resorts and all-inclusives. What this means is that, with cruise prices remaining low, a vacation at sea just might offer some of the best value if you’re looking to hit the road for the holidays.

Whether you’re planning to spend them with your significant other, a group of friends or your entire extended family, you’d be remiss not to check out some of these amazing last-minute cruise deals we’ve spotted for sailings over Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s.

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Sample cruises

A Royal Caribbean ship docked at the line’s private island in the Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Here are some examples of fares I’m seeing in three popular cruise destinations over the holidays.

Bahamas

  • Thanksgiving: Five-night Carnival Sunrise sailing, round-trip from Miami on Nov. 23, from $479 per person ($96 per night).
  • Christmas/Hanukkah: Three-night Norwegian Sky sailing, round-trip from Miami on Dec. 23, from $279 per person ($93 per night).
  • New Year’s: Eight-night Norwegian Getaway sailing, round-trip from New York on Dec. 31, from $629 per person ($79 per night).

Caribbean

  • Thanksgiving: Nine-night Celebrity Infinity sailing, round-trip from Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 19, from $599 per person ($67 per night).
  • Christmas/Hanukkah: Sixteen-night Zaandam (Holland America) sailing, round-trip from Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 20, from $1,049 per person ($66 per night).
  • New Year’s: Seven-night Radiance of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) sailing, round-trip from New Orleans on Dec. 31, from $571 per person ($82 per night).

Mediterranean

  • Thanksgiving: Fifteen-night Regal Princess sailing, from Rome (Civitavecchia) to Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 17, from $857 per person ($57 per night).
  • Christmas/Hanukkah: Five-night MSC Magnifica sailing, round-trip from Marseille, France, on Dec. 22, from $299 per person ($60 per night).
  • New Year’s: Four-night MSC Poesia sailing, from Genoa, Italy, to Rome (Civitavecchia) on Dec. 31, from $243 per person ($61 per night).

The fine print

Norwegian Joy. NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE

There are some caveats, however. The prices listed are for the most basic windowless cabins, as advertised at VacationsToGo.com. They’re also double occupancy rates, which means they’re per person, not per sailing. Cruisers traveling solo are expected to pay for both fares if they’re staying alone in accommodations intended for two people. (Some cruise lines do offer solo cabins.)

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Additionally, port taxes and fees generally aren’t included in the fares you initially see. Airfare and pre-cruise hotels can add to the overall cost of your trip, too. Look for sailings departing from a port you can drive to if you’re cruising on a budget.

Bottom line

Although cruise prices for holiday weeks aren’t as low as what we’ve been seeing for non-holiday weeks this fall — think $26-per-day Carnival fares and Royal Caribbean sailings for less than $100 — they’re still affordable, providing a much more economical choice than land-based vacations. (Although the prices above are super-low, anything less than $1,000 per person per voyage, is still a steal for cruises during the holidays.) Plus, you can see multiple places in one trip.

Not quite ready to sail yet? There are other great bargains to be had for sailings in 2023 and beyond with this year’s Black Friday cruise deals. Check out early offers from major cruise lines featuring fare discounts and added perks like complimentary airfare, Wi-Fi, alcohol packages and more.

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