When it comes to affordable vacations, it can be hard to beat cruising. Yes, you can spend as much as you want (including tens of thousands of dollars if you feel so inclined). But on the other end of the spectrum you can spend very little to get a great vacation.
Case in point: Our list of cruises under $300. In this list you’ll find a dozen trips that can take you to some of the world’s nicest beaches for less than three bills per person. However, while those cruises are popular, you usually can only cruise for a few days (trips of five days or fewer) to meet that sort of budget.
That’s why we expanded our search with this list of cruises under $500. With just a couple of hundred dollars extra per person, your list of options expands dramatically. Perhaps best of all, many week-long cruises are now within your budget.
What follows below are not necessarily the cheapest cruises you can take. Instead, we’ve highlighted a number of vacations that are under $500 and unique or good deals for varied reasons. This includes a cruise to Alaska, a trip aboard one of the largest cruise ships in the world, and one of the cheapest trips aboard a new ship that we’ve seen.
If you want to do your own search, you can do so on Expedia (which searches all the cruise lines for the best deals).
The fares shown below are at the time of writing and subject to change. All fares are on a per-person basis for interior cabins, before taxes and port fees.
Note: This article contains links to Expedia that are affiliate links. If you decide to book through one of these links, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
6 Night Caribbean Cruise From Miami on Carnival
Date: October 25, 2020
Ship: Carnival Horizon | Ports: Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
Take a cruise to Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and Mexico on this six-night journey from Miami. Oh yeah, did we also mention that it’s aboard Carnival Horizon — the cruise line’s newest ship? That’s right: For less than $500 per person (for an interior cabin), you can get a great vacation aboard a practically brand new ship. Most of the time the rates on the newest ships are much higher as they are more popular with passengers. Learn more about this trip.
7 Night Caribbean Cruise From Galveston on Royal Caribbean
Date: October 13, 2019
Ship: Liberty of the Seas | Ports: Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth
Royal Caribbean is historically a little pricier than its main rival Carnival. However, there are still deals to be found. For example, this cruise aboard Liberty of the Seas sails from Galveston (near Houston) for a seven nights at just $493 per person. Along the way you will make stops in popular ports Cozumel and Grand Cayman, before hitting Falmouth, Jamaica. Liberty of the Seas is a slightly older ship (about 10 years old), but still plenty large and comfy — and especially convenient for cruisers coming from Houston, which is a short drive away. Learn more about this trip.
7 Night Caribbean Cruise From Tampa on Carnival
Date: November 17, 2019
Ship: Carnival Legend | Ports: Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize City, Cozumel
This list isn’t meant to be the absolute cheapest cruises you can buy. Instead, it’s a roundup of affordable cruises across destinations and ports. So while this cruise from Tampa isn’t the least expensive you will find, it is a good deal if you want to sail from the port. For seven nights you’ll sail to Grandy Cayman, Roatan, Belize City, and Cozumel — four classic ports in the Caribbean in November. It’s a great time to relax right before the holidays kick into high gear. Learn more about this trip.
8 Night Bahamas Cruise From New York on Norwegian
Date: December 13, 2019
Ship: Norwegian Gem | Ports: Port Canaveral, Great Stirrup Cay, Nassau
Sailing from New York City is typically a little pricier than from the big ports farther south, like Miami. Still, there are deals to be had. For just $549 per person (slightly above the $500 mark), you can cruise aboard the Norwegian Gem from New York to Port Canaveral, Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegian’s private island) and Nassau. Perhaps best of all, this cruise departs December 13 — giving you a chance to escape winter for warmer locales for a week. Learn more about this trip.
5 Night Caribbean Cruise From Miami on Celebrity
Date: March 9, 2020
Ship: Celebrity Infinity | Ports: Key West, Cozumel
Why would a five-night cruise make our list? After all, we feature multiple trips that are longer. However, those cruises aren’t aboard the Celebrity Infinity. Celebrity is considered a luxury cruise line that’s a step above mass-market lines like Royal Caribbean or Carnival. This trip departs Miami for Key West and then a day in Cozumel for returning. At just $399, it’s an inexpensive way to get a taste of a higher-end cruise to see if it’s right for you. Learn more about this trip.
7 Night Caribbean Cruise From Miami on MSC
Date: December 8, 2019
Ship: MSC Meraviglia | Ports: Costa Maya, Belize City, Roatan, Ocean Cay
Are you the sort of person who would much rather be in port than on the ship? Then check out this $419 cruise from MSC. Sailing from Miami, it stops in Costa Maya, Belize City, Roatan, and MSC’s island, Ocean Cay. So not only do you get a lot of time in port, you also get one of the least expensive cruises to visit four different ports. Learn more about this trip.
7 Night Alaska Cruise From Vancouver on Norwegian
Date: May 11, 2020
Ship: Norwegian Jewel | Ports: Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Seward
First things first, this cruise is slightly more than the $500 limit. But at $549, it’s the cheapest Alaskan cruise we found. There are a couple of reasons why. First, it’s a one-way cruise. The trip leaves and heads for Seward, Alaska, with several ports stops along the way. If you want a round-trip, you’ll need to book the second half of the cruise back home. Second, it departs from Vancouver, which is usually less convenient for U.S.-based passengers. Still, if you can deal with those issues then this trip is an amazing deal to Alaska. Learn more about this trip.
3 Night Bahamas Cruise From Miami on Royal Caribbean
Date: April 23, 2020
Ship: Oasis of the Seas | Ports: Nassau
By no means is this the best deal on our list. After all, it’s only for thee nights. Other cruises on our list can get you a seven-night cruise for about the same price. However, this does have the advantage of being aboard the Oasis of the Seas — one of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class vessels that are the largest in the world. On board you’ll have the biggest and best amenities and features offered on a cruise ship, including the Bionic Bar (robotic bartenders), ziplining, all sorts of things to do for the kids… oh, and the ability to hold more than 6,000 passengers. Learn more about this trip.
6 Night Caribbean Cruise From Miami on Carnival
Date: September 6, 2020
Ship: Carnival Magic | Ports: Half Moon Cay, Amber Cove, Grand Turks
Sometimes it’s nice to keep things simple. This is an easy six-night cruise departing Miami aboard the Carnival Magic… that costs just $359. There’s also a little bonus. You’ll have stops in Half Moon Cay, Amber Cove, and Grand Turks — all highly desirable ports of call before returning home to Miami. Itineraries don’t get much better. Learn more about this trip.
7 Night Caribbean Cruise From Miami on Norwegian
Date: March 1, 2020
Ship: Norwegian Pearl | Ports: Roatan, Harvest Caye, Costa Maya, Cozumel
Are you a fan of sailing aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines? If so, then you’d be interested in this $479 per-person cruise. It departs Miami aboard the Norwegian Pearl. The cruise takes you to the western Caribbean, including stops in Roatan, and Costa Maya — two ports popular with many cruisers. In addition, there are also stops in Harvest Caye (Norwegian’s island) and Cozumel so you get plenty of time on shore… and not just on the ship. Learn more about this trip.
4 Night Caribbean Cruise From Fort Lauderdale on Royal Caribbean
Date: November 4, 2020
Ship: Oasis of the Seas | Ports: Labadee
Not everyone has the time to head out for a week-long cruise. While we have a number of deals on shorter cruises here, we also wanted to include this trip for under $400 for a four-night cruise. Departing Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) on the Oasis of the Seas, passengers will stop in Labadee, Haiti — Royal Caribbean’s private slice of the island. The trip is right before Thanksgiving, so you might put on a few pounds with a cruise right before the big holiday meal. Learn more about this trip.
6 Night Caribbean Cruise From Fort Lauderdale on Carnival
Date: November 1, 2020
Ship: Carnival Breeze | Ports: Nassau, Amber Cove, Grand Turks
Forget $500… for less than $400 (and nearly $300), you can take a six-night cruise with stops in Nassau, Amber Cove, and Cozumel. You will be hard pressed to find a better deal than this, which costs less than $55 per night for an interior cabin on a per-person basis. Learn more about this trip.
7 Night Caribbean Cruise From Miami on MSC
Date: November 16, 2019
Ship: MSC Seaside | Ports: San Juan, US Virgin Islands, Nassau, Ocean Cay
The final cruise on our list is aboard the MSC Seaside, the cruise line’s newest ship. The ship is earning good reviews and is (in our opinion) one of the most beautiful cruise liners at sea. This cruise will take you from Miami for a week with stops in San Juan, the US Virgin Islands, Nassau, and Ocean Cay — MSC’s private island. At $448 to sail for a week aboard one of the newest ships in the world, that’s a good price. Learn more about this trip.