If you are considering a cruise you may be wondering how much Mediterranean cruises ACTUALLY cost. I’ve been on 3 Mediterranean cruises and have spent a lot of time researching the cheapest ways to cruise.
In this post we will look at the prices of Mediterranean cruises on the following cruise lines: Costa Cruises, Marella Cruises, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean.
How Much Does a Mediterranean Cruise Cost?
The average price of a 7 night Mediterranean cruise is $848 per person. In the peak summer season, this increases to $1218. The price of a 7-night Mediterranean cruise during winter can be as little as $430.
There are a number of factors that affect the price of a Mediterranean cruise including cruise company and time of year.
7 Night Mediterranean Cruises – Cruise Only (No flights)
The table below shows example prices for a selection of Mediterranean cruises. These cruises take part during the months of April, August and November.
Each cruise was found directly on the cruise lines website and only one example from each cruise line was used for the comparison. The prices of cruises do of course vary but the prices below do provide a good example of what to expect.
|Costa Cruises||£501 ($706)||£839 ($1182)||£389 ($548)|
|Marella Cruises||£692 ($795)||£1019 ($1436)||£717 ($1010)|
|MSC Cruises||£753 ($1061)||£1299 ($1831)||£579 ($819)|
|Norwegian Cruise Line||£939 ($1323)||£929 ($1309)||£789 ($1112)|
|P&O Cruises||£799 ($1126)||£899 ($1267)||–|
|Princess Cruises||£799 ($1126)||£1059 ($1493)||£799 ($1126)|
|Royal Caribbean||£824 ($1161)||£969 ($1366)||£693 ($900)|
Price Variety by Time of Year
Winter is by far the cheapest time to cruise the Mediterranean. Cruises departing in November and February are usually particularly cheap.
I took a Mediterranean cruise in January and found that the destinations which we visited were considerably less busy than when I had previously visited in summer. The cruise itself was much cheaper and we rarely had to queue for anything. I actually braved the cruise ships waterslides despite the chilly temperatures, we had so much fun and never had to wait for anybody else to have a go because we were the only ones crazy enough to do so!
Benefits of Cruising The Mediterranean in Winter:
- Cheaper cruise price
- Less crowded destinations
- Colder weather (some people prefer the cold!)
Drawbacks of Cruising The Mediterranean in Winter:
- Colder weather
- Less time spent on the top deck, no pool parties.
- Colder when on excursions.
- Need to pack things like jumpers/sweaters!
- Not in the school holidays
What’s The Weather Like in The Mediterranean in Winter?
During our winter Mediterranean cruise, the temperature was consistently around the early 20s(c), 70s(f). We didn’t see rain throughout the entire week and had consistently bright blue skies. I’m from the UK so being able to see blue skies in January is almost unheard of!
Christmas Mediterranean Cruises
An exception to this rule is Christmas. I actually cruised the Mediterranean over Christmas and although it was brilliant, it was MUCH more expensive than the cruise mentioned above. By moving my cruise two weeks into January the cruise fare halved.
Christmas cruises are fantastic and I definitely would recommend one if you are considering it.
Spring/Autumn (fall) Mediterranean Cruises
Cruising in the spring or Autumn (fall) is another good option if you are trying to save money. The weather is generally pretty good in most of the Mediterranean year round and the prices of cruises outside of school holidays are considerably cheaper.
Benefits of Cruising The Mediterranean in The Spring or Autumn (fall):
- Cheaper than summer
- Warm weather
- Less busy destinations
Drawbacks of Cruising The Mediterranean in The Spring or Autumn (fall):
- Not in the school holidays
- The weather isn’t the BEST
Summer Mediterranean Cruises
Summer is by far the most expensive time you can choose to cruise the Mediterranean. Most cruise lines prices on the above table have increased around £200-£300 per person simply by moving from April to August.
If you are able to avoid the school holidays and instead cruise before or after you will see your cruise fare reduce.
The summer provides the best weather and all tourist attractions will be open. In most major ports in the Mediterranean, there will be lots of other tourists around when you dock, this can either be viewed as a good or bad thing depending on your personal preference.
In some ports, you will be docked with other cruise ships and there will be lots of land-based holidaymakers too.
Benefits of Cruising The Mediterranean in Summer:
- Hot weather
- Plenty of pool parties/top deck time
- Hot when exploring the destinations you visit
- All tourist attractions open
Drawbacks of Cruising The Mediterranean in Summer:
- Ships are busier
- Destinations are busier
Price Variety by Cruise Line
There are a number of cruise lines which cruise the Mediterranean. The 7 cruise lines discussed in this guide are all lines that I have personally cruised with and would recommend for other cruisers.
Costa Cruises & MSC Cruises
Costa and MSC are consistently the cheapest cruise lines to cruise the Mediterranean. Both are Italian cruise lines where the onboard experience involves multiple languages being spoken.
MSC Cruises are consistently winning awards as a family cruise line. They offer great value cruises and now include gratuities in the cruise fare. MSC are popular with young cruisers, families and groups. To learn more about cruising with MSC make sure you check out our recommend cruise line page: Recommended Cruise Lines.
Costa provides an Italian cruise experience, their ships are bright, colourful and always full of music. Costa cruises can be ridiculously cheap. I managed to cruise with Costa for around £40 per night which was brilliant.
The food and entertainment on board is primarily Italian with English being one of many other languages spoken onboard.
Marella Cruises, P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises
Marella, P&O and Princess are all mainstream cruise lines with similar price points. They are more expensive than MSC and Costa but provide a cruise experience which is geared to an English speaking audience.
The quality of food on all three is very good and the entertainment is also great. (These are of course my opinions based on cruising with all three.)
Marella includes quite a bit more than most cruise lines in their cruise fares. Marella are an ‘all-inclusive’ cruise line which includes drinks and gratuities (tips). To find out more about what Marella include, check out this post: Marella Cruises All Inclusive – What Does it Include?
P&O now include gratuities (tips) in their cruise fare. Princess do not, these will automatically be added onto your onboard account during the cruise.
To learn more about gratuities, including how they also affect drinks and spa treatments, check out this post so that you don’t have any nasty surprises on your cruise:
Marella Cruises are a British cruise line who are popular with families and cruisers of all ages. Marella was formerly ‘Thomson’ before rebranding as Marella in 2017.
Marella is one of my personal favourite cruise lines because Marella cruises are great value and include a lot. The entertainment onboard is also some of my favourites at sea and the foods great too!
P&O are a British cruise line who focus on the family market. They often have cheap family deals and cruise primarily around Europe.
The experience onboard is very British with lots of tea, Yorkshire puddings and UK plug sockets onboard!
To learn more about what a cruise with P&O is like, check out our recommended cruise lines post here: Recommended Cruise Lines.
Princess Cruises are a cruise line owned by the Carnival Corporation.
They focus on high-quality food, entertainment and service. Princess is definitely one of my favourite cruise lines, their ships are gorgeous and the experience onboard is very relaxing.
There is usually a variety of nationalities onboard Princess cruises but English is the primary language spoken on board. To explore a Princess ship, check out this video:
Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean
Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean are two of the biggest American cruise lines. They are possibly some of the most well-known cruise lines who frequently advertise all over the world.
Both cruise lines focus highly on their ships which offer new and exciting features and experiences. They generally focus on the younger cruise/family market but do attract passengers of all ages.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line cruise worldwide. They focus primarily on freestyle cruising with an emphasis on choice and flexibility.
There are no formal nights on board and dinner is not served at a set time. I personally love the relaxed, fun nature of Norwegian cruises. Norwegian are particularly good at catering for solo cruisers, to find out why check out my recommend cruise lines page here: Recommended Cruise Lines.
Royal Caribbean have the biggest cruise ships on the market and they constantly fill them ships with new and exciting innovations.
It is almost impossible to be bored on a Royal Caribbean cruise, the daily schedule is busy and there are things going on around the clock.
There are multiple dining options onboard all ships and the food is generally of high quality.
Price Variety by Itinerary
Generally speaking round trip cruises are more expensive than repositioning cruises. If you ever see a ridiculously cheap cruise deal you can almost guarantee that it’ll be for a repositioning cruise.
A repositioning cruise is basically a cruise which starts and ends in different ports.
To learn more about repositioning cruises check out my guide on the subject: 7 Benefits of Repositioning Cruises, Tried and Tested.
Price Variety by Cruise Length
A longer cruise is, of course, more expensive than a short cruise. This however doesn’t necessarily work on a proportional basis.
On most cruise lines a 14-night cruise will be less than double the price of a 7-night cruise. It is considerably easier for the cruise line to keep the same guests onboard than to keep having to change guests.
The day where guests embark and disembark is called turn around day and this is often the busiest day for cruise line staff. The cruise ship will have to disembark thousands of passengers by around 10 am and will start receiving new passengers at 12 pm.
It’s amazing how it works really!
Cruise Examples Used
Below are the example cruises used in this post. These are only a few examples and may not be available when you reading this post. They provide a pretty good look at the typical pricing.
Costa – Roundtrip Civitavecchia – Costa Smeralda – Visiting: Rome (Civitavecchia) > La Spezia > Savona > Marseille > Barcelona > Palma De Mallorca > Rome (Civitavecchia) (source)
Marella – Mediterranean from Malaga – Marella Dream – Visiting: Malaga > Porto > Lisbon > Cadiz > Casablanca > Gibraltar > Malaga (source)
MSC – France, Italy, Malta, Spain – MSC Virtuosa – Visiting: Marseille > Genoa > Rome (Civitavecchia) > Palermo > Malta (La Valletta) > Barcelona > Marseille (source)
P&O – Mediterranean – P&O Oceana – Visiting: Valetta > Rome > Livorno > Monte Carlo > Ajaccio > Valletta (source)
Princess – Mediterranean – Crown Princess – Visiting:Athens (Piraeus), Greece > Santorini, Greece > Kotor, Montenegro > Sicily (Messina), Italy > Naples, Italy (for Capri & Pompeii) > Barcelona, Spain (source)
Norwegian Cruise Line – Western Mediterranean from Barcelona – Norwegian Epic – Visiting: Barcelona > Naples > Rome (Civitavecchia) > Livorno > Cannes > Palma > Barcelona (source)
Royal Caribbean – Greece and Croatia – Rhapsody of The Seas – Visiting: Venice, Italy Dubrovnik > Croatia Kotor > Montenegro Santorini > Greece Katakolon > Greece Venice, Italy (source)
Costa – Mediterranean from Marseilles – Costa Diadema – Visiting: Barcelona, Spain > Marseille, France > Savona > Naples > Palermo > Ibiza > Barcelona, Spain (source)
Marella – Mediterranean Medley – Marella Dream – Visiting: Palma, Majorca > Livorno (for Florence and Pisa), Italy > Savona (for Genoa and Turin), Italy > Monaco, Monaco > Toulon (for the Cote d’Azur), France > Barcelona, Spain > Palma, Majorca (source)
MSC – Mediterranean – Visiting: Genoa, Italy > Civitavecchia, Italy > Palermo, Italy > Cagliari, Italy > Palma de Mallorca, Spain > Valencia, Spain > Marseille, France > Genoa, Italy (source)
Norwegian Cruise Line – Western Mediterranean – Visiting: Barcelona, Spain > Naples, Italy > Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy > Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy > Cannes, France > Palma, Majorca, Spain> Barcelona, Spain (source)
P&O – Mediterranean – Visiting: Valletta, Malta > Olbia, Italy > Villefranche-sur-Mer, France > Livorno, Italy > Rome, Italy > Valletta, Malta (source)
Princess – Mediterranean – Enchanted Princess – Barcelona, Spain > Gibraltar > Marseille (Provence), France > Genoa, Italy > Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy > Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy (source)
Royal Caribbean – Allure of The Seas – Visiting: Barcelona > Palma de Mallorca > Marseille > Florence > Rome > Naples (source)
Costa – Mediterranean from Savona – Costa Fortuna – Visiting: Savona > Marseille, Barcelona > Valetta > Palermo > Naples (source)
Marella – Aegean Titans – Marella Dream – Visiting: Cyprus > Crete > Greece > Mykonos > Turkey > Rhodes > Cyprus (source)
MSC – Mediterranean – MSC Sinfonia – Visiting: Venice > Ancona > Dubrovnik > Sarande > Santorini (source)
Norwegian Cruise Line – Western Mediterranean from Barcelona – Norwegian Epic – Visiting: Barcelona > Naples > Rome > Florence > Cannes > Palma > Barcelona (source)
Princess – Mediterranean – Sky Princess – Visiting: Rome > Florence > Genoa > Toulon > Gibraltar > Barcelona (source)
Royal Caribbean – Western Mediterranean – Allure of the Seas – Visiting: Barcelona > Palma de Mallorca > Marseille > Florence > Rome > Naples > Barcelona (source)
It turns out that Caribbean cruises are generally much cheaper: