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 on the fanciest rooms, 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 that 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 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 trip aboard one of the largest cruise ships in the world, and some of the cheapest trips aboard a newer ship that we’ve seen.
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.
6 Night Caribbean Cruise From Miami on Carnival
Date: October 22, 2023
Ship: Carnival Horizon | Ports: Ocho Rios, 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 — one of the cruise line’s newest ships?
That’s right. For less than $400 per person (for an interior cabin), you can get a great vacation aboard one of the cruise line’s newer ships. 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.
6 Night Caribbean Cruise From Tampa on Carnival
Date: December 3, 2023
Ship: Carnival Pride | Ports: Cozumel, Belize City, Costa Maya
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 six nights you’ll sail to Cozumel, Belize City, and Costa Maya — three great ports in the Caribbean in December. It’s a great time to relax right before the holidays kick into high gear. Learn more about this trip.
5 Night Mexico Cruise From Los Angeles on Norwegian
Date: October 31, 2023
Ship: Norwegian Bliss | Ports: Cabo San Lucas, Ensenada
In terms of overall price, this cruise may not be the hottest deal as you can sail for longer on other cruise lines for less money. Still, NCL is known for charging a premium, especially on their newer ships.
This trip is a quick getaway from Los Angeles, heading to the Pacific side of Mexico. You’ll stop in Cabo San Lucas, and Ensenada before returning home to Los Angeles. The cruise is aboard Norwegian Bliss, one of the line’s newer ships, being built in 2018. Learn more about this trip.
7 Night Caribbean Cruise From Galveston on Royal Caribbean
Date: October 15, 2023
Ship: Allure of the Seas | Ports: Roatan, Costa Maya, Cozumel
Royal Caribbean is historically a little pricier than its main rival Carnival. However, there are still deals to be found. In this case, it’s aboard one of the largest cruise ships in the world.
This cruise aboard Allure of the Seas sails from Galveston (near Houston) for a seven night trip at just $441 per person. Along the way you will make stops in popular ports Roatan, Costa Maya, and Cozumel.
Allure of the Seas is part of the Oasis-class ships, which rank as the biggest in the world. Due to the size, they are able to offer an experience that’s unlike any other class of ships on the planet. And it’s all within driving distance for cruisers coming from Houston, which is a short drive away. Learn more about this trip.
7 Night Bahamas/Mexico Cruise From Port Canaveral on MSC
Date: September 17, 2023
Ship: MSC Seaside | Ports: Ocean Cay, Costa Maya, Cozumel
Many American cruisers may not be familiar with MSC, which has a large presence in Europe. If you’re looking for deals, however, they are a good cruise line to consider as they have a number of inexpensive trips from Florida.
This sailing departs Port Canaveral near Orlando, heading to the cruise line’s private island — Ocean Cay. From there, it heads southwest to the Yucatan for stops in Costa Maya and Cozumel before returning home. Learn more about this trip.
6 Night Caribbean Cruise From Fort Lauderdale on Celebrity
Date: December 3, 2023
Ship: Celebrity Reflection | Ports: Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Bimini
Celebrity is a luxury cruise line that’s a step above mass-market lines like Royal Caribbean or Carnival. In other words, you usually have to pay a bit extra to sail the line. This trip departs Fort Lauderdale for Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Bimini in The Bahamas. At just $428, 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.
6 Night Caribbean Cruise From Miami on Royal Caribbean
Date: April 9, 2023
Ship: Explorer of the Seas | Ports: CocoCay, Grand Cayman, Falmouth
This cruise comes in at less than $450 for six nights of sailing. It also features a stop at Royal Caribbean’s private island CocoCay. The cruise company spent hundreds of millions to renovate the island to a full-blown destination, complete with its own waterpark.
From there, it makes stops in Grand Cayman, and Falmouth, Jamaica before returning home to Miami. Learn more about this trip.
7 Night Caribbean Cruise From Port Canaveral on Carnival
Date: December 2, 2023
Ship: Mardi Gras | Ports: San Juan, Amber Cove, Grand Turk
This cruise is slightly above the $500 price tag, but it is one that we think is too good a deal not to mention. This trip is $539 for an interior cabin on a week-long cruise, but it’s aboard Mardi Gras. That’s Carnival’s newest Excel-class of ship and a completely different style than anything else in its fleet. The ship even includes the first roller coaster at sea.
While the ship will definitely be a highlight, you’ll also sail to San Juan, Amber Cove, and Grand Turk. Learn more about this trip.
5 Night Caribbean Cruise From New York on Norwegian
Date: November 10, 2023
Ship: Norwegian Escape | Ports: Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda
Think of cruising and it is unlikely to imagine New York. However, all the major lines cruise from there. Given the distance from The Bahamas, trips tend to be longer (and thus more expensive). Still, we found this trip aboard Norwegian Escape headed to Bermuda for just five days. That means a lot of time on the ship, but Escape is large and new enough to find plenty to do. Learn more about this trip.
7 Night Caribbean Cruise From Galveston on Royal Caribbean
Date: November 5, 2023
Ship: Harmony of the Seas | Ports: Roatan, Costa Maya, Cozumel,
A 7-night cruise is a great time, but this trip takes it up a notch. That’s because it is aboard Harmony of the Seas, which is among the largest cruise ships in the world. That size gives you access to an experience unlike any other on a cruise ship. This includes things like the Flowrider standing wave, the Aqua Theater, and the massive Solarium for adults on this class of ships.
Meanwhile, passengers will stop in Roatan, Costa Maya, and Cozumel. It also sails in November, giving passengers a chance to escape the start of winter back home and get some sunshine before the holidays. Learn more about this trip.
7 Night Caribbean Cruise From New Orleans on Carnival
Date: September 3, 2023
Ship: Carnival Glory | Ports: Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
You can find inexpensive cruises from more than just southern Florida. This cruise aboard the Carnival Glory departs from New Orleans in September. During the cruise you’ll have stops in Montego Bay (Jamaica), Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. It’s especially good for those without kids since its right after school returns to the classroom. Learn more about this trip.
7 Night Caribbean Cruise From New York on MSC
Date: February 4, 2024
Ship: MSC Meraviglia | Ports: Port Canaveral, Ocean Cay, Nassau
The final cruise on our list is aboard the MSC Meraviglia, a relatively new ship that is one of the most beautiful cruise liners at sea. This cruise will take you from New York — during the peak of winter — for a week with stops in sunny Florida, as well as Ocean Cay — MSC’s private island and Nassau. And getting away for a week doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We found rates starting at $299 per person to escape the brutal winter. Learn more about this trip.