12 Dirt-Cheap Cruises for 2024 (Starting at $169)

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
Getting to sea doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Below, we’ve uncovered a dozen deals for 2024, with some cruises starting at just $169 per person before taxes and fees.

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 Cruise Critic, 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 MSC Bahamas Cruise | September 12, 2024 | $199

Want to take a break… but don’t have time to leave for a week or more? This cruise is only three 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 Seashore will sail a 3-night round trip cruise departing Port Canaveral on September 12. 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 MSC Bahamas Cruise | March 29, 2024 | $169

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

The trip will take you to Key West for a day to visit one of the most popular cruise ports of call in the world. From there, you’ll head to MSC’s private island Ocean Cay for a 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 Carnival Bahamas Cruise | December 2, 2024 | $189

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 2, but there are more dates are available throughout the year. It departs Miami, spends a day at sea, followed by a visit to the Princess Cays (Carnival’s private destination), and then on to Nassau before heading home.

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.

4-Night Carnival Mexico Cruise | December 15, 2024 | $184 

The absolute least expensive Carnival cruise we could find? It’s this one for just $184 — a vacation for about the cost of a pair of fancy sneakers (though port fees and taxes add about $120 per person).

This particular sailing leaves on December 15, 2024. Departing Los Angeles, it heads to sea for a day, then it’s a day in port at Catalina Island. Following that, it’s a stop in Ensenada,. Mexico before returning to Los Angeles the following morning. 

At just four days, it’s a 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.

4-Night Royal Caribbean Mexico Cruise | September 26, 2024 | $290

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 4-night voyage aboard Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas departs September 26 and features two blissful sea days, with a stop in 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 some time exploring the beautiful Mexican Riviera. 

3-Night Royal Caribbean Bahamas Cruise | November 1, 2024 | $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, followed 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 Carnival Caribbean Cruise | December 2, 2024 | $294

You can book a 5-night Caribbean cruise aboard Carnival Freedom sailing out of Port Canaveral for as little as $294. Yes, there are less expensive five-night cruises from the line (some as little as $209 per person), but the combination of ship and itinerary is tough to beat.

The voyage departs on December 2, and includes a day at sea, followed by visits to Grand Turk and Amber Cove, 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.

6-Night Royal Caribbean Pacific Coast Cruise | September 22, 2024 | $227

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

This is a six-night cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas for only $227 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 longer trips we’ve ever seen. The catch? It’s a repositioning cruise, meaning it’s one-way.

The cruise departs Vancouver, Canada, headed to Los Angeles. During the trip, there are stops in Victoria, San Francisco, and Catalina Island — three beautiful ports that shouldn’t be missed.

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 Royal Caribbean Western Caribbean Cruise | September 8, 2024 | $491

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.

Harmony of the Seas is one of those ships. This cruise aboard Harmony 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 Costa Maya, Roatan, and Cozumel.

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 Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruise | May 13, 2024 | $448

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 $500 per person in cruise fare. That’s a dirt-cheap price.

The sailing aboard Quantum of the Seas departs Seattle to head up to Alaska. You’ll stop in Sitka, Skagway, cruise the Endicott Arm, then stop in Juneau and Victoria. 

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 Carnival Caribbean Cruise | October 5, 2024 | $499

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 October 5, bound for Amber Cove, San Juan, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas.

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.

6-Night Princess Caribbean Cruise | April 14, 2024  | $309

Princess is known for being more luxurious and more adult-oriented than lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean that focus on families. That’s why many people wanting to really relax — without so many kids on their cruise — will be excited about this deal.

With this cruise aboard Caribbean Princess, you’ll have six days to unwind as you head from Fort Lauderdale to Princess Cays, Grand Turk, and Nassau. There are also two days at sea. Best of all, the fare comes in at just $309 per person before taxes and fees, or only about $50 a day to sail Princess.

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