Ah, Caribbean cruise tickets!
This can be frightening to consider, especially when you have a family - a big one.
We thought the same, until we booked our first cruise.
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We were amazed that all four of us could enjoy such a great, all-inclusive fun Caribbean cruise for just about $2,000.
Our first cruise was a 5-day Western Caribbean cruise out of Tampa, Florida to Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; and Nassau, Bahamas.
Since then, we have discovered that Caribbean cruise tickets vary in price from cruise line to cruise line and are determined by several other factors.
These factors include: the time of year you cruise, your cabin selection and whether you reside in a certain state.
In 2009, we decided to take a 7-day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. Great idea!
We had sailed with Carnival Cruise Lines twice before, so naturally we checked with them first.
Well, even as returning guests the all inclusive cruise ticket price for five (5) of us (our daughter was born then) was $3,700 plus. By the way, we were cruising during the winter break (Presidents' Day week). We thought the price was too high, so we looked around.
Interestingly, we found a similar 7-day cruise out of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean with Norwegian Cruise Line for $400 less.
Can you guess which cruise we took that year? Norwegian, of course!
When you have a 5-member family, you must plan your Caribbean cruise ship vacation carefully to minimize the cruise cost.
It is wise to compare Caribbean cruise tickets offered by the major Caribbean cruise lines and to carefully choose the time of year when to travel.
You will find the best Caribbean cruise ticket prices during the latter end of the Atlantic Hurricane Season (mid August through November - before Thanksgiving). That's right!
The fact is, many people stay away from the Caribbean Sea during the months of August through November (height of the hurricane season), because many powerful storms have crossed those waters.
Consequently, Caribbean cruise lines fiercely compete to get the brave-hearted passengers who will book a cruise for that time of year.
Hence, Caribbean cruise ticket prices are noticeably reduced as demand falls off, but supply remains intact during the Atlantic Hurricane Season.
If you can muster up enough courage and your kids are out of school at anytime during those months, book your cruise for sometime from the middle of August to the middle of November.
Do you remember that I mentioned earlier paying close to $3,500. for our 7-day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean in February? Well, a friend of mine booked a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise last year in September for his family of 5 and paid a whopping $2,700.
Now that's a $600 dollar saving!
Generally, if you choose to sail during winter, near a holiday (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, etc.) or during a major school break (spring break, winter break, etc.), you will pay more for your Caribbean cruise ticket.
Let us take a look at some prices...
Below, is a snapshot of a cruise sailing in April (spring break) and the same sailing in September (height of the hurricane season).
Notice the difference in the starting base prices.
7 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise
Carnival Cruise Lines - Carnival Sunshine
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Departing from: Port Canaveral, Florida
Ports of Call: Port Canaveral, Florida | Nassau, Bahamas | St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands | San Juan, Puerto Rico | Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands
April 4th Sailing
$599 USD (Inside);
$799 USD (Outside);
$949 USD (Balcony); and,
$1,509 USD (Suite).
September 12th Sailing
Carnival Valor offers the same itinerary in September.
$459 USD (Inside);
$609 USD (Outside);
$789 USD (Balcony); and,
$1,219 USD (Suite).
The 2 price listings above are for the same 7-night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on Carnival Sunshine, but one is for April 2015, while the other is for September 2015.
The price difference is real, especially for the balcony and suite prices.
*Prices are based on the average starting rate for double occupancy and do not include government taxes and fees.
Using the same examples above, you will notice too that the type of cabin you choose on your all inclusive Caribbean cruise will directly affect your price.
Please note that when you see a posted base price for a Caribbean cruise (or any cruise), the cruise price listed is generally based on two people per stateroom.
What does that mean?
Let us take the price for the inside cabin on the 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise sailing on April 4th. The starting price of $599 would be paid by each person, if there are two of them in that cabin.
However, since we are talking about Caribbean family cruises, let us add two children to the mix.
Generally, the first two people in the cabin would each pay the $599 base price, and then the third and fourth people (your beloved children), would get a break on their cruise tickets (as if they are paying for it).
The third and fourth people in the cabin would pay about $50 or more less. Therefore, you would pay less than someone booking four guests in two separate cabins. They would pay 4x the base rate.
By the way, please note that I say "base price" because the posted cruise price does not include taxes and port charges which could add an additional $60 or more person to your final cruise ticket price.
As you can tell, the inside cabin will cost less and the suite the most. You pay for what you get.
Would you rather pay the higher Caribbean cruise ticket price? That is your choice. Personally, I love to see outside and therefore prefer an ocean view cabin.
However, with a five member family, my contention is - the cabin is just for sleeping. We spend most of time outside, so why pay so much extra just to sleep anyway?
You may feel differently about this.
As with everything in life, the prices charged by major cruise lines vary. The cruise prices vary for several reasons: name recognition, the quality of the cruise, the size of the cruise ships, etc.
When you think of Caribbean cruises, certain cruise lines readily come to mind: Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruises, Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruises.
We have sailed on four of the above cruise lines: Carnival, Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean.
In terms of prices, Royal Caribbean was the most expensive and Carnival was the least.
While we have not yet taken a Disney cruise vacation, we have checked Disney's cruise rates. Also, we have friends who have sailed with Disney.
Based on our research and on what others have said, Disney cruise prices are the most expensive of the five cruise lines listed above, while Princess and Royal Caribbean compete for second place.
The bottom line is, if you (like us with a "big family") are looking to maximize your cruise dollars, choose a less expensive Caribbean cruise ticket price.
However, if you are dreaming of a particular all inclusive Caribbean cruise, get the cruise tickets for the ones you love.
Click here to find cruise tickets.
Plan smartly to get the best cruise prices to the Caribbean. Remember to reach out to your Travel Professional, who will work tirelessly to get you the best cruise rates.
Leave the worrying about cruise tickets to your travel agent and you simply go have lots of fun and make unforgettable memories with your precious family.