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How much does a 3 day cruise cost?


Looking to cruise on a budget? Rather than spend a fortune on a weeklong cruise or cut corners to make it more affordable, consider a 3-day cruise. 

With popular cruise lines like Carnival charging as little as $174 per person for 3-day cruises, they make for an affordable getaway, whether you're new to cruising or have a strict budget. Additionally, since you are onboard for fewer days, your overall cost for add-ons, including drink and Wi-Fi packages, will be significantly less. 

While the total cost of your vacation depends on the ship's age, which cabin category you book, the excursions you plan, and what add-ons you want, 3-day sailings are some of the most affordable on the market. 

Though you can find sailings with base fares for less than $200 per person, sailing on a newer ship will be more costly 


Carnival Conquest, a 22-year-old vessel, lacks the amenities that Utopia of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's first-ever ship built specifically for the short cruise market, has. 

The cheapest advertised rate on Carnival's website starts at $174 per person, whereas the most affordable rate for a 3-night cruise abroad Utopia is $399 per person. Still, both are less than the cost of a 7-night cruise on newer ships in their fleets. Icon of the Seas, for instance, costs a minimum of $1,500 per person, while cruises on Carnival Jubilee start at $680 per person. 

Regardless of whether you're sailing on a cruise line's newest or oldest ship, your accommodation, dining, select beverages, entertainment, and transportation between ports of call are included in the base fare. Additionally, with many 3-night cruises visiting private destinations, limiting your spending ashore is easy, as you can enjoy complimentary lounge chairs on pristine beaches. 


In general, you'll get the best rate for your cruise the further in advance you book, as cruise lines increase prices when the ship's availability begins to decrease. 

Though you can certainly find last-minute deals, they are not as common as they used to be; inventory is selling out quicker than ever. Plus, when it comes to airfare, even if you find a cheap sailing, you may spend more on flights than you were anticipating, negating any potential savings from the low cruise fares. 

Read more: What to know before booking a cheap cruise

Disney Cruise Line has some of the most expensive 3-day cruises in the industry

Grand Hall on Disney Wish

At the time of writing, the cheapest 3-night cruise offered by DCL started at $760 per person, including taxes, port fees, and gratuities. The open-jaw sailing commences on November 5, 2024, sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Flordia to Disney's Lighthouse Point before concluding in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

If you want to sail on a newer ship, such as Disney Dream or Disney Wish, expect to pay more, sometimes upwards of $1,500 per person for a weekend cruise. Disney Wish's July 18, 2025 sailing starts at $1,504 per person, with balconies costing over $1,600. 

In comparison, a 3-night sailing onboard Utopia of the Seas in July 2025 starts at $818 per person for an interior room and $951 for a balcony. 

Interior rooms are the most affordable; however, it's easy to spend thousands of dollars on a 3-night cruise by splurging on a suite

DIsney Wish Tower Suite

If money is no object, the best way to elevate your cruise experience is by reserving a suite. Suites vary in size and amenities; however, the best of the best come equipped with expansive balconies, private butlers, exclusive access to suite-only sun decks, and more. 

Some suites on Utopia of the Seas, for instance, can cost upwards of $2,000 per person for a 3-night cruise, making them more expensive than select weeklong cruises in an interior room. When looking at the October 3, 2025 sailing, the Spacious 2-Bedroom Aquatheater Suite costs $2,178 per guest for a family of four, bringing the total for the cruise fare to over $9,100 once taxes and fees are added. 

A suite onboard Carnival Glory's 3-night July 11, 2025 voyage starts at $777 per person; however, reserving the 345 square foot Grand Suite will cost you $1,230, based on double occupancy. 


Other cabin categories include balcony, ocean view, and interior. The latter are typically the smallest rooms onboard. Additionally, most interior rooms do not have a window, meaning they lack natural light. If, however, you're looking to cruise for as little as possible, they're a great budget-friendly choice. 

Read more: Best rooms on a cruise ship

The best way to save money on your cruise fare is by sailing during the shoulder season


Peak travel season tends to coincide with the American school calendar, so you will see higher fares during the spring break and summer months, winter holidays, and any sailing over a 3-day weekend, such as President's Day, Memorial Day, or Labor Day. 

Carnival's website, for example, advertises a 3-night sailing aboard Carnival Conquest departing on February 21, 2025 for $199 per person. The next 3-night sailing is over President's Dae, with base rates increasing by $40 per person for inside cabins. 

Similarly, a 3-night cruise onboard Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas in May 2025 costs as little as $470 per person. If, however, you choose to sail over Memorial Day (May 23-26), you'll pay at least $630 per passenger. 


The cheapest 3-night cruise offered by Royal Caribbean in July 2025 starts at $527 per person. The cruise would be on Jewel of the Seas, a Radiance Class vessel that lacks many of the bells and whistles that have come to define the Royal Caribbean brand. 

Comparatively, 3-night sailings in September start around $347 per person, with guests able to book a cruise onboard the massive Wonder of the Seas for just $388 per guest. 

Even MSC Cruises, which is known for its cheap fares, sees price hikes during summer months. MSC Seashore has fares for as little as $349 per person in July 2025; however, those who choose to sail during November will see rates even cheaper, starting at $159. 

In addition to lower fares, daily cruise-add ons are cheaper


Mainstream cruise lines are not all-inclusive. From alcoholic beverages to Wi-Fi packages, spa treatments, specialty dining, shore excursions, and so much more, there are plenty of ways to rack up a hefty onboard bill. 

In fact, it's not uncommon for drink packages to cost more than your cruise fare, especially if you're staying in the cheapest cabin onboard during the shoulder season. If you're going on a 5-night Carnival cruise, a CHEERS! Package would cost around $442 after gratuities. When browsing Carnival's website, there are plenty of 5-night sailings for less than $300 per person, meaning your drink package would cost over $100 more than your base fare. 

Those not willing to shell out $700+ on a 5-night cruise will appreciate the cost of a drink package for a weekend cruise. Though it'll still be pricey, you will pay less than you would on a longer voyage. 

Read more: Are cruise drink packages worth it?

alchemy bar onboard carnival celebration

Of course, you do not have to purchase a drink package. They're an optional add-on, so before hitting "purchase," weigh the pros and cons. Those who don't think they'll be able to drink at least 5-6 cocktails daily are better off paying for each beverage individually. If, however, you're someone who likes to indulge more than usual while on vacation, a drink package may be a wise investment. 

Similarly, the cost of internet packages will be less, as you won't have to pay for 5, 6, or 7 days of connectivity. With lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival charging upwards of $20 per day for their Wi-Fi services, it's easy to see the cost quickly accumulate, whereas on a 3-day sailing, you likely won't pay more than $65. 

Finally, while weeklong sailings can visit 3, 4, 5, or even 6 destinations on a port-intensive itinerary, 3-night sailings can visit a maximum of 2. Though planning a fun day ashore on a budget is easy, the fewer ports you call at, the less money you'll spend. 


Moreover, since you don't have to worry about budgeting for 3+ stops, you can maximize your time at each destination. Rather than stretching your budget to cover multiple ports, you can splurge on once-in-a-lifetime experiences, such as visiting the famous Atlantis resort or reserving a cabana at your cruise line's private destination.  

If you want to keep the overall cost of your 3-day cruise as low as possible, visiting a private destination is a great way to explore The Bahamas without breaking the bank, as all destinations—including Royal Caribbean's Perfect Day at CocoCay, Norwegian's Great Stirrup Cay, Disney's Castaway Cay and Lighthouse Point, MSC's Ocean Cay, and Carnival's Half Moon Cay—all offer complimentary lounge chairs and beautiful stretches of white sand beaches. 

Additionally, guests do not have to worry about spending money on lunch, as all cruise line private destinations in The Bahamas offer an included BBQ buffet lunch, meaning you do not have to worry about making time to return to the ship to fuel up for the rest of the day. 

Don't forget to factor in transportation to the port


With the majority of weekend cruises departing from Florida and Los Angeles, many passengers will need to arrange transportation to the embarkation port. 

If you're driving, plan to calculate roughly how much you'll need to set aside for gas, as well as a pre-cruise hotel and parking. With terminals such as Port Canaveral charging $17 per day per vehicle, some passengers may prefer to shop around for more affordable options, as there are third-party vendors who charge as little as $10.95 per day. 

Guests who live further away will need to fly. Airfare prices can vary based on the time of booking, departure city, date, and airline. Airlines tend to hike prices around holidays, so expect to pay more if you're cruise is over a long weekend or winter holiday such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's. 

Read more: 12 Surprising Things That Aren’t Included in Your Cruise Fare


When browsing Google Flights, flying to Miami over Labor Day 2024 from Charlotte, NC would cost at least $197 on Spirit Airlines, while other carriers, like American and Delta, charge well over $450 per person. In comparison, if I were to take a 3-night cruise in early December, I could score tickets for around $167 on Spirit or $380 on American. 

Like those driving, guests flying in will need a pre-cruise hotel, too, as you do not want to fly in on the same day as your ship's departure. If you miss the all-aboard time due to a flight delay or cancellation, you'll have to make arrangements to meet the ship in another port of call, which is costly at the last minute. If you decide it is not worth the extra cost, you'll be out of the money spent on the cruise fare, as you won't receive a refund. 

Read more: The costly cruising mistake newbies make planning their first cruise

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