12 Dirt-Cheap Cruises for 2023 (Starting at $159)

Looking for a cheap cruise? We’re talking really inexpensive — cheaper than many flat-panel TVs and less expensive than a new couch. In other words, cruises so cheap that it’s more affordable to take a vacation than to be a couch potato.

Seaview from the deck of a cruise ship

The great thing about cruising is that there is something for everyone, from luxury lovers to penny-pinchers. You can go first-class if you want, paying up for things like suite cabins, alcohol packages, and excursions — or you can also spend just a little and still have a great vacation.

The good news is deals aren’t hard to find if you know where to look. In fact, there can be so many that you might have trouble whittling down your options.

How to Find Cheap Cruises

First and foremost — to start your hunt for cheap cruises, we always recommend visiting a third-party cruise booking site like Expedia, Orbitz, or others.

When you start your search, you have tons of different options. You can go straight to a cruise line’s website to find deals. However, when you do that you are limiting your search only to trips on that company’s cruises. Unless you’re an avid fan of one cruise line, this isn’t the best way to plan your voyage, since it gives you only a small sliver of what’s out there.

On the “aggregator” travel sites you can set up search parameters for all the cruise lines at once, then sort by price, departure port, date and more. That’s why we like to start our search on these sorts of websites. It gives you all your options instead of just one line.

Beyond that, there are a few other simple tips for cruise fans shopping for dirt-cheap fares.

While we have a full list of rules on getting the best deal on a cruise, the easiest way to find an inexpensive trip is to keep these things in mind:

  • Look for shorter cruises (shorter = cheaper)
  • Sail when school is in session (off-season means lower fares)
  • Book an inside cabin (balconies are more expensive)
  • Sail aboard an older ship (older ships have cheaper fares)

These four factors will have the largest impact on what you pay for a cruise.

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the flat-out cheapest cruises we could find across a variety of ports, cruise lines, and itineraries. Keep in mind that these prices can change by the time that you book your trip. Prices listed are per person for an interior room before taxes and fees.

Cruises Under $200 Per Person

MSC on side of ship

Yes, it’s possible to take a cruise for under $200 per person. We’ve found cruises on several different lines offering inside cabin rates that cost less than most monthly car payments.

4-Night Bahamas Cruise | May 29, 2023 | $159

Want to take a break… but don’t have time to leave for a week or more? This cruise is only four days, but will get you out into some of the most beautiful water in the world. And at less than $200, it’s a steal.

MSC Magnifica will sail a 4-night round trip cruise departing Miami on May 29. The ship will visit Nassau, then call at MSC’s Ocean Cay Marine Reserve in the Bahamas. It’s a quick trip, but if you want an easy getaway and don’t want to break the bank, this is a great option.

4-Night Bahamas Cruise | March 26, 2023 | $179 

When it comes to the least expensive cruises, we found the most options from MSC Cruises. This cruise aboard the MSC Meraviglia sets sail in late March for four nights.

The trip will take you to Nassau for a day to visit one of the busiest cruise ports of call in the world. From there, you’ll head to MSC’s private island Ocean Cay for two days on an overnight stay. 

We’ve personally spent time on Ocean Cay. and if you are a fan of electric blue water and white-sand beaches, you can’t go wrong spending time on the island.

4-Night Caribbean Cruise | December 4, 2023 | $184 

If you love Carnival and just need to get on a ship, then this cruise might be for you. It’s a four-night cruise from the popular line that comes in at less than $200 per person for cruise fare.

This particular sailing departs December 4, but there are more dates are available throughout the year. It departs Miami, spends a day in Key West, and then on to Cozumel before heading home with a day at sea.

As with some other cheap cruises on our list, this trip sails an older ship. Still, the Carnival Conquest has been updated and boasts many of Carnival’s popular bars and eateries including Guy’s Burger Joint, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Cantina, as well as an Alchemy Bar and Punchliner Comedy Club.

3-Night Bahamas Cruise | February 10, 2023 | $144 

The absolute least expensive Carnival cruise we could find? It’s this one for just $144 — a vacation for about the cost of a pair of sneakers (though port fees and taxes add about $110 per person).

This particular sailing leaves on February 10, 2023. Departing Port Canaveral, it heads overnight to Nassau, where you’ll arrive the next morning. Then it’s a day in port in The Bahamas before heading back to the ship, followed by a day at sea before returning to Port Canaveral the next morning.

At just three days, it’s an unbelievably short cruise with just enough time to find your way around the ship before it’s time to leave. That said, it comes with an unbelievably low price tag. 

Cruises Under $300 Per Person

Broadside view of Carnival ship in port

Spending slightly more than $200 per person can give you a few more choices – including slightly longer voyages, and visits to different destinations. Here’s a list of some of the great options you can find in the $200-$300 per person range.

5-Night Caribbean Cruise | October 21, 2023 | $299

You can find plenty of affordable cruise choices for sailing out of Galveston. That’s because there are a number of short sailings from the island, and the fewer days on the ship, the less you’ll pay.

This 5-night voyage aboard Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas departs October 21 and features two blissful sea days, with stops in Costa Maya and Cozumel in between. If you’re looking to simply get out of town and want some time at sea, this trip fits the bill. It will give you plenty of time to relax (and work on your tan) on the ship, as well as a couple of days exploring the beautiful Mexican Riviera. 

3-Night Bahamas Cruise | November 10, 2023 | $270

You might start to see a trend that many of the cheapest cruises on our list have a common feature of departing from Florida and heading over on a short trip to the Bahamas. This trip aboard Royal Caribbean fits that bill as well.

This sailing aboard the Liberty of the Seas will take you from Fort Lauderdale over to Nassau, following by a trip to CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island. CocoCay has set the bar in cruise line private islands and can’t be missed.

It’s a quick trip, but will pack in a lot of fun for not a lot of money.

5-Night Caribbean Cruise | November 25, 2023 | $274

You can book a 5-night Caribbean cruise aboard Carnival Freedom sailing out of Port Canaveral for as little as $274.

The voyage departs on November 25, and includes a day at sea, followed by visits to Amber Cove and Grand Turk then another sea day before returning to Port Canaveral.

Although the Carnival Freedom is one of the fleet’s older ships, it has been refurbished to offer lots of Carnival favorites. It has one of the cruise line’s trademark WaterWorks waterparks and the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat, along with all the well-known food experiences Carnival fans love – including Guy’s Burger Joint and BlueIguana Cantina.

7-Night Bahamas Cruise | December 9, 2023 | $249

When we searched for dirt-cheap cruises, we never dreamed we’d find something this inexpensive.

This is an entire week-long cruise for only $249 per person in cruise fare (of course, taxes and fees will increase the price). That’s a price that’s normally found on three-day cruises. It’s among the cheapest seven-day trips we’ve ever seen.

The cruise departs New York, headed to Port Canaveral (Orlando). From there, it’s on to Nassau and a full day at Ocean Cay, before returning to New York. 

It’s rare for any cruise to be this inexpensive. When you add that it’s also sailing from New York, it makes this cruise extremely unique.

Cruises Under $500 Per Person

View of the cruise ship from Thrill Waterpark

Going up slightly in price while remaining within the budget-cruise range can get you a slightly longer cruise time, which means more port visits, and/or longer port stays.

6-Night Caribbean Cruise | October 22, 2023 | $391

Outside of Florida, Galveston is one of the biggest cruise hubs in the country. It’s also within driving distance for tens of millions of people, saving on the cost of flying to Miami or Orlando.

In fact, with the introduction of a third cruise terminal, the island is now also home to Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships — the largest on the planet.

Allure of the Seas is one of those ships. This cruise aboard Allure is dirt-cheap, especially for the ability to sail on one of these massive vessels with tons to do. The cruise leaves and heads south to Cozumel, as well as Roatan and Costa Maya.

In addition, you have two days at sea to enjoy all the ship has to offer before you have to go back to the real world.

7-Night Alaska Cruise | September 22, 2023 | $390

Compared to Caribbean cruises, Alaskan trips are usually more expensive. You can save money by sailing early in the season (May) or late in the season (September). This trip is a great example. It allows you to sail to Alaska for under $400 per person in cruise fare. That’s a dirt-cheap price.

The sailing aboard Radiance of the Seas departs Vancouver to head up to Alaska. You’ll stop in Sitka, cruise the Endicott Arm, then stop in Juneau and Ketchikan. 

If you’ve ever had an Alaskan cruise on your bucket list, this trip is an opportunity to experience the amazing landscape without it costing a fortune.

8-Night Caribbean Cruise | December 2, 2023 | $479

Treat yourself to more than a full week of cruising — including some incredibly desirable ports of call — for less than $500 with this wonderfully inexpensive cruise. An 8-night Caribbean cruise aboard Carnival Magic, this route will sail from Miami on December 22, bound for St. Thomas, St. Maarten, San Juan, and Amber Cove

In addition to four ports of call, the itinerary also includes three sea days — giving you a chance to to take advantage of the vessel’s many amenities. Let yourself be pampered at Cloud 9 Spa, or indulge in some waterpark thrills, then grab a meal at Cucina del Capitano or Guy’s Burger Joint.

7-Night Caribbean Cruise | April 9, 2023  | $499

Norwegian Cruise Lines is often one of the more expensive mass-market cruise lines, but you can still find deals here and there.

With this cruise, you come in with a fare below $500 per person for a week-long trip to the Caribbean, including a stop at NCL’s private island. The vacation is aboard the Norwegian Breakaway from New Orleans. 

You’ll head south to Costa Maya, followed by NCL’s Harvest Caye and then Roatan and Cozumel. It’s four ports of call in a week, giving you plenty of time ashore, while also having days at sea to enjoy the ship.

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