A Mediterranean cruise is a dream itinerary for many cruisers. From exploring the Colosseum to sunbathing on the French Riviera and walking the cobblestone streets of Dubrovnik, plenty of unique adventures await visitors in the Mediterranean.
With proper planning, a Mediterranean cruise can fit both low, modest, and high-end budgets. From interior staterooms on Royal Caribbean’s smaller ships to suites on the newest and largest ships, options are plentiful for planning a Mediterranean cruise no matter your budget.
Therefore, there is no “one price fits all” on a Mediterranean cruise, as the cost can vary drastically in cruise fares, shore excursions, onboard spending, and time of year you sail. If you’re planning a Mediterranean cruise, this guide should help you decide how to make cruising this fantastic region of the world fit into your budget and vacation style.
Mediterranean cruise prices by ship
Royal Caribbean sends both its oldest and newest cruise ships to the Mediterranean during the summer months, offering guests the choice between a traditional cruise experience or a ship filled with the cruise line’s most unique and updated activities and amenities.
Unsurprisingly, Royal Caribbean’s newest ships come at a higher price tag compared to its older ships in the Mediterranean. The cost difference of sailing on a larger ship compared to a smaller ship can be significantly more expensive or only slightly more expensive.
Let’s look at a few examples to see how the ship you choose for a European cruise can affect your cruise fare.
First let’s compare an 8-night Greek Isles cruise on both Rhapsody of the Seas (Vision Class ship) and Odyssey of the Seas (Quantum Class ship). The price listed is the total fare for two adults in an ocean view cabin on a September cruise, including taxes and fees:
- Rhapsody of the Seas: $1658.28 ($207 per night)
- Odyssey of the Seas: $2998.14 ($374 per night)
Next let’s compare a 7-night Western Mediterranean on Brilliance of the Seas (Radiance Class ship) and Symphony of the Seas (Oasis Class ship). The price listed is the total fare for two adults in a balcony cabin on a June cruise, including taxes and fees:
- Brilliance of the Seas: $2254.54 ($322 per night)
- Symphony of the Seas: $3796.34 ($542 per night)
While a smaller ship will come at a lower price tag, it’s never a good idea to pick a cruise solely based on price. Looking into each ship’s amenities, dining options, cabin categories, and onboard activities can help you decide which size ship will suit you best.
Mediterranean cruise prices by month
Just like the ship you book, the month you cruise in the Mediterranean can have an impact on the overall cost of your cruise. In fact, a cruise in May can be several hundred dollars cheaper per person than a cruise in July or August.
Shoulder season in the Mediterranean is found in the months of April, May, September, and October, and this is when you tend to see the lowest cruise fares. As the school year is still in session, there is less demand for Mediterranean cruises, leading to lower prices.
Peak season, on the other hand, is found in the summer months: June, July, and August. While early June may see some lower prices due to the fact that summer travel to Europe is just getting started, expect the highest fares in July and August. At this time of year demand is highest and ships are likely to be near full capacity.
Let’s take a look at just how varied the price of a cruise can be based on the month you sail. First let’s compare the difference in a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise on Symphony of the Seas in mid-April and mid-July.
The price listed is the total cost for two adults in an ocean view balcony cabin:
- April 16 departure: $2999.48 ($428 per night)
- July 16 departure: $4338.40 ($620 per night)
Such a huge price difference is not always the case, though. Next let’s compare the difference in an 8-night Western Mediterranean cruise on Vision of the Seas in mid-May and mid-July.
The price listed is the total cost for two adults in an interior cabin:
- May 13 departure: $1634.90 ($233 per night)
- July 8 departure: $1729.80 ($247 per night)
As you can see, the price difference between spring and summer can be either drastic or only slightly different. A more drastic price difference will be seen on the most in-demand ships, such as Oasis and Quantum Class ships, whereas a smaller price difference will be seen on older ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet.
Does itinerary matter?
Mediterranean cruises generally fit into two categories: Western Mediterranean (Spain, France, and Italy) and Eastern Mediterranean (Greece, the Adriatic, and countries like Cyprus and Israel). You will not see a notable difference in cruise fare from one region of the Mediterranean to another.
That being said, countries in the eastern Mediterranean, such as Croatia, Montenegro, and Turkey, tend to be cheaper destinations to visit, which may influence shore excursion pricing as well as the cost of things like local guides, taxis, food, souvenirs, etc.
Shore excursion prices in the Mediterranean
Remembering to budget for shore excursions is important on a Mediterranean cruise. Those used to cruising in the Caribbean may not put too much thought into planning shore excursions, where choosing what to do can be as simple as picking one beach over another.
In the Mediterranean, though, it’s good to have an idea of what you would like to do in each port and book excursions accordingly. Many Mediterranean ports are easy to explore on your own, which will save you money in the long run, but plenty of cruisers prefer the security and ease of an organized shore excursion.
Here are a few Royal Caribbean excursion ideas along with their prices (these prices are subject to change based on sailing and time of year):
- Essential Rome with the Vatican, Colosseum & St. Peter’s Basilica: $279.00/adult or child
- Barcelona City Sights: $53.75/adult, $44.75/child
- Monaco Hop On Hop Off Bus from Nice: $119.0/adult, $89.00/child
- Best of Mykonos full day adventure: $148.99/adult, $103.99/child
- Mykonos walking tour: $35.99/adult, $17.99/child
- Kotor Bay Catamaran Sail and Beach Break: $121.99/adult or child
- Plantaze Vineyards Wine Tasting (Kotor): $188.99/adult or child
- Dalmatian Coastline & Village Life (Split): $117.99/adult, $92.99/child
Some excursions soley offer transportation to and from certain destinations that are far from where cruise ships dock. For example, cruise ships to Rome actually port in Civitavecchia, which is around 40 minutes from Rome on a high-speed train.
Therefore, Royal Caribbean offers tours that provide transport to and from cities while giving you several hours of free time upon arrival. The “Explore Rome” excursion, as an example, provides round trip transport to Rome from Civitavecchia for $69.95/adult or $54.75/child.
Of course, you do not have to book any excursions and can instead figure out activities and transportation on your own. Alternatively, you can find shore excursions with tour operators outside of Royal Caribbean, which may come at a lower cost and offer a wider selection of tours.
Personal preferences and onboard spending
Outside of picking a ship, itinerary, and booking shore excursions, the total cost of your cruise will ultimately depend on your preferences. From the type of cabin you book to extras like specialty dining and drink packages, the total cost of a cruise vacation can vary widely from person to person, even if they paid the same base cruise fare.
Here are some examples of what you may pay extra for on your Mediterranean cruise:
- Drink packages (alcoholic or nonalcoholic packages) or paying for drinks individually
- Specialty dining
- Onboard activities
- Spa treatments
For a more in-depth look at what extra costs are not included on a Royal Caribbean cruise, check out our article on the top 30 extra cruise costs that are not included.
It’s possible to cruise the Mediterranean on a budget or splurge for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. No matter what cabin you book, ship you choose, or activities you do in port, though, you’re guaranteed to have a memorable vacation in one of the most beautiful and historic regions of the world.