Cruise Ships

Forget About Star of the Seas, Save Thousands by Sailing These Ships Instead

Royal Caribbean just released the sailings for their newest ship, the Star of the Seas, which will be doing 7-day cruises out of Port Canaveral throughout 2025. The successor to Icon of the Seas, this mega-ship offers fun for the whole family and impressive sea views everywhere. While the destinations are pretty standard, the prices are quite shocking.  

star of the seas front

Is it worth the extra cost? That’s up to you, but here are some alternatives you could take to save thousands without sacrificing.

Celebrity Xcel

celebrity xcel ship
Celebrity Xcel is the fifth Edge-class ship from Celebrity.

Want to try a premium cruise line? Royal Caribbean’s upscale cruise line, Celebrity Cruises, will also launch a new ship in 2025. It’ll be called the Celebrity Xcel, and it’ll be another in the popular Edge-class of ships.

While this ship isn’t as family-focused as Royal Caribbean, kids are still welcome, and for kid-free travelers, it offers an elevated experience over Royal Caribbean. The Xcel will offer beautiful outdoor areas, classy bars, and high-end dining options. 

eden restaurant
The plants, full glass walls, and multiple levels give the Eden venue a different feeling throughout the day.

Booking a 7-day sailing on this ship will save you quite a bit compared to Star of the Seas. An interior cabin on the Xcel would save you $1,141. A balcony cabin, or infinity verandah in this case, would save you over $2,000 compared to Star of the Seas. This Celebrity rate includes the standard alcoholic drinks package and Wi-Fi as well. 

star of the seas price vs celebrity xcel

Carnival Celebration

carnival celebration cruise ship
Carnival Celebration can offer a similar experience to Star of the Seas for half the price,

If you want a more family-focused ship, the Carnival Celebration is a great option. While it’ll be three years old by December 2025, it’s still a very modern cruise ship and can give Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships a run for their money. 

water works on Carnival Celebration
Water Works on Carnival Celebration is smaller than the Category 6 Waterpark on Star of the Seas, but kids still love it.

Like the Oasis-class ships, the Celebration is split into zones to accommodate a large number of passengers without feeling crowded. It has the “Ultimate Playground,” an excellent area for kids with mini golf, a large splash park, a ropes course, and the BOLT roller coaster.

The Celebration also has more included dining options compared to Star of the Seas and some excellent casual dining options. 

carnival street eats stalls
Street Eats is an included casual food venue offering new choices each day.

Just how much can you save if you cruise on the Carnival Celebration? We looked at a similar 7-day sailing for an interior cabin for two adults and two children. 

The Star of the Seas would cost you $4,574. The Celebration? It’d be half the price at $2,290. 

If it’s an adult’s only trip, you’ll still save. We looked at a sailing with two adults in a balcony cabin. You could actually take two cruises on Celebration versus one on Star of the Seas (ever want to try a back-to-back cruise?). You’d still have $50 left to put towards an excursion. 

See all Carnival Celebration restaurants and activities

Norwegian Aqua

norwegian aqua side
Norwegian Aqua combines a high-class feel with family elements for a multi-generational cruise ship.

Norwegian Cruise Line will also launch a new ship in 2025, the Aqua. The ship is a balance between the two previous ships. It’s a Prima-class ship offering a more upscale experience than other Norwegian ships. But even with that, it has some more family-friendly features like an AquaCoaster, Splash Park, and a dry thrill slide. 

norwegian aqua slidecoaster
The Norwegian Aqua has family elements as well like an AquaCoaster, Splash Park, and dry thrill slide.

Norwegian Aqua has lots of dining options. Although it has more specialty restaurants than the Star of the Seas, which might cost more, the Indulge Food Hall and 24/7 restaurant, The Local, both offer delicious food at no extra cost. 

latin quarter food truck
Indulge Food Hall has a food hall experience like Star of the Seas.

A balcony on the Norwegian Aqua will save you about $2,000 compared to Star of the Seas. This rate uses Norwegian’s Free at Sea package which comes with Unlimited Open Bar, two specialty dining, meaning it’s an even bigger savings.

See all the Norwegian Aqua dining options and activities.

Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas

royal caribbean harmony of the seas
Harmony of the Seas may be an older Oasis-class ship, but it still provide an excellent mega-ship experience.

If you don’t need the Category 6 Waterpark and dedicated family neighborhood, you’ll save a lot by trying one of Royal Caribbean’s older Oasis-class ships. These ships will offer a mega-ship experience at a fraction of the cost. 

central park on harmony of the seas
Like Star of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas offers the beautiful Central Park.

While all the schedules for all the Oasis-class ships aren’t out yet, you can save nearly $3,000 by booking a balcony cabin for a 7-day sailing on Harmony of the Seas out of Galveston. 

See all the Harmony of the Seas restaurants and activities.

Lots of options if you’re not willing to pay Star of the Seas’ sky-high prices

If you don’t have your heart set on Royal Caribbean’s newest and largest ship, you can save a lot of money by trying other ships. These are just some of the latest options, but there are plenty of alternatives out there. Do your research and decide what’s really important to you. 

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Randy Young

Randy Young is the founder and editor-in-chief at Cruise Spotlight. He has been in marketing for 19 years and has been cruising for just as long. Over the years, he's worked with products like TVs, copiers, light bulbs, and EV chargers, but cruising has always been his passion. There's nothing Randy likes more than the first couple of hours on a ship, exploring every nook and cranny and seeing how it's different from everything else out there. He's known for providing detailed and analytical coverage of cruising to help cruisers get a comprehensive picture of a ship's offerings.