Want to Compare Cruising to Land Vacations? Here’s an Apples to Apples Comparison

Non-cruisers around the world often view cruising as an expensive, luxurious trip.  I’ve heard many people tell me they thought cruising was for rich people and I get judged as one of those rich people because I cruise all the time.  But, I’m here to tell you that cruising can be a very cost-effective vacation when compared with a land vacation of equal length and destinations.  Let’s compare cruising to land vacations and see how it turns out.

Piggy Bank With Drink On The Palm Beach. Compare cruising to a land vacation

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Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

The comparison has to be apples to apples.  It wouldn’t be fair to compare cruising to an all-inclusive that is only at one destination since cruises take you to multiple destinations.  So, for the purpose of this post, let’s take a 7-day cruise to the Caribbean on MSC.  MSC usually has really low rates.  I’ll choose a Bella oceanview cabin because a comparable hotel room would have windows, right?  I won’t use any sales or special rates.  OK, let’s get started.

MSC Cruises Cruise Deals

Two Couples’ Vacation

Our MSC Cruise leaves Miami, FL on July 2, 2021.  Here are the assumptions we’ll use for this comparison:

  • The couples are from New York City
  • Breakfast will cost about $25 per day if not included
  • Lunch will cost about $40 per day if not included
  • Dinner will cost about $80 per day if not included
  • This will not include any paid activities/excursions

Here’s the itinerary:

July 2ndDepart Miami, FL
July 3rdAt Sea
July 4thOcho Rios, Jamaica
July 5thGeorgetown, Cayman Islands
July 6thCozumel, Mexico
July 7thAt Sea
July 8thOcean Cay, Bahamas
July 9thArrive Miami, FL
MSC Seashore itinerary

July 2nd – Miami

Our couples both need airfare and transportation to begin their trip.  The difference here is that once our cruise couple boards the ship, they no longer need to worry about food and lodging.

MSC Seashore Land Vacation
Transportation from home to Airport$50$50
Flight from NYC to Miami$616$616Pricing is roundtrip for 2 people
Transportation from MIA to Port/Hotel$20*Free Airport Shuttle*Aprox. Uber price
(total cruise)
$190**Hilton Miami Airport Blue Lagoon
Daily Total$2869$1001

July 3rd – At Sea/Miami

Since the cruise will be at sea, our land couple can spend more time in Miami.

MSC SeashoreLand Vacation
Hotelincluded$190**Hilton Miami Airport Blue Lagoon
Daily Total$0$335

July 4th – Ocho Rios/Montego Bay

Our cruise couple is spending the 4th of July in Ocho Rios, so our land couple will need to take a flight to Montego Bay to catch up.  Ground transportation to Ocho Rios is quite cost prohibitive at $120 each way.  So, our land couple stays in Montego Bay.

MSC SeashoreLand Vacation
Transportation from Miami, FL to Montego Bay, Jamaicaincluded$386**one way flight for 2
Hotelincluded$371Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa
Daily Total$0$757

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July 5th – Cayman Islands

Our cruise couple will wake up in the Cayman Islands, so our land couple has to take a flight to catch up. (I’m tired already on behalf of the land couple.  (All this traveling really takes a toll on a girl. LOL).

MSC SeashoreLand Vacation
Transportation from Montego Bay, Jamaica to George Town, Cayman Islandsincluded$476**one way flight for 2
Hotelincluded$646Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort
Daily Total$0$1267

July 6th – Cozumel

Our cruise couple wakes up Cozumel, but there are no flights directly to Cozumel from Grand Cayman, so our land couple hops a flight to Cancun and takes ground transportation to Cozumel.

MSC SeashoreLand Vacation
Transportation from the Cayman Islands to Cancun, Mexicoincluded$774**one way flight for 2
Ground TransportationN/A$175**roundtrip price for 2
Hotelincluded$179Wyndham Cozumel Hotel & Resort
Daily Total$0$1128

July 7th – At Sea/Cozumel, Mexico

Our cruise couple will be at sea today while our land couple get to spend another day in Cozumel.

MSC SeashoreLand Vacation
Hotelincluded$179Wyndham Cozumel Hotel & Resort
Daily Total$0$179

Follow my experience on the MSC Seaside

July 8th – Ocean Cay/Grand Bahama

Our cruise couple is at Ocean Cay which is MSC’s private island.  Our land couple will be unable to go to the private island but they can still take a flight back to Miami and then take a daytrip to the Bahamas.

MSC SeashoreLand Vacation
Transportation from Cancun, MX to Miami, FLincluded$170**one way for 2
Ferry to Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas (Day trip)N/A$358**roundtrip price for 2
Hotelincluded$190*Hilton Miami Airport Blue Lagoon
Daily Total$0$863

July 9th – Time to go home

Our cruise couple will sadly have to debark the ship and I’m pretty sure our land couple is tired from their adventures and are ready to go home.

MSC SeashoreLand Vacation
Ground Transportation$20*Free Airport Shuttle*Aprox. Uber price
Daily Total$20$25

Compare Cruising to a Land Vacation: The Totals

MSC SeashoreLand Vacation
July 2nd$2869$1001
July 3rd$0$335
July 4th$0$757
July 5th$0$1267
July 6th$0$1128
July 7th$0$179
July 8th$0$863
July 9th$20$25
Trip Total$2889$5555

So what are the benefits of a land vacation like this?

  • You are staying overnight and you’re not on a time limit for the day
    • Take your time to explore
    • You are able to enjoy the nightlife (imagine Ibiza at night!)
    • More time to interact with the locals
    • You get to dine on authentic fare.

What are the benefits of cruising?

  • One low price for multiple destinations
  • Unpack once for the entire itinerary
  • Includes lodging, food, some beverages, some entertainment, taxes, and tips

Now, of course, most people would not choose to mirror a cruise itinerary like this as you can see how intensive it is when you have to catch a flight every day.  But, with the information laid out for you, you can see the value that cruising provides.  While it definitely spoils you with great service and food, it is a very affordable option for what is included.

Now, if you are one of the brave souls that like intensive land vacations, check out G Adventures.  They have bundle pricing that includes your lodging, some food, and travel to each location on the itinerary.

So now that you have the total breakdown of an apples to apples comparison, tell me in the comments below your thoughts on the comparison.

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