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You'll never guess where you can find the cheapest Carnival and Princess cruises right now

Jan. 26, 2023
6 min read
Royal Princess cruise ship at sea at sunset
You'll never guess where you can find the cheapest Carnival and Princess cruises right now
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Planning a trip to Australia in the coming months? Consider tacking on a cruise.

In a bit of a twist, the best deals on cruises right now from two of North America's biggest cruise lines — Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruises — are for sailings all the way across the world in the Land Down Under.

As of Thursday morning, both lines were offering three-night voyages in Australia for as little as $38 per day. That's less on a per-day basis than any other short cruise on offer at either of the brands — including normally low-priced Bahamas sailings.

On a per-day basis, longer Australia cruises for sale were even cheaper at Carnival. The line on Thursday morning was offering seven-night Australia sailings for as little as $204 — or just $29 per day.

Seven-night Australia sailings at Princess started at $397 — or about $57 a day.

The low pricing comes as cruise ships finally return to Australia in earnest after a nearly-three-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a surge in cabin supply.

Both Carnival and Princess have long had a presence in the Australia cruise market, even though their biggest operations are closer to home.

The vast majority of Carnival's fleet operates sailings from U.S. ports to the Bahamas, Caribbean and Mexican Riviera. Princess is perhaps best known for sailings to Alaska, Europe and the Caribbean but has a presence in many places around the world.

Related: The 5 best destinations you can visit on a Princess ship

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Note that, for the most part, the best fares available now for Australia cruises are for soon-to-depart voyages. That means you'll need to travel to Australia soon to take advantage of them. In many cases, the sailings will work best as an add-on to an already planned Australia trip, if you can adjust your travel dates and itinerary.

The deals

The most enticing Australia cruise offers available from Carnival and Princess as of early Thursday included:

  • A seven-night sailing out of Brisbane on Carnival Luminosa beginning Feb. 5 that starts at $204 — or about $29 a day. Additional departures on Feb. 12, March 5, March 12 and March 26 start from $211 to $244 — or about $30 to $35 a day.
  • A three-night sailing out of Melbourne on Grand Princess beginning March 28 that starts at $114 — or about $38 a day.
  • A three-night sailing out of Brisbane on Carnival Luminosa beginning Feb. 2 that starts at $113 — or about $38 a day. Additional departures on March 2 and March 23 start at $137 and $194, respectively.
  • A five-night sailing out of Sydney on Carnival Luminosa beginning Jan. 28 that starts at $296 — or about $59 a day. Additional departures later in the year start at $317 — or about $63 a day.

Both lines also offer longer sailings at relatively low rates. Carnival, for instance, offers a nine-night sailing out of Sydney departing on June 21 starting at $430 — or about $48 a day.

A 14-night sailing out of Melbourne on Royal Princess beginning March 8 starts at just $432 — or about $31 a day. Long sailings to New Zealand out of Sydney on Royal Princess are also available at somewhat higher rates.

Carnival Luminosa recently joined the fleet from Carnival's sister brand Costa Cruises. CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE

In many cases, these Australia itineraries are aimed at the local Australian market. However, they are open to bookings from anyone in the world.

The shorter sailings typically visit coastal areas near their departure ports or are "cruises to nowhere" without stops. The longer sailings take in some of Australia's most famous destinations, as well as iconic places in New Zealand.

Related: The ultimate guide to Carnival Cruise Line

The nine-night Carnival sailing out of Sydney, for instance, takes cruisers to Australia's famed Great Barrier Reef. The 14-night Princess sailing out of Melbourne focuses on some of the best-known places in New Zealand, including Fiordland National Park.

The fine print

All the deeply discounted fares above, notably, are only available for windowless interior cabins, which are the lowest-category cabins on each of the ships.

However, the lines offer low rates on ocean-view and balcony cabins on some of the trips, too.

Ocean-view cabins (that is, cabins with a window) on the three-night Carnival Luminosa cruise departing Feb. 2 were listed on Carnival's website Thursday morning for $155 — just $42 more than a windowless cabin.

Balcony cabins on the sailing were listed for $197. That works out to about $66 a day for a balcony cabin.

Related: 6 ways to get a deal on a cruise

Note that all the fares are per-person rates that are based on two people staying in a cabin. They're not available for solo travelers.

In addition, while the rates include accommodations, meals and entertainment, they don't include port taxes and fees, which range from a modest $68 for Carnival's short Brisbane sailings to a hefty $393 for the 14-night Princess sailing to New Zealand.

Cruise lines typically advertise their fares without port taxes and fees included but add these costs to final bills at the time of checkout.

On the websites for both Carnival and Princess, Australia cruises now show up at the top of the list when sorting sailings by price point, something that is relatively unusual.

At Carnival, the lowest fares are usually for short Bahamas sailings, on both an absolute basis and on a per-day basis. The lowest-priced Princess sailings are often for voyages along the west coast of California and to the Mexican Riviera.

As of Thursday, the lowest-priced three-night sailing in the Bahamas available at Carnival's website started at $168 — about 49% more than the line's lowest-priced three-night sailing in Australia.

As noted, the best pricing for these Australia sailings is for very close-in departures, which may be difficult for Americans to reach on short notice.

However, there are some low fares on Australia sailings scheduled to depart later in the year, too. For instance, a 13-night Princess sailing out of Sydney to New Zealand departs Nov. 19 and starts at $717 — or just $55 a day.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by PRINCESS CRUISES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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6X6x Marriott Bonvoy Points on each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
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The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

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