Taking a cruise this summer could be cheaper than booking a flight, staying in a hotel, or paying rent.
There are about 2,000 cruises going for under $100 a day through 2022.
Cruises may be your only hope for an affordable 2022 getaway if you haven't booked your summer vacation yet. And luckily for travelers, finding these cheap fares is easy.
There's no better time to book a vacation on the ocean. Popular cruise lines have kept prices astonishingly low in an effort to fill vacancies, resulting in a 17% drop in average fares from June 1 to July 13 compared to the same time in 2019, Tynan Smith, the founder of cheap cruise aggregator Cruise Sheet, told Insider. While airfare, gas prices, and hotel rates have skyrocketed this summer, the cost of going on a cruise has plummeted to as low as $29 a day.
There are now 45 cruises sailing through 2022 for $50 a day or less, Smith told Insider. Another 2,000 are going for under $100 a day. Compared to the average daily rate of hotel rooms — which hit about $153 between late June and July, Axios reported — taking a cruise could be cheaper than your monthly rent or mortgage.
Booking a last-minute vacation sounds like a financially risky move. But if you haven't reserved a summer cruise yet, there are still plenty of hacks you can use to book a truly budget vacation.
Websites like https://www.cruisecompete.com/?source=244 help travelers easily locate cheap itineraries. But if you don't want to rely on third-party websites, most major cruise lines are currently running good deals.
Carnival generally has the cheapest cruises, according to Smith. But right now, travelers can save 30% and 40% on cruise fares with Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, respectively. The latter is also offering complimentary all-inclusive services and free sailings for the third and fourth travelers in a party. Similarly, children can sail free on several 2022 Holland America and Royal Caribbean cruises, a big draw for people looking to travel with their families.
If you're not committed to a cruise line, you can also find deals based on location: Many of the best cruise deals come from "random locations" like transatlantic cruises from Barcelona to Barbados, Smith told Insider. If you're prioritizing price over destination, booking a transatlantic cruise will be your best bet. "All the best deals right now are probably going to be transatlantic cruises," Smith said.
These itineraries have historically been the biggest bang for a traveler's buck. Cruise lines operate them out of necessity, and as a result, they "don't really care how much money they make," Smith said. You'll likely be spending most of your days at sea, but that just means you'll have more time to take advantage of the onboard amenities.
If you're disinterested in sailing from one "random" port to another, look for itineraries sailing from cruise hubs Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "You just have better odds there," Smith said.
If you live in Florida, these ports will be your biggest money saver. Airfare is getting expensive and filling your car's tank could end up costing more than your daily cruise rate. The closer you live to the port, the more you'll save on transportation. And it doesn't have to be Florida: There are plenty of cruises sailing for under $100 a day out of ports in Los Angeles, San Diego, and New Orleans, according to itineraries on Cruise Sheet.
"During times of rising inflation, cruising is even more attractive to our guests," a Holland America spokesperson told Insider in an email statement. "With the cost and recent challenges with air travel, we are seeing strong interest in cruises that are a short flight or drive from guests' homes."