10 Cruise Deals for Vacationing on a Budget

cruise ship on tropical water

Taking an upscale cruise is possible even when you’re vacationing on a budget | iStock.com/Rawpixel Ltd

How does a Caribbean cruise sound? Expensive? What about a Mediterranean cruise? Out of your price range? The truth is cheap cruises are easier to find than you think — as long as you know where to find the best cruise deals.

We’ve scoured the web to bring you the best cruises with the most adventure, excitement, and luxury for your dollar. With these cruise deals, you can live like a king without paying a king’s ransom. Bear in mind the prices listed are constantly fluctuating and reflect the most recent fee at time of publication.

1. Royal Caribbean Cruise: Southern Caribbean Cruise (7 nights)

The Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas cruise ship enters the docks of the Blohm & Voss shipyard

The Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas cruise ship enters the docks of the Blohm & Voss shipyard | Lutz Bongarts/Getty Images

Ship: Adventure of the Seas
Ports of call: San Juan, Puerto Rico -> Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas -> Basseterre, St. Kitts -> Willemstad, Curacao -> Oranjestad, Aruba -> San Juan, Puerto Rico
Starting price: $576/person

The first of our cheap cruises is one of the best cruise deals you’ll find this year. Not only does this Caribbean cruise travel to some of the best vacation islands in the sea, but it’s also surprisingly affordable. St. Thomas and Aruba are quite popular cruise destinations. As for Willemstad, well, we listed Curacao as one of our five best budget-friendly islands for vacations.

Royal Caribbean’s 7-Night Southern Caribbean Cruise averages between $600 to $700 per person throughout the year. Depending on which voyage you book, additional ports of call include Kralendijk, Bonaire; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Castries, St. Lucia — another on our five best budget-friendly islands list.

2. Costa Cruises: Mediterranean Cruise (7 nights)

A cruise liner sails by Our Lady of the Rocks off the coast of Montenegro

A cruise liner sails by Our Lady of the Rocks off the coast of Montenegro | iStock.com/joyt

Ship: Costa Mediterranea
Ports of call: Marseilles, France -> Savona, Italy -> Naples, Italy -> Palermo, Italy -> La Valletta, Malta -> Barcelona, Spain -> Marseilles, France
Starting price: $449/person

France, Italy, Spain: Why choose one when you can visit them all? As far as Mediterranean cruises go, you won’t find a better deal than Costa Cruises. For a steal, the Costa Mediterranea voyage lets you experience some of the best destinations in Europe. Barcelona, Marseilles, and Naples are all internationally recognizable cities.

In one week, you can visit three countries known worldwide as A-list vacation spots. (Just don’t make the typical foreigner mistakes when visiting other countries.) The $449/person rate is available between January and April, and you can board in either Marseilles or Savona.

3. Celebrity Cruises: Caribbean Southern Cruise from Miami (14 nights)

Tourists board the Celebrity Eclipse cruiser

Tourists board the Celebrity Eclipse cruiser | Rafa Rivas/AFP/Getty Images

Ship: Eclipse
Ports of call: Miami, USA -> Kralendijk, Bonaire -> Willemstad, Curacao -> Oranjestad, Aruba -> Castries, St. Lucia -> Bridgetown, Barbados -> Basseterre, St. Kitts -> Philipsburg, St. Maarten -> Miami, USA
Starting price
: $1,469/person

When talking about cheap cruises, Celebrity Cruises is a name that keeps coming up. Of all the voyages, the 14-Night Caribbean Southern Cruise is the best of its Caribbean deals. The cruise hits a few of our top suggested island destinations, including Curacao and St. Lucia.

4. Norwegian Cruise Lines: Caribbean Cruise from Orlando (7 days)

A cruise ship sails by Ocho Rios, Jamaica

A cruise ship sails by Ocho Rios, Jamaica | iStock.com/johany

Ship: Norwegian Epic
Ports of call:
Western Caribbean Cruise: Port Canaveral (Orlando), USA -> Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas -> Ocho Rios, Jamaica -> George Town, Grand Cayman -> Cozumel, Mexico -> Port Canaveral, USA
Eastern Caribbean Cruise: Port Canaveral (Orlando), USA -> Tortola, British Virgin Islands -> St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands -> Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas -> Port Canaveral, USA
Starting price: $549/person

Cheap cruises from this luxurious and normally expensive cruise company are rare, but between January and March you can take advantage of the Free at Sea cruise deals. Choose which Caribbean cruise you prefer. The Western Caribbean Cruise hits prime destinations in the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Mexico. The Eastern Caribbean Cruise spends more time at sea and hits destinations in the Virgin Islands and the Bahamas. Both are the same price if you book in time for the promotion.

5. Holland America Line: Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale (14 nights)

People watch the arrival of the MS Eurodam cruise ship

People watch the arrival of the MS Eurodam cruise ship | Robin Utrecht/Getty Images

Ship: MS Eurodam
Ports of call: Fort Lauderdale, USA -> Key West, USA -> Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos -> Amber Cove, Dominican Republic -> Half Moon Cay, Bahamas -> Fort Lauderdale, USA ->  Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos -> San Juan, Puerto Rico -> St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands -> Half Moon Cay, Bahamas -> Fort Lauderdale, USA
Starting price: $1,199/person

Holland America Lines might be a bit of an unsung hero in the cruise industry, but its complimentary customer reviews combined with its low cost make the line a noteworthy mention. The 14-Night Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale launches throughout the spring, making a two-week voyage that doubles back to its best destinations.

6. Carnival: Baja Mexico from Long Beach (4 days)

A Carnival cruise ship sails in the Caribbean

A Carnival cruise ship sails in the Caribbean | iStock.com/NAN104

Ship: Imagination
Ports of call: Long Beach (Los Angeles), USA -> Catalina Island, USA -> Ensenada, Mexico -> Long Beach, USA
Starting price: $179/person

Carnival is another popular name is cheap cruises. The four-day trip around Baja Mexico is one of its staple cruises, and it departs almost weekly on Sundays. The ship departs in the evening and arrives on Catalina Island the next morning. The ship then leaves in the late afternoon before arriving in Ensenada, Mexico, on the morning of the third day. The fourth day is then spent at sea, and the ship returns to Long Beach the next morning.

If you’re looking for a cheap, quick getaway, this is it. Sure, Ensenada might not be as celebrated as Acapulco, but you won’t find a better cruise deal to explore Mexico for this cheap. Prices are lowest in the winter months.

7. Celebrity Cruises: South America Cruise (14 nights)

A cruise ship floats offshore from a penguin in Patagonia

A cruise ship floats offshore from a penguin in Patagonia | iStock.com/AustralisPhotography

Ship: Infinity
Ports of call: Buenos Aires, Argentina -> Montevideo, Uruguay -> Punta Del Este, Uruguay -> Puerto Madryn, Argentina -> Cape Horn, Chile ->Ushuaia, Argentina -> Punta Arenas, Chile -> Strait Of Magellan -> Chilean Fjords -> Puerto Montt, Chile -> Valparaiso, Chili
Starting price: $1,099/person

Considering all the ground (and sea) you cover of the area’s most famous locations, Celebrity Cruises’ South America Cruise offers a lot for its cost. Starting in the globally renowned city of Buenos Aires, this two-week voyage first goes up to Uruguay’s scenic Montevideo before shooting down south, through the Strait of Magellan, one of the southernmost points in the world outside Antarctica. The voyage ends in Valparaiso, one of Chile’s most popular tourist attractions.

8. Royal Caribbean Cruise: Western Mediterranean Cruise (7 days)

A cruise ship sails off the coast of Montenegro

A cruise ship sails off the coast of Montenegro | iStock.com/Biggunsband

Ship: Freedom of the Seas
Ports of call: Barcelona, Spain -> Provence (Marseilles), France -> Nice (Villefranche), France -> Cinque Terre, Italy -> Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy -> Naples, Italy -> Barcelona, Spain
Starting price: $906/person

Cheap Mediterranean cruises are hard to find, especially ones from upscale lines, such as Royal Caribbean. But this Western Mediterranean cruise is actually a discounted price off the original. This is a renowned cruise line, visiting three of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The price is going to be a little extra, but considering its actual value, this is a good deal.

The official listed price is $906 per person, but you can get more than $200 off by booking through discount websites. Cruise deals like this don’t come around too often. If you still think it’s too pricey, you can always save on travel fare with better packing techniques.

9. Carnival: Caribbean Western Cruise (7 nights)

The Carnival Freedom sails past onlookers

The Carnival Freedom sails past onlookers | Karen Bleier/Getty Images

Ship: Freedom
Ports of call: Galveston, USA -> Cozumel, Mexico -> Belize City, Belize -> Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan -> Galveston, USA
Starting price: $559/person

Luckily for Texans, they can take advantage of one of the best Caribbean cruise deals all year round. Carnival’s Caribbean Western Cruise takes passengers on a round trip through the Gulf of Mexico, Central America, and back to its home port in Galveston, Texas. One of the best parts of this week-long cruise is the three full days in open water, perfect for sea lovers on a budget.

10. Celebrity Cruises: Orient Far East Cruise (14 nights)

Dancers perform to welcome the Celebrity Millennium ship

Dancers perform to welcome the Celebrity Millennium ship | Dale de la Rey/Getty Images

Ship: Millennium
Ports of call: Hong Kong -> Keelung (Taipei), Taiwan -> Nagasaki, Japan -> Busan, South Korea-> Jeju Island, South Korea -> Incheon (Seoul), South Korea ->  Tianjin (Beijing), China -> Baoshan (Shanghai), China
Starting price: $1,299/person

Just as the Mediterranean cruises on our list visit the top destinations in Europe, Celebrity Cruises’ Orient Far East Cruise visits some of the best nations in Southeast Asia. Check off China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong from your list on this splendid two-week tour of Asia.

Although it’s not a round-trip cruise, this voyage starts and ends in two must-see travel destinations: Hong Kong and Shanghai, respectively. There are three days in port at Beijing to give you the time you need to explore this historic city. Celebrity Cruises offers Southeast Asia cruises on the Millennium throughout the spring and fall. The ports of call vary from voyage to voyage.

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