A cruise ship is one of the most mesmerizing structures ever built! A vacation on a floating island, a sailing hotel on the water is a lavish dream. The sheer sizes and onboard features of these ships can marvel any person. As lavishness is what comes to mind when mentioning cruise ships, the very questions that pop up next are related to its costs. If you feel interested in this matter and feel like investing in a cruise ship, “how much does a cruise ship cost?” is your billion-dollar question.
Moreover, if you think about building costs of cruise ships, the biggest cruise ship companies, and the profitability of the business, touring costs, all your answers are here in this article. So, please keep reading.
A little bit of introduction…
Cruise ships are massive passenger ships used predominantly for vacationing. They contrast themselves from ocean liners, whose primary job is transportation. Cruise ships usually go onboard on round-trip voyages to different ports of call, where passengers can go on tours called “shore excursions.” There are also “cruises to nowhere,” AKA “nowhere voyages,” where cruise ships make two – three-night round trips without visiting any ports.
Have you ever thought about how much does a cruise ship weigh?
The weight of a general modern-day large cruise ship is around 200,000 GT (gross tons). GRT or Gross registered tons is a measurement to calculate their weight.
1 GRT means 100 cubic feet of enclosed space.
Royal Caribbean’s “The Oasis of the Seas” and “Allure of the Seas” are the largest cruise ships in the world, and they weigh 225,282 GT and 228,021 GT, respectively. From 2001, nearly nine new vessels that weigh over 100,000 GT add to this list every year.
The logic is that the larger the cruise ship’s cargo is, the bigger its size and can accommodate more passengers, restaurants, entertainment facilities, and other amenities.
1. How much does it cost to build a cruise ship?
Do you wish to have your own cruise ship and be a proud cruise ship owner? Great! In that scenario, there are two options for you. Either you can build your own ship, or you can purchase one from a shipowner/company.
If you are thinking of building a novel cruise ship, it definitely is costly. Modern-day cruise ships are beautiful pieces of technology and engineering. So, if you ever wonder about their building cost, well they sure are very expensive! There is a wide range of sizes of Cruise ships, but any of them would need several millions of dollars to build. Cruise ships consist of hotels, bars, restaurants, theaters, and many thrill attractions in one gigantic floating vessel. Therefore, building a ship that can match today’s cruise ship market, you need to have the greatest and latest onboard.
The exact building cost of a cruise ship depends on the estimated size of the ship. Hence, we would provide the building cost of some well-known cruise ships. Then you can compare and get an overall idea about the cost.
Carnival Mardi Gras that launched in 2021, cost $1 billion. In 2021 MSC Cruises’ latest ship the MSC Virtuosa, cost $800 million. New Excellence-class ships by AIDA Cruises, AIDAnova, cost $1.1 billion.
If we go down the list to luxury ships, Atlas Cruises’ the World Navigator cost around $80 million. Megayacht Evrima of Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection bore a cost of $320 million. Regent Seven Seas Explorer is claimed to be the most luxurious cruise ship ever built came with a cost of $450 million.
Even though there is a wide range of prices for a cruise ship, they are anything but cheap.
Which cruise ship is the most expensive?
The allure of the Seas bears the record for the most expensive cruise ship in operation whose owner is Royal Caribbean International. This is the most recent cruise ship in the Oasis-class category. According to the records, the company has incurred about $1.4billion to build this world-class cruise ship.
The largest passenger ship ever constructed is the allure of the Seas that extends only two inches than Oasis of the Seas, its sister ship. This magnificent ship can accommodate 6,296 guests and 2,384 crew members. Non-surprisingly it has lavished features, including a first onboard Starbucks, a 1,380-seat theatre, and an ice-skating rink.
2. How much does it cost to buy a cruise ship?
How much does a cruise ship cost to build? It is a fortune, right! So, if you plan to purchase a cruise ship, your best option is to contact a shipbroker rather than build one. How much does a ship cost? Well, a considerably old ship would at least cost $100 million. However, ships built in80’s and ’90s might cost lesser than this. Several shipbrokers would be able to assist you in purchasing a ship built during the 1980s or 1990s.
These ships were famous at the time, but later cruise lines that owned these classic ships moved to better vessels. A classic ship of that scale will settle for a reasonable price like USD 10-20 million. It is a lot, but this is a good deal compared to the cost of building a new one. But do not forget, like any used vessel, this will need significant investment to get it into shape. This ship must carry passengers and upgrade to the latest amenities and current maritime safety standards.
More details… How much does it cost to buy a cruise ship?
Carnival ships are a good option for a classic cruise if you are looking to purchase. So, let us see how much does a carnival cruise ship cost. In 2013 the refurbishment of Carnival Destiny (now called Carnival Sunshine) cost the shipowner of Carnival Corporation around USD 155 million. However, when they built the new ship in 1996, the cost was USD 400 million. So, you can see even though purchasing an old ship is considerably less expensive, its associated repairing cost is very high.
Not only the purchasing and repairing, but a cruise ship also comes with a tremendous operational cost. Royal Caribbean Cruises allocated about $9.5 billion to operate its cruise ships in 2018. Among many other running costs, fuel is the most significant one. How much does it cost to fuel a cruise ship? Well, a smaller cruise ship like Norwegian Spirit costs around $80,000 in fuel per day. A more extensive cruise like Freedom of the Seas might bear a fuel cost of up to $2 million per day. The fuel cost of a cruise ship depends on the speed and size of the ship.
Simply put, building or purchasing a cruise ship is an extremely expensive plan. Therefore, think twice before investing in a cruise ship and move forward only if you have the financial stability to bear the cost and its associated expenses. If not, your best shot would be to rent a cabin as a cruise passenger for some time. This will not stick you into a recurring expense.
3. How much does it cost to live on a cruise ship?
If you are curious about living on a cruise ship and its associated costs, the following would be excellent guidance. According to research estimated cost to live on a cruise ship for a year is approximately $175,000 for two people. However, this amount may vary from person to person, based on their spending habits.
Now let us break this cost down and analyze it.
Getting to the Ship (Transportation, Parking, Hotel):
You may fly, ride, or drive up to the port, but there would be several expenses that you would easily forget until it is time for the spending. If you get a ride to the port, there are transportation costs to get to and from the cruise ship. If you drive to the port, remember most ports charge about a $20 per day rate for parking. If you fly for your cruise tour, then you need to take your airfare into account. We also recommend that anyone who wishes to fly in reach the day before you plan to sail and get a hotel room. This will avoid any delays that can cause you to miss your very expensive cruise ship. Then an accommodation cost also adds up to your expenses.
How much does a cruise ship ticket cost? Well, this is the most significant expense out of the total cost. The price for a balcony room in cruises in 2021 would total to be $103,716, or around $2,000 a week for two people. The cost will be approximately $150-$220 per day. This fare includes the majority of what you’ll experience on the cruise, including your cabin, food, and entertainment.
Port Fees and Taxes:
Things you spend at the port can vary. You might get something to eat or drink off the ship. Doing a little shopping and purchasing a few souvenirs draw notes from your pocket without you even recognizing it as a cost. We can estimate a budget of about $50 per port for a single person. For some ports, that may be too much.
According to the cost of living on a cruise, there is no way to escape taxes. For two people, taxes and port fees would be around $14,191 per year or $1,000 a month. If you are looking for a per person rate, it will be like $100-$200 per person.
Carnival cruises usually charge $13.99 per day for one person for automatic gratuities. Any cruise ship might charge around $15. So, for a year, it will be more than $10,000.
How would you possibly guess what you will spend on the ship over the period of a year! For example, a drink package, a gambling experience, meals at specialty restaurants. On average, one person would spend $65-$95 per day.
It is not easy to budget all your expenses at once. But just keep in mind according to Carnival Corporation’s published details in 2019, the company earned $14.1 billion in ticket revenue and $6.3 billion through onboard spending. So onboard spending was 45% of ticket income. For every $1,000 in the cruise ticket fare, an average person would spend around $450 on the ship!
Do you need a straightforward answer for how much does a cruise ship costs per person? Okay, to sum up, the costs on a per-person basis the total cost for a 7-day cruise tour can be around $2,000 when you take everything into account. Shorter cruises will cost approximately $1,500 per person. After adding tickets, taxes, port fees, gratuities, and onboard spending, the total cost of living on a cruise ship per year is about $87,000 per person.
However, keep in mind that all these costs are estimates. Your cost can fluctuate highly depending on the ship you choose, the number of participants, promotions you may get, etc.
We know it is a lot of money. So, here are some tips to lower the cost.
- Limit Onboard Spending as much as possible. Spend only when required, spend smart when needed and always keep track of your onboard spending.
- Use Older Ships that are less pricy compared to newly built ones. The above rates are primarily for new ships like Carnival. Comparatively, old ships may cost a considerably lesser amount and would still provide the best service.
- Be Flexible for Cheaper options offered by shipping companies. Cruise ships have several options that you can choose from. Maybe the topmost option on the menu will not be the right choice for your budget. Therefore, explore the possibilities and be flexible for options that give the best value for money.
How much does it cost for a cruise ship to go through the Suez Canal?
The Suez Canal is one of the most critical and famous routes in the world. The canal runs through Egypt and delivers a crucial shipping route that connects Europe and Asia. It is 163 km long and 300 meters wide at its slimmest point. The Suez Canal controls almost 8% of the total shipping of the world. It is fundamentally composed of two parts, south and north of the Great Bitter Lake. It acts as a buffer to the canal, thereby protecting it from the tidal currents. Crossing this canal is a cruise ship is one way to enjoy a cruise ship the most.
Several cruise companies have implemented cruise shipping facilities in Suez Canal. Norwegian Cruize Line, Ponant, MSC Cruises, Kunad, Azamara, Seabourn, Princess, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, to name a few. The cost of the sea tour depends on the cruise ship, its owner company, the number of days of the voyage, and the package you are going to purchase.
If we provide a rough estimation of the cost: –
Norwegian Jade bears the following rates to go on a tour across Suez Canal for 18 nights.
Inside package – $5,214 for 18 nights ($289 per day)
Balcony package – $6,585 ($365 per day)
Club Suite package – $9,898 ($549 per day)
Haven package – $23,996 ($1333 per day)
General rates of other ships also rotate around these figures. This tour consists of fascinating port destinations like Aqaba – Jordan, Eilat-Israel, Sokhna-Egypt, Rhodes Greece, Kusadasi – Turkey, and Valletta – Malta.
4. Is owning a cruise ship profitable?
If the cruise ship business is not profitable, companies will never invest millions and billions of dollars in them, right! The cruise ship is a profitable business but in the long run. If you are looking for immediate ROIs, a cruise ship will not be your choice. But, if you like to take a risk and have the initial investing power for a cruise, go for it with a good plan.
Once your ship is built and entirely on operation, onboard income is disproportionately profitable, and that is why cruise lines work really hard to fill all rooms. Rates can change daily, and passengers who are waiting until the last minute might get a fantastic deal. The cruise line will instead get $499 for a one-week tour than zero since the fuel and crew cost is the same whether the ship is full or not. Also, cruise operators’ experiences have shown that people tend to be consistent on their onboard expenditure regardless of the ticket fare.
The cruise industry comes with a high fixed cost that demands very high occupancy to reach profitability. This is why several companies went out of business quickly after a sudden drop in business. The biggest company, Carnival Cruise Lines, bear 47% market share, followed by Royal Caribbean with a 22% share.
Both companies operate under several brand names. The usual profit margin for cruise ships ranges from 4-14%, depending on the year and the company. According to the cruise line association, this industry generated a $46 billion economic impact in America in 2014 and provided 373,738 jobs to the country.
How much does a cruise ship make a year?
Cruise ship companies make approximately 72% of the revenue from ticket fares and the rest of the 28% onboard expenditure. This includes shore excursions, alcohol, casinos, gift shops, photos, spas, travel insurance, and other services. On average, one passenger would spend $1,060 ($151/day) on the ticket and $650 ($92/day) on onboard purchases.
After balancing overhead costs, a cruise ship will make roughly $291 decent net profit per passenger per cruise. That means at total capacity, a single cruise ship like Symphony of the Seas owned by Royal Caribbean might make $9.8million in revenue and $1.7million profit within one 7-day excursion. That is about $239,000 profit per day at sea. So, assuming a cruise boat sails 300 days a year, their profit is around $72 million.
Sailings could be lesser than $100 to several hundreds of dollars per person per day. All the leading cruise lines are public companies and publish annual figures of their revenue and passenger statistics. Therefore, you can get a good idea of what a cruise will earn. According to these public reports, the average cost of cruise fare runs from about $150-220 per person for one day.
For example, during 2019, the Carnival Corporation-owned several different lines, earned $14.1 billion via tickets and sailed for 93.4 million passenger days. That sums up to $151 per person, per day. Royal Caribbean Group earned slightly higher, i.e., $175 per person per day, and Norwegian Cruise Line topped the list with $219 per person per day.
5. How much does a cruise ship captain make?
We have covered almost all the details associated with the costs of a cruise ship except one. That is the salary of a cruise ship captain. If you are planning to be a cruise ship captain or hire one, or even browsing out of curiosity, here is the answer.
The average salary of a cruise ship captain is approximately $98,000. But a cruise ship captain’s salary might vary depending on the experience, responsibility, and the company he is working for. This may be $44,000 for a less experienced captain of a considerably small cruise ship. In the case of a mega-ship captain with over 20-year experience, his salary would be around $177,000.
On top of the usual salary, cruise ship captains also get maximum bonuses of $40,000 per year and a maximum profit sharing of $3,000. However, this is not an easy job that anyone can do. It definitely comes with a lot of responsibility and requires to be on call 24 hours per day. Another benefit a cruise ship captain gets is that he often needs to work for three months and then gets three months off.