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Cruises bookings for under $60 a day are all the rage, but sometimes you get what you pay for. Here’s what you need to know before booking.

The Margaritaville Paradise sailing at seaThe Margaritaville Paradise.

The McBride Company

  • There are almost 420 cruises sailing in 2023 for $60 a day or less.
  • What you pay for is what you get: Some of these cheap cruise itineraries aren’t necessarily glamorous.
  • Most are for interior staterooms, transatlantic sailings, and older cruise ships.

Cruises sailed for as cheap as $29 a day in 2022. But in some cases, what you pay for is what you get.

Throughout 2022, cruises became one of the cheapest vacation options for budget-conscious travelers. While airfare, hotel rates, and gas prices soared, cruise lines dramatically decreased fares in an effort to quickly fill ships.

Cruise Sheet saw record bookings for 2022 itineraries from spring into early summer, Smith told Insider in July.

There were 2,000 itineraries that sailed for under $100 a day — including 45 cruises for at most $50 a day — from July through the end of 2022. And these cheap fares will stick around in the new year as well: 419 itineraries will sail in 2023 for $60 a day or less, Tynan Smith, the founder of cheap cruise aggregator Cruise Sheet, told Insider in November.

Popular cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Princess, Norwegian, and Celebrity are all offering itineraries for $70 and under a day, according to data from Cruise Sheet. But just because the brand is recognizable doesn’t mean the cheap cruise ship will be as flashy as Royal Caribbean’s new Wonder of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the SeasRoyal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas ship.

Royal Caribbean

What you pay for is what you get for many of these inexpensive itineraries. The best deals are for interior staterooms, a nicer term for staterooms with no windows. And the majority of Royal Caribbean and Carnival’s under $60 a day itineraries will be aboard ships that have been in operation for many years, in some cases 20 years or more. 

According to Cruise Sheet, the cheapest itinerary in 2023 — a $ 38-a-day cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas — will be a 14-night transatlantic sailing from Barcelona to Tampa, Florida. Transatlantic sailings have traditionally been some of the cheapest dollar-per-day cruise options despite having some of the longest itineraries.

However, the majority of transatlantic sailings are spent sailing with only a handful of ports of call. So if you’re unable to keep yourself busy for 10 days at sea, Royal Caribbean’s most affordable itinerary might not be for you.

An empty pool on a cruise ship.

Brittany Chang/Insider

In November, Lisa Galek paid about $100 a day for a seven-day family vacation through the Bahamas on the Carnival Legend. And despite the “reasonable” pricing, Galek wrote that she wouldn’t sail on the ship again because of its lack of unique amenities, ports of call, and upscale dining options. 

Similarly, in 2022, hospitality giant Margaritaville’s converted a 30-year-old cruise ship into its first cruise vessel, the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise. The ship is now sailing for as low as $65 a day for a two-night roundtrip from Florida to Grand Bahama Island. But when I was invited to sail on its one-night inaugural cruise in May, I was disappointed by the state of the ship, its lack of cohesive branding, and the outdated stateroom

If you’re already set on sailing aboard an ultra-cheap cruise in 2023, just be prepared to see an old ship, broken toilets, lack of amenities, or long days at sea with no land in sight.

Read the original article on Business Insider