So you’re planning a family cruise with a $2000 budget… is it possible?
While planning a Royal Caribbean cruise does not have to break the bank, having a $2000 budget will limit your choice of ships, itineraries, cruise length, and time of the year you can sail.
You and your family can have an amazing cruise vacation no matter the ship or itinerary, but it’s important to have an idea of what you can afford before booking a cruise. If you’re hoping to sail on Royal Caribbean’s newest, most impressive cruise ships, you’ll likely have to fork over more than $2000 for a family of four.
If you’re willing to book a shorter cruise, sail on an older ship, or take the kids out of school to cruise during off-season, you can find much better pricing available.
Let’s dive in to learn more about what costs to expect on a Royal Caribbean cruise for a family vacation and see sample prices for many of Royal Caribbean’s top cruise ships.
Kids Sail Free
Royal Caribbean occasionally offers a Kids Sail Free promotion during which kids 12 and younger are eligible for a free cruise fare.
This can lead to impressive savings on a cruise, but there are a few caveats:
- Kids Sail Free is not eligible during blackout dates, which tend to occur during school breaks and holidays.
- Taxes, fees, and gratuities are not included in the Kids Sail Free promotion
- There is no pattern as to when Royal Caribbean will offer Kids Sail Free promotions
Keep an eye out for when Royal Caribbean is running a Kids Sail Free deal by following our Facebook page.
Budget for additional costs
While it’s possible to cruise with Royal Caribbean and spend nothing extra once onboard, you’ll want to budget for additional costs like transportation, pre-cruise hotels, and any add-ons you purchase onboard like shore excursions and drink packages.
One of the biggest costs you can incur is airfare. If you live in California and are flying to Miami for a cruise, you can easily spend $400+ on airfare per person. In this case, it might be better to look for cruises from Los Angeles or Seattle to save money instead of flying across the country.
Budgeting for a hotel the night before your cruise is another important consideration. We recommend flying or driving to your departure port the night before your cruise begins (unless you are a local to the port), so you’ll want to book a hotel for the night before the cruise.
Peak season vs off-season cruising
Some of the biggest differences in price you’ll find on Royal Caribbean cruises happen when comparing a peak season cruise with an off-season cruise.
The peak season for Royal Caribbean cruises is anytime kids are out of school, including President’s Day, spring break, summer vacation, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
Off-season is during any other point in the year:
- January (after New Year’s)
- February (excluding President’s Day)
- March and April (excluding Easter)
- September (excluding Labor Day)
- November (excluding Thanksgiving)
- First two weeks of December
Most families have to stick to the school calendar and must pay peak season prices for a cruise. If you have a flexible schedule, though, you can find nice savings by cruising with your family during the off-season.
Look for last-minute deals
Finding a cheap last-minute deal is possible and can lead to amazing savings on a family cruise. When searching for a Royal Caribbean cruise, check if there are any last-minute deals available that can potentially save you hundreds of dollars per guest.
While cruising at the last minute may not be possible for all families, it’s still worth checking if there are any last-minute deals that coincide with your kids’ school schedules.
So… what does a family cruise cost?
To put the cost of a family cruise into perspective, I’ve calculated a few sample cruise fares for the following itineraries:
- 3 and 4-night cruises
- 6, 7, and 8-night cruises
- Cruises on Oasis Class ships only
The pricing was calculated based on the following factors:
- 2 adults and 2 kids over the age of 2
- Interior cabins
- Includes taxes & fees
- Does not include gratuities
These cruise fares were not priced during a Kids Sail Free promotion. During a Kids Sail Free promotion, you can expect to save several hundred dollars on the cruise fare per child.
In the prices below, I have two pricing examples for booking a cruise cabin for a family: staying together in one interior cabin and booking two connecting interior cabins.
There are many other stateroom categories to choose from when traveling with kids, but these two are generally always the most economical.
These cruise fares were found on Royal Caribbean’s website, but pricing is subject to change. What was a cheap fare one day could change drastically the next day, so don’t be surprised to find varied pricing when you search for your own cruises.
Note: Many of the prices below are over $2000, but I wanted to give a realistic look at what a family cruise can cost. While you can certainly find cruises under $2000 for a family of four, it’s more common to see pricing between $2000 - $3000 as opposed to under $2000, especially for week-long cruises.
Cost of a week-long cruise for a family of 4
A 6,7, or 8-night cruise is the standard length for a cruise vacation, and Royal Caribbean has plenty of ships sailing week-long cruises at any given time.
Many passengers find week-long to be a great length because they give enough time to get acquainted with the ship, visit at least 3-4 ports, and have time to relax without feeling rushed.
The price of a week-long cruise can vary dramatically depending on the month you sail. During the summer months, it can be hard to find a cruise for a family of four under $2000. Off-season prices, however, can be more budget friendly, although it can still be tricky to find a cruise under $2000.
Peak season pricing (June) on a 7-night cruise:
- Grandeur of the Seas - Caribbean: $2,571 (1 room), $2,926 (2 connecting rooms)
- Ovation of the Seas - Alaska: $4,466 (1 room), $5,690 (2 connecting rooms)
- Allure of the Seas - Caribbean: $3,285 (1 room), $3,875 (2 connecting rooms)
Off-season pricing on a 6, 7, or 8-night cruise:
- Voyager of the Seas (6 nights - Caribbean): $1655 (1 room), $1,842 (2 connecting rooms)
- Enchantment of the Seas (8 nights - Bahamas): $2,082 (1 room), $2,919 (2 connecting rooms)
- Oasis of the Seas (7 nights - Caribbean): $2,303 (1 room), $2,830 (2 connecting rooms)
Cost of a short cruise (2-5 nights) for a family of 4
Shorter cruises (2-5 nights) will almost always have a lower cost than week-long cruises (6-8 nights). A variety of Royal Caribbean ships sail short cruise itineraries, but they’re most commonly scheduled on Voyager and Freedom Class ships.
It’s definitely possible to book a 3 or 4-night cruise for under $2000 for a family, even during peak season. 4-night cruises are often cheaper than 3-night sailings as they fall mid-week (Monday through Friday) and therefore have less demand.
The caveat with shorter cruises is that they often have a higher cost per night compared to longer cruises, meaning you may get more bang for your buck on a 7-night cruise even if the total cost is higher per person.
That being said, here are a few prices you can expect for a short cruise.
3-night weekend cruise during the peak summer season in June:
- Independence of the Seas (Bahamas): $1,818 (1 room), $1,877 (2 connecting rooms)
- Navigator of the Seas (Mexico): $1,601 (1 room), $1,895 (2 connecting rooms)
3-night weekend cruise during the off-season in February:
- Freedom of the Seas (Bahamas): $1,277 (1 room), $1,452 (2 connecting rooms)
- Navigator of the Seas (Mexico): $1,264 (1 room), $1,062 (2 connecting rooms)
Can I sail on an Oasis Class ship with my family for under $2000?
Oasis Class cruise ships are the most popular Royal Caribbean ships for families, offering an amazing array of family-friendly activities like water slides, zip lines, rock climbing, mini golf, a sports court, FlowRider, and a carousel.
Related: All about Oasis Class cruise ships
With high demand comes high prices, however, and cruising on an Oasis Class ship will almost always be more expensive than a cruise of the same length and destination as an older class of Royal Caribbean cruise ships.
To see typical pricing for a family of four to sail on an Oasis Class ship in peak season, I priced out all 5 Oasis Class ships for a family of four on a 7-night cruise in July:
- Oasis of the Seas (Bahamas): $3,755 (1 room), $5,830 (2 connecting rooms)
- Allure of the Seas (Caribbean): $3,285 (1 room), $3,875 (2 connecting rooms)
- Harmony of the Seas (Caribbean): $4,572 (1 room), $4,312 (2 connecting rooms)
- Symphony of the Seas (Europe): $5,295 (1 room), $5,454 (2 connecting rooms)
- Wonder of the Seas (Caribbean): $5,783 (1 room), $5423 (2 connecting rooms)
Next up, I priced out the same ships for a 7-night cruise during the off-season in October.
- Oasis of the Seas (Bahamas): $2,303 (1 room), $2,830 (2 connecting rooms)
- Allure of the Seas (Caribbean): $2,048 (1 room), $2,279 (2 connecting rooms)
- Harmony of the Seas (Caribbean): $2,933 (1 room), $3,273 (2 connecting rooms)
- Symphony of the Seas (Europe): $3,674 (1 room), $4,615 (2 connecting rooms)
- Wonder of the Seas (Caribbean): $3,667 (1 room), $4,907 (2 connecting rooms)
As you can see, you’re unlikely to find a 7-night cruise for under $2000 on an Oasis Class ship, especially in the peak summer season. Expect to pay between $3000 and $5000 for a family of four during this time of year.
That being said, it’s possible to find a cruise for around $2000 during the off-season if you can make it work with your kids’ school schedules.
You’ll typically find the best pricing on Allure of the Seas, as this ship has not been amplified and is the only Oasis Class ship without water slides, the Ultimate Abyss, and updated dining venues. Symphony of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas usually have the highest pricing available, as they are the two newest ships in the Oasis Class.
So… can you actually cruise for $2000 with a family?
It’s possible to cruise for $2000 or under with a family when counting solely the cruise fare, especially if you book the cruise during a Kids Sail Free promotion.
However, you won’t have much selection when it comes to cruise length or ship choice. If this is important to you, it might be better to either stretch your budget or wait a few months until you can book the cruise that is of most interest to your family.
Outside of cruise fare, though, there are many factors that can drastically increase the total cost of a cruise vacation, including:
- Shore excursions
- Dining & drink packages