Skip to content

Cruise deals galore: Why this could be the year to spend the winter holidays on a ship

Nov. 16, 2022
4 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

As cruise lines continue to discount fares to drive bookings, the holidays could be a terrific time to sail, with deals on upcoming 2022 voyages everywhere you look — some as little as $50 per person per night.

Travel demand is swelling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that airfares have skyrocketed, as have prices for land-based hotels, resorts and all-inclusives. What this means is that, with cruise prices remaining low, a vacation at sea just might offer some of the best value if you're looking to hit the road for the holidays.

Whether you're planning to spend them with your significant other, a group of friends or your entire extended family, you'd be remiss not to check out some of these amazing last-minute cruise deals we've spotted for sailings over Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's.

For more cruise news, guides and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter.

Sample cruises

A Royal Caribbean ship docked at the line's private island in the Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Here are some examples of fares I'm seeing in three popular cruise destinations over the holidays.

Bahamas

  • Thanksgiving: Five-night Carnival Sunrise sailing, round-trip from Miami on Nov. 23, from $479 per person ($96 per night).
  • Christmas/Hanukkah: Three-night Norwegian Sky sailing, round-trip from Miami on Dec. 23, from $279 per person ($93 per night).
  • New Year's: Eight-night Norwegian Getaway sailing, round-trip from New York on Dec. 31, from $629 per person ($79 per night).

Caribbean

  • Thanksgiving: Nine-night Celebrity Infinity sailing, round-trip from Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 19, from $599 per person ($67 per night).
  • Christmas/Hanukkah: Sixteen-night Zaandam (Holland America) sailing, round-trip from Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 20, from $1,049 per person ($66 per night).
  • New Year's: Seven-night Radiance of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) sailing, round-trip from New Orleans on Dec. 31, from $571 per person ($82 per night).

Mediterranean

  • Thanksgiving: Fifteen-night Regal Princess sailing, from Rome (Civitavecchia) to Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 17, from $857 per person ($57 per night).
  • Christmas/Hanukkah: Five-night MSC Magnifica sailing, round-trip from Marseille, France, on Dec. 22, from $299 per person ($60 per night).
  • New Year's: Four-night MSC Poesia sailing, from Genoa, Italy, to Rome (Civitavecchia) on Dec. 31, from $243 per person ($61 per night).

The fine print

Norwegian Joy. NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE

There are some caveats, however. The prices listed are for the most basic windowless cabins, as advertised at VacationsToGo.com. They're also double occupancy rates, which means they're per person, not per sailing. Cruisers traveling solo are expected to pay for both fares if they're staying alone in accommodations intended for two people. (Some cruise lines do offer solo cabins.)

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Additionally, port taxes and fees generally aren't included in the fares you initially see. Airfare and pre-cruise hotels can add to the overall cost of your trip, too. Look for sailings departing from a port you can drive to if you're cruising on a budget.

Bottom line

Although cruise prices for holiday weeks aren't as low as what we've been seeing for non-holiday weeks this fall — think $26-per-day Carnival fares and Royal Caribbean sailings for less than $100 — they're still affordable, providing a much more economical choice than land-based vacations. (Although the prices above are super-low, anything less than $1,000 per person per voyage, is still a steal for cruises during the holidays.) Plus, you can see multiple places in one trip.

Not quite ready to sail yet? There are other great bargains to be had for sailings in 2023 and beyond with this year's Black Friday cruise deals. Check out early offers from major cruise lines featuring fare discounts and added perks like complimentary airfare, Wi-Fi, alcohol packages and more.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by HUTCHYB/GETTY IMAGES
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.

TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees