This summer's vacation has already turned out to be expensive. Gas prices have soared to record highs, airlines have canceled thousands of flights, and hotel rates have gone past pre-pandemic levels.
Despite the high prices, chaotic travel stories, and inflation, there is at least one bright spot for budget travelers this year: cruises, which are sailing for under $100 a day.
It sounds too good to be true that there is a flurry of last minute vacations at such discounted rates. It is most of the time. Travelers usually book their cruises a year in advance. The cruise industry and eager cruise goers were still fighting constantly changing restrictions and sailing protocols.
With travel and vaccine restrictions easing, many cruise lines have begun increasing guest capacity and bringing their fleets back into service. Tynan Smith, the founder of cheap cruise aggregation Cruise Sheet, told Insider that because these companies haven't had the "normal amount of time" to sell cabins, they are now discounting their itineraries.
The average cruise fare went down from June 1 to July 13 of this year. "These aren't the lowest prices I've seen, but there are more low prices than I've ever seen," Smith said, noting that he's found a cruise for as cheap as $29 a day in the past month.
According to Smith, one of Carnival Cruise Line's cheapest cruises is currently starting at $48 a day. There are cheap cruise lines like Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Holland America Line.
"During times of rising inflation, cruising is more attractive to our guests," a Holland America spokesman told Insider. With the cost and recent challenges with air travel, we are seeing strong interest in cruises that are a short flight or drive from guests' homes
Smith told Insider that there are 45 cruises sailing for $50 a day or less in the next four years. Between June and July, the average daily rate for hotel rooms in the US was about $150, according to data from STR.
The typical cruise ship amenities that blow most motel and hotels out of the water are large swimming pools, lounges with views of the ocean, and buffets.
Travelers have been trying to find deals. David Crooks, the company's senior vice president of product and operations, told Insider that last-minute bookings with the company are up more than 50%. The last three months have seen a record number of bookings on Cruise Sheet.
"I tell anyone that's interested in going on a vacation right now that it's a great time to go on a cruise, price-wise and because ships aren't full," he said. The people are getting a really good experience.