The Bahamas are tantalizingly close the Florida coast. If you are looking for a quick getaway, a Bahamas cruise can be just the thing.
Average Bahamas Cruise Cost in 2023
But, how much are you looking at spending for a Bahamas cruise? The answer, of course, depends on a lot of factors. Someone who books a suite on a 14-day cruise is going to pay a lot more than someone who picks an interior stateroom on a three-day outing.
Cruising on Carnival
One of the advantages of the Carnival cruises to the Bahamas is that they depart from locations all along the East Coast. Departure city options include:
- Port Canaveral
- Mobile, AL
- New York
From there, you can visit a range of destinations in the Bahamas. The cheapest cruise leaves from Miami and taxes guests to Half Moon Cay and Nassau. The four-day cruise starts at $199 per person.
If you are looking for a longer getaway and won’t be starting in Florida, consider the 6-day Bahamas cruise from Charleston. This trip includes stops in Bimini, Nassau and Half Moon Cay. There are also two days at sea.
Royal Caribbean Bahamas Cruises
Royal Caribbean offers some short jaunts from Miami and Fort Lauderdale down to destinations in the Bahamas. RC has a private resort in the islands that is a destination on most of their itineraries.
Perfect Day at CocoCay is a private all-inclusive island owned by Royal Caribbean. There’s no admission and most amenities are free. This includes attractions like Splashaway Bay and the Oasis Lagoon. You can also dine at three included restaurants.
If you want to go up in a helium-powered balloon or spend some time in a private cabana, you’ll pay an upcharge when you get there. The cheapest getaway they offer is a four-night trip that includes stops in Nassau and Perfect Day. This starts at $200 per person.
At the other end of the scale, you have a seven-day trip on Odyssey of the Seas. This departs from Cape Liberty in New Jersey and includes stops in Port Canaveral, Nassau, and Perfect Day. The trip starts at $750 per person.
Norwegian Cruise Line Trips to the Bahamas
Norwegian offers four and five-night cruises to the Bahamas. One of the features that distinguishes these trips from others on the list is the advertised open bar. On most cruise lines, alcoholic drinks are typically only available through a cash bar or a drink package.
Rates for the four-night cruise to Great Stirrup and Nassau start at $320 per person. If you want to spend another night at sea, you can pick the five-night package which visits Freeport, as well. Rates start at $400 per person for an interior room.
Great Stirrup is a cruise line owned private island. The island was purchased by Norwegian Cruise Line in 1977.
Like other cruise line islands, it offers all inclusive amenities such as buffet and seated dining, beach access, pools, and more. Alcoholic drinks on shore, however, are not part of the free package and must be purchased separately.
MSC Cruises to the Bahamas
MSC is a Swiss cruiseline founded in 1970. It’s the world’s largest privately held cruise company and is the third largest cruise line after Carniva and Royal Caribbean.
One of their specialties is what they dub “mini cruises.” These are typically three to four nights and depart from Cape Canaveral or Miami. Their 3-night Bahamas and Florida cruise stops in Key West and at MSC’s private island, Ocean Cay Marina Reserve.
Interior rooms start at $100 per person. They also offer a two-night jaunt that goes straight from Miami to Nassau and back for about the same rate.
Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection Cruises
These cruises are at the upper end price-wise and explore multiple destinations in the Bahamas. Their Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale seven-day trip on the Evrima includes stops in Bimini, Nassau, San Salvador, and Long Island.
All the staterooms are suites and the prices match. The least expensive starts around $6,500 for the seven-day trip. Prices for more luxurious suites, such as their two-story loft, begin around $15,000.
Celebrity Cruises to Bahamas
Celebrity has a number of cruises that originate in South Florida and travel to destinations in the Bahamas. Their four-night Bahamas getaway on the Celebrity Equinox departs from Port Canaveral and stops in both Bimini and Nassau, Bahamas.
This trip starts at $300 per person. They also offer a three-night cruise to Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay that departs from Ft. Lauderdale.
This also starts at $300 per person. More spacious rooms with better views are available at higher rates. you can get a Veranda room for around $600 per person on a three-day cruise.
Their most exclusive level is The Retreat, an all-suite conscierge level. Amenities include premium drinks, high speed wifi, and access to the Luminae Specialty Restaurant.
Ways to Save on a Bahamas Cruise
The Bahamas is already among the more affordable cruising destinations. But, you can cut costs a bit more with some research. Start looking for your cruise early.
While there are some last minute discounts offered, late bookings tend to be more expensive rather than less. Most cruise lines offer discounts to select groups. Carnival, for instance, has discounts for people 55 and up.
Active and retired military members can also get special rates. Margaritaville at Sea advertises free cruises for teachers, military, police, and other first responders. Bear in mind, this free trip has a few restrictions. The free room is only available on interior staterooms.
You’ll still need to pay port charges and taxes. And, you’ll also need to go with someone who is paying the full fare. Membership in some private organizations can also yield some discounts.
USAA and AAA both offer discounts to their members. You may also find some discounted rates offered through your credit card.
When looking at a discount cruise, always check your rate against what is offered by the cruise line to the general public. While sometimes there are significant savings, other times, you are not going to pay much less.
Saving Money on Excursions
One of the elements that increases the cost of a cruise the most is the excursions. And, booking excursions through your cruise ship is typically the most expensive way option.
As an example, Carnival offers a five-hour booking in a 1,600 square foot cabana for $2,000. This includes meals, cocktails, and access to a hot tub.
Booking a day pass for the same trip through the resort will be around $1200 for up to 12 people. You can also skip the organized excursions completely and create your own day-long adventure. I have one friend who connects with drivers in each port before she books her cruises.
She pays for their services for a day and has them make arrangements for tours and meals. The experience is customized to her preferences and comes in at less than you’d spend for a cruise ship excursion.
One caveat: when you book independently, you’ll have to independently arrange transportation and manage your time. Cruise ships guarantee that they’ll wait for passengers who book excursions through them. You have no such guarantee when you book your own. To be safe, watch the clock.
Saving Money on Drinks
Most cruise lines allow you to bring a single bottle of wine or champagne per person. If you are a light drinker going on a short cruise, this could be enough to get you from port to port without having to pay for extra cocktails.
Drink packages are available on many cruise lines, but may not be worth the cost. Check what cocktails are covered and how the prices compare to regularly priced drinks.
Look into daily drink specials for extra savings. These are typically sweet drinks, but there may be one that fits your favorite profile.
You can also save money by buying cocktails in port instead of on the ship. Depending on where you go, you can often find a cheaper price on shore where you are not limited by cruise ship prices.
What About Those Free Bahamas Cruises?
If you travel in Florida at all, you’ve probably noticed displays in restaurants and hotels where you can enter to win a free Bahamas cruise. These apparently show up in other parts of the country, as well.
I knew a guy who ran one of these promotions, so I can tell you what the free cruise is about. First, everybody wins. If you enter your name, you’ll get a call or a text soon after saying that you have won a cruise to the Bahamas.
It is possible to go ahead and take the free cruise. You’ll just pay whatever normal port charges and taxes apply. This is typically around $65 per person. You’ll likely also have fuel and gratuity surcharges, which can add about $30 per person, per day.
But, this is a very bare bones cruise. Basic room, no extra amenities. When you get the call saying you’ve won a cruise, it’s actually sales pitch.
You’ll be offered a chance to upgrade your stateroom. You’ll also be offered ways to extend your trip with days at a resort on Grand Bahama. These cruises have a lot of BBB complaints because the charges, in the end, wind up being far more than anticipated.
If you are going to do the basic cruise, it can be worth it. If you are looking for an extended trip, compare prices with other outlets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about Bahamas cruise costs:
How much does a 7-day cruise cost per person?
How much you’ll spend depends a lot on the stateroom you choose and the time of year you go. CLIA, The Cruise Line Industry Association says the average cost for a seven-day trip will be about $1,700 per person. But, rates can go anywhere from $800 to $8,000.
How much does a 4-day cruise cost?
Again, it’s going to depend on your stateroom choice as much as anything else. If you pick an interior room on a bargain line, expect to pay around $250 per person. Going for a balcony room? You’re looking at rates closer to $1,500 for the four-night trip.
Do I need a passport for a cruise to the Bahamas?
If you are going on a closed-loop cruise where both your starting and ending ports are in the US, you technically do not need a passport to get on board. However, the US State Department strongly recommends getting a passport before you go. This way, you are protected if you have to leave the boat because of an emergency.
How much does a cruise cost for 2?
It all depends on the cruise you choose. Depending on the itinerary and the rooms you pick, you are looking at a minimum of $550 for two.
Summing Up: How much for a cruise to the Bahamas?
A cruise to the Bahamas can be as low as $100 per person, before fees, if you find the right deal. More often, you’ll pay around $300 per person for a four to five-day cruise.