A ferry is cheaper than a cruise ship. “A ferry is the poor man’s cruise ship” has been said often, usually to describe either the Staten Island Ferry or the Alaska Marine Highway ferries.
“Poor Man’s Cruise” described the Staten Island Ferry in 1963. “‘Poor man’s cruise’ has same great scenery” described the Alaska Marine Highway System’s state-operated ferries in 1984. “The old joke that the ferry is the poor man’s cruise ship is spot on” was cited in 2015.
“The Staten Island Ferry is the poor man’s Circle Line” is a similar saying.
24 October 1963, Hutchinson (KS) News, pg. 5, cols. 5-6:
Poor Man’s Cruise
NEW YORK (AP)—The greatest 5-cent ride in the world, the Staten Island ferryboat from lower Manhattan to Staten Island with an unexcelled view of the Statue of Liberty and New York en route, was enjoyed by 26,657,580 passengers and taken by 1,788,936 vehicles in 1962. Six ferry boats carried the record load of commuters and sightseers.
Google News Archive
12 February 1984, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), “‘Poor man’s cruise’ has same great scenery” by Michael Schmeltzer, pg. C10, col. 4:
But travelers don’t have to spend a small fortune to tour the scenic sea lanes of Southeast Alaska. The Alaska Marine Highway System’s state-operated ferries sail the same waterways—and the cost of a ticket for the six-day cruise from Seattle to Skagway and back is less than $400.
The “poor man’s cruise” offers the same incredible scenery and colorful ports of call that the commercial lines brag about in their slick brochures.
Seattle (WA) Times
Sunday, March 11, 2001 - Page updated at 12:00 AM
Alaska by ferry is an inexpensive, close-up way to see the wildlife
By Lynda Mapes
Seattle Times staff reporter
Traveling southeast Alaska by ferry is one of the great secrets of Northwest travel. It’s the poor man’s cruise, a naturalist’s delight, a perfect solace for an overburdened soul.
Seattle (WA) Times
Sunday, February 16, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM
Alaska ferry: It’s not a cruise
By Carey Quan Gelernter
Seattle Times staff editor
Some call the Alaska ferry, heading north to Alaska from Bellingham, the Poor Man’s Cruise.
My family and I made the journey last August. We had a good time. But we can tell you surely:
It’s not cheap, and it’s not a cruise.
New York (NY) Times—City Room
Dating When the A.T.M. Warns Against It
By TRYMAINE LEE SEPTEMBER 21, 2009 9:30 AM
ELB September 22, 2009 · 9:32 am
This topic is something I’ve been thinking about since my high school days in East Harlem. I’m not a bit older and carry a few more dollars, not much more, in my wallet, however, I don’t like to have expensive dates.
Staten Island Ferry is the poor man’s cruise
Waiting to get on the ferry...Alaska Marine Highway...the poor man’s cruise ship.
7:00 AM - 2 Mar 2013
The Poor Man’s Cruise
Saturday July 19, 2014–Bellingham Ferry Terminal
This ferry is seriously impressive; I can see why they call it the poor man’s cruise. There’s a cafe/restaurant, cocktail lounge, gift shop and, of all things, a movie theater. The coolest part is not having to shell out for a cabin! I love that something a casual as sleeping in the deck of the Alaska state ferry still exists.
BC Ferries, the poor man’s cruise ship…
July 20, 2014
HeraldNet (Everett, WA)
Published: Saturday, May 9, 2015, 12:01 a.m.
State ferries are a budget-friendly way to spend a day at sea
By Andrea Brown, Herald Writer
For as little as $5, you can ride a Washington State ferry.
So, yeah, the old joke that the ferry is the poor man’s cruise ship is spot on.