12 Cheap Summer Cruises for 2018

Nothing says summer like hitting the beach and getting some sun and water. And what better way to get to the beach this summer than with a cruise?

With a cruise, not only can you travel in style to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but you can also sample several different places while having your room, board, and entertainment taken care of on the ship.

The best news is that the cost of a cruise can be considerably cheaper than the cost of airfare and hotel in a Caribbean resort. Meanwhile, cruises are much less of a hassle to book than having to search and put together a trip on your own.

That said, there’s no doubt that the summer is one of the more expensive times to set sail. With kids out of school, demand from families leads to higher prices. The good news is there are still deals out there — including many cruises under $300 per person.

Below, we’ve rounded up a sampling of the cheapest summer cruises for 2018. But before listings those cruises, here are some pointers on finding cheap trips of your own during this time of year.

How to Find Cheap Summer Cruises

Norwegian Sun in Port

Searching for your own deal on a cruise, in addition to what we’ve found below? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Sail Late in the Summer for the Best Fares
As you’ll see below, the cheapest summer cruises are in August, and more specifically, late August. In general, the closer you can sail to September, the less you’ll pay for your cruise. And if you can wait until early September to take your summer cruise, you’ll get the best of both worlds — the cheapest prices while still having warm weather and water nearly everywhere in North America.

Why are cruises so much cheaper later in August? The late season sees a drop-off in demand for family vacations as many people have already done their travel for the season and are looking at the start of the back-to-school season.

Keep Trips Short for Lower Fares
You’ll notice that cruises longer than five days aren’t mentioned in our list below. Don’t think this means there aren’t deals available on longer trips. In fact, just like with shorter cruises there are some great deals — especially later in the summer season.

However, if you want to pay the absolutely lowest amount for a cruise, then it makes sense to stick with shorter trips. Sailings of 3-5 days can be found for less than $300, with even more options for under $500 per person. Longer trips, which mean more nights, more food, and more entertainment, are obviously more expensive on a total basis.

It Helps to Be Flexible With Ports
There are summer cruise deals all around the country, as you’ll see below. But if you are closest to Florida, you’ll have an advantage of being able to sail from several different ports including Port Canaveral, Port Everglades, and Miami.

In a different part of the country? Most people have a port within a few hours drive, if not closer. However, if you are able to travel to other ports for better deals, then you stand the best chance of getting a cheap summer cruise.

Cheap 2018 Summer Cruises

Cruise ships in port in Cozumel

Note: This article contains links to Orbitz 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.

Prices listed are for one person in an interior cabin. Keep in mind that prices will vary and may not be the same as what’s listed below.

3-Night Bahamas Cruise from Port Canaveral (Carnival)
Date: August 30, 2018
Price: $259 per person

As a rule of thumb, if you can find a trip for under $100 per night during the summer, then you’ve likely found a good deal. This trip costs just $86 per night if you take a late August departure. Sailing from Port Canaveral (the port closest to Orlando), the trip takes you to Nassau on a three-night journey aboard the Carnival Liberty. There are other dates available earlier in the summer that still come in under $100 per night, but this is the cheapest date we found.

4-Night Caribbean Cruise from Miami (Carnival)
Date: August 27, 2018
Price: $259 per person

In our list of the cheapest cruises, you’ll notice that Carnival is well represented. The cruise line takes top marks for being budget friendly. Case in point: this trip that costs $259 for a departure on August 27. The four-night cruise aboard the Carnival Victory out of Miami will take you to fun Key West and Cozumel before returning the Miami. You’ll get room, board, and entertainment (along with two great ports of call) for under $70 per night. That’s a deal. Consider that the same trip departing earlier in the month costs $359 — almost $100 more.

3-Night Bahamas Cruise from Port Canaveral (Royal Caribbean)
Date: August 24, 2018
Price: $298 per person

Another tip on how to find the cheapest cruise deals — look for sailings on older ships. This cruise from Royal Caribbean is aboard the Enchantment of the Seas. The ship was launched in the mid-1990s, but the cruise line has spent millions to keep it updated. Still, many people like the sail on the newest mega ships, meaning there are cheap deals on other ships in the fleet. This cruise takes you to Nassau from Port Canaveral for only $298 per person if you sail on August 24.

4-Night Caribbean Cruise from Mobile (Carnival)
Date: August 16, 2018
Price: $289 per person

Mobile didn’t even have a cruise ship operating from the port a few years ago, and now it’s a great place to find deals. This trip actually departs in mid-August (great if you want to take the kids before school starts). It’s a four-night trip aboard the Carnival Fantasy with a single stop in Cozumel. At just $289, it comes out to just $72 per night.

3-Night Bahamas Cruise from Miami (Carnival)
Date: July 27, 2018
Price: $324 per person

We know that not everyone can sail in late August. It simply doesn’t fit everyone’s schedule. That’s why we’ve also sniffed out some cheap cruises for earlier in the summer. This cruise departs in July for $324, or $108 per night. It is a sailing aboard the Carnival Victory from Miami with a single stop in Nassau. While the cruise is short, if you’re just looking for a quick getaway, it’s perfect. Prices are a little lower if you can sail in early August.

3-Night Mexico Cruise from Long Beach (Carnival)
Date: June 7, 2018
Price: $299 per person

A cruise under $300 per person is a great benchmark for a cheap cruise. This trip does that mark $1 better. At just $299, you can sail aboard the Carnival Imagination from Long Beach. The cruise takes you just three nights with one stop in Ensenada, Mexico. It’s not the luxury cruise of a lifetime, but it’s a fun, quick getaway that won’t break the bank this summer.

5-Night Caribbean Cruise from New Orleans (Carnival)
Date: August 18, 2018
Price: $309 per person

So far, the cruises we have covered have all been three and four-night trips. This cruise is a five-night departure from New Orleans for just $309 per night. That’s an amazing $62 per night — almost unheard of in the summer cruising season. You’ll have stops in Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico before heading back to the New Orleans. If you can’t sail on August 18, the trip runs regularly throughout the summer.

4-Night Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale (Carnival)
Date: June 21, 2018
Price: $409 per person

Searching for a cruise deal in June — during the height of the summer cruising season? This trip for $409 aboard the Carnival Conquest and costs just over $100 per night. That’s not the cheapest cruise we’ve found, but for a June departure date, it’s a deal. The cruise departs Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades), with stops in Half Moon Cay and Nassau before returning home. There is also the same trip sailing on June 7 for $419 per person.

4-Night Bahamas Cruise from Port Canaveral (Carnival)
Date: July 29, 2018
Price: $429 per person

As we said, prices are higher during June and July, before tapering off in late August. And while this cruise may be cheaper later in the summer, it represents a good deal in July — one of the prime times to set sail. For $429 per person, the cruise aboard the Carnival Liberty leaves Port Canaveral with stops in Nassau and Freeport. Best of all, the trip leaves July 29, so you can definitely fit your vacation in before the kids need to go back to school.

4-Night Bahamas Cruise from Port Canaveral (Norwegian)
Date: July 16, 2018
Price: $429 per person

For many, Norwegian is their favorite cruise line to sail. This deal will have you sailing aboard the Norwegian Sun for $429 for four nights. You’ll depart Port Canaveral near Orlando, and sail to Freeport in the Bahamas. You’ll also stop at Norwegian’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay. The cruise sets sail on July 16, but you can also sail on July 23 for just about $30 more per person.

4-Night Caribbean Cruise from Miami (Carnival)
Date: July 26, 2018
Price: $419 per person

Miami is the cruise port capital of the world and also one of the best places to sail if you’re looking for a deal. Carnival offers this sailing aboard the Carnival Sensation out of Miami for just $419 near the peak of cruising season. Your cruise will include stops in two summer hotspots — Key West and Cozumel — before returning to Miami. It doesn’t get much better than hitting the Keys and Mexico for less than $500.

3-Night Bahamas Cruise from Port Canaveral (Norwegian)
Date: July 27, 2018
Price: $429 per person

The final cruise on our list is a sailing aboard the Norwegian Sun departing on July 27 — right in the middle of summer. You’ll hop on board for a short three-night trip packed with stops in both Freeport and Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegian’s private island). Considering this cruise departs on a Friday and returns first thing Monday morning, it’s great option for those who want to take a trip without having to miss a ton of work.

To find more cruise deals, you can search Orbitz here.


    • So you want to cruise with college students? We’d look for short trips on the major cruise lines (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian). June and July should be good months for more college students to sail.


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