Typical cruise spending and expenses

When you are a researcher, you just can't help but be analytical.  But I must not be the only one to wonder while on a cruise what the revenue is from an average cruiser - and how that income is distributed among cruise line expenses?  In case I am not, here is a typical breakdown based on Cruise Market Watch statistics.   The average cruise passenger spends a total of $1,454 per cruise.  Note this is for all cruise lines, luxury to contemporary.   With the typical cruise lasting 7.1 days, this amounts to a per passenger per day (APCD) projected to be $205, with $155 per day ticket price (75.6%) and $50 per day on-board spending (24.4%)

For the cruise line, about 7% of this revenue is spent on fuel, 11% shipboard payroll, 11% agent commission and 6% food.  You can find further detais in the chart below.



  1. Thanks Costa Cruceros. It averages all lines not just Carnival, who is certainly the most profitable. It is also based on an entire year, not just the most recent quarter. Keep in mind the estimates were made for 2010 based on 2009 actual data as well, a time when margins were certainly more compressed. Yahoo Finance shows Carnival with a profit margin of 13.8% fyi. http://finance.yahoo.com/q/ks?s=CCL+Key+Statistics I stand behind the numbers, albeit it is getting near time to update

  2. I see that Carnival have just reported 3rd quarter profits of $1.3 billion on revenue of $4.4 billion. I make that 29% profit. Surely your 5% figure is way out?

  3. These calculations are logical. I went for cruise vacation. On that cruise excursion i spent around $1200 for a month and per person. and that was my first vacation cruise excursion. The service was good. and that was memorable cruise holidays.


  4. Take plenty of sunshine and mix them throughly with chrystal clear waters of the mediterranean in all colors of the green and blue from turquoise to emerald, put a little soft breeze, few shaded beaches with pine trees, add some lonely bays and some some rugged coastlines, stir them with exotic islands and generously add, lush green olives, figs and lemon trees. Then serve generously with bright blue skies, romantic sunsets and enchanting starry nights. How did you like it so far ? Well, if yes then how about a trip called “blue Cruise” with us

  5. Hi Sally, thanks for your comment. Correct, that is an average over all cruise lines and ships. Don’t have specifics down to the jewelry level.

  6. Hi Dave,

    I am assuming that the onboard spending figure given is an average. Do you have further information on what percentage of people spend more on the at gift shops for jewelry and souvenirs?


  7. Also, to me the Ship Fuel Cost seems to be a relatively low number/percentage given the cruise lines constant mutterings about and implementation of fuel surcharges.

    • Hi Lisa, thanks for stopping by! Yes, the agent commission is based on the ticket revenue portion only, or 14%.

      Fuel equates to about 7% at $70 a barrel and 10% at $100 per barrel. From the lines perspective that would be a 43% increase in that expense – or if they were operating at a 5% profit margin it would eat away 3 percentage points and put them at a 2% margin.

  8. Dave,

    Can we assume the Agent Commission is based on the Ticket Revenue only (less any non commissionable portions) and not Total Spending?

    Thank you!