Mary and George Coletti were planning to travel around Europe with their kids and went to an expert travel agent to plot how to spend a few weeks in the Mediterranean after their children leave.

After crunching the numbers, they found that cruising was by far the most cost-effective way to travel around Europe during the peak season compared to booking hotels in major cities, and renting cars as well as food and experiences.

The couple are now booked on a 21-day cruise on Enchanted Princess. The Colettis have sailed on three Princess Cruises before, becoming instant fans after sailing from Hawaii to Tahiti for their 25th wedding anniversary. 

Mrs Coletti says the cost of travel in Europe at the moment was simply bewildering after looking at land options and touring the continent on their own.

“I was just amazed at the cost of hotel rooms. We’re not staying in fancy hotels – generally two to three stars and it’s still incredibly expensive. Cruising is much more cost-effective to see the region.” 

“We did a cost breakdown and we calculated that hotels plus transport between cities would come out to around $300 per person per day across a few weeks of travel. That’s not including food and activities. For example, three nights of accommodation in Milan was $1800, for just one room.

“Whereas we calculated that cruising for 21 days with Princess would average out at $239 per person per day, staying in a balcony cabin, and that of course includes all of our food and entertainment as well.”

Overall, that’s already saving the couple $2562 across 21 days of travel, without accounting for food and entertainment that would have to be added to the $300 per day figure. 

Say each spent $60 a day – a conservative $20 a meal – on 21 days, that would amount to a total saving of $5,082.

Mr Coletti says: “We also got a great deal on flights home through the cruise line. You can generally get cheaper flights when you get them with your cruise line. 

The cheapest flight home from Barcelona I could see for the day we leave was $1900 with Qatar Airways, Princess got us a flight back that day with the same airline for $1505.”

This saves the couple a further $790 on flights home. 

Happy at sea.

The cost breakdown

  • Cruising = $239 per person per day for a balcony cabin on a 21-night cruise on Enchanted Princess. All food and entertainment are included.
  • General travel = $300 per person per day for hotels and transport between cities.

“We couldn’t believe all the prices, and while we haven’t been to Europe in a while, many of our friends who have been recently can’t believe the price changes and how much costs like hotels and transport are now.”

Beyond all the financial benefits, Ms Coletti preferred all the benefits of a cruise anyway.

“It’s just a wonderful way to holiday. You unpack once, then pack at the end, you’re so well taken care of, you’re entertained, everything you need is right there, it’s super relaxing, and it’s great.

“Especially considering all the suitcase hauling around that comes with travelling from city to city, cruising was the perfect option.     

“You can go to the theatre, see comedy, see music, read a book while looking at the ocean, we love it.”

Agent’s perspective

The couples travel agent, Kathy Pavlidis, a luxury cruise specialist at Travel Associates, says the rising prices of travel in regions such as Europe are making cruising a more and more attractive option.

“The cost of hotels has in some cases doubled, even tripled over the past few years.  Demand is at an all-time high.  When you consider what is included with a cruise you really can’t go wrong.

“When you consider factors that are affecting all types of travel, higher-than-normal inflation, electricity pricing in Europe at record highs, and just the overall demand for hotels; we have seen the value proposition that cruising offers to all clients regardless of whether it is a mass market cruise line up to and including luxury cruise lines something you just can’t pass up.  Meals, accommodation, entertainment, shore excursions. A cruise is the best way to travel.

“Depending on the type of cruise line you choose your savings could add up to thousands.”