Cost of Living on a Carnival Cruise Ship


Level 2 Member
It costs about $189 per day for two people to live aboard the Carnival Victory. This includes taxes, port fees, and gratuities.

I'm starting my little series of analyzing how much it costs to live aboard a cruise ship. I am particularly looking at rock-bottom costs as I compare cruise lines. When I started doing my research, I got yearly estimates from $50,000 to over $150,000 for a year of cruising.

What It's Like to Live on a Cruise Ship
I have spent the last couple of days reading the story of Egon Landsberg, a feisty nonagenarian who spent a year on the MSC Poesia. You can read his moving story in the "Solo Cruisers" forum on Cruise Critic. His thread is called "Never Too Old."

Research Methods
I am going to use the scientific method, i.e, I only want to change one variable and keep all other factors constant. Since almost all major lines have cruises that leave from Miami, I will only use cruises that leave from the Port of Miami on closed-loop cruises. I will pick the least expensive itineraries on these cruises in cabins shared by two people, and I will look at the least expensive inside cabins. I will compare the cost of cruising for the month of January, 2017. The cruise prices will be more expensive in the beginning of the month, but the prices will go down after that. The only variable that will change will be the cruise line. I am using Vacations To Go price per night feature to identify the cheapest cruises on a per-night basis. I will then go to the cruise line website and search their data bases. I will apply for discounts for cruisers over 55, from the state of Georgia, and the past guest discount.

First Test Case--Carnival Victory

The lowest price per night from Miami is $44/per night on the Carnival Victory. The Victory runs an alternating schedule of three-and four-night cruises. The three-nighters go to Nassau, and the four-nighters go to Key West and Cozumel. The first one is a four-nighter leaving on Jan. 2. The cheapest cabins are on the first two decks. There is an option to get a porthole cabin for the same price as an inside, so I chose that.

After clicking through about five screens, I finally get the total price including taxes and fees. Here is the final price on the most expensive week on the four-night itinerary:

The least expensive itinerary is the three night at the advertised price of $169/ person. The final price ends up being $528.20 with taxes and fees.

Here is a summary of the total costs of the three-day itineraries:

Date Advertised price per person Taxes and Fees Total price per cabin for two
Jan. 6 $169 $190.30 $528.30
Jan. 13 $199 $190.30 $588.30
Jan. 20 $169 $190.30 $528.30
Jan. 27 $169` $190.30 $528.30

These are the costs for all the four-day itineraries:

Date Advertised price per person Taxes and Fees Total price per cabin for two
Jan. 2 $259 $202.06 $720.06
Jan. 9 $189 $202.06 $580.06
Jan. 23 $179 $202.06 $560.06
Jan. 30 $199 $202.06 $600.06

Please notice that there is a four-night segment missing on January 16. Perhaps the ship is chartered out for this trip, but in any case, there is no sailing on the Victory listed on the Carnival website for January 16. Your choices here would be to stay on land for the four days, or to "jump ship" to Royal Caribbean or Norwegian for these four days. RCCL offers a four-day on Enchantment for a total price of $618 (plus $103.60 in gratuities). Norwegian has a four-day sailing on the Sky for $950 (not including gratuities, but it does include the beverage package :). Since these are different lines, I will use the 28 days you would sail in January on Carnival in my calculations.

Total price including taxes and fees for 28 days in the month of January is $4633.44. The last thing we need to add is the gratuities. The suggested amounts are $12/day/person, for a total of $672.

Grand total for the Carnival Victory for January, 2017
$4633.44 (cruise cost for two including taxes and fees) and $672 (gratuities for two for 28 days equals $5305.44. This works out to a per diem cost of $189.48 for two people.

I probably would not sail these itineraries. Can you imaging having to go through customs in Miami every 3-4 days for a month?


Level 2 Member
Do these cruise ships offer internet in the cabin? Some people can work remotely...
They do but it is expensive. And not very reliable from what I've heard. Sometimes you can get some amount of Internet included in a package deal. On some other lines elite members may get several hundred minutes per cruise as a perk.