The 5 Absolute Cheapest Carnival Cruise Deals for 2021

There’s been enough upheaval in cruising to last a lifetime, but there’s little doubt that people want to get back to sailing following the health crisis.

Carnival ship whale tail

And once allowed to sail again — and with proper health protocols in place — cruise lines will be ready to welcome passengers with open arms.

Are you eager to get back to sailing? The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

As we go to press, the cheapest cruises for 2021 run $159 per person for an interior room before taxes and port fees. That means a couple can sail for less than $500.

Given the turmoil that cruising has seen, it’s difficult to know if there might lower prices in the future. On one hand, lower demand might lead to lower prices. On the other, if cruise lines have to cut capacity to sail safely (as some have said they will do), then lower supply could mean higher prices.

The good news? While there is bound to be some fluctuation in prices, you still don’t have to pay a ton to set sail in 2021.

Below, we’ve highlighted the five absolute cheapest cruises from Carnival for 2021 year that depart from North America. Keep in mind that prices can vary.

Carnival Conquest docked

3-Day Bahamas Cruise From Miami

  • Date: Multiple; Jan. 8 – Feb. 5
  • Ship: Carnival Conquest
  • Ports: Nassau
  • Starting Price: $159 per person

Want to find a cheap Carnival cruise? As you’ll see, the keys are to keep it short, travel off-peak dates, and stick to older ships. This sailing ticks all three boxes. The three-day cruise departs Miami aboard the Carnival Conquest for a quick trip over to Nassau. It’s also on Carnival Conquest, which is one of the older ships in the fleet, launching in 2002.

As for the cruise, before reaching the Bahamas, you’ll have a day at sea to lounge poolside and work on your tan. Then it’s a day in Nassau before returning back to Miami. It’s definitely a short vacation, but if you just need to get away, it’s perfect and won’t break the bank.

We found several sailings in the winter of 2021, including dates in both January and February for just $159 per person. Click here to learn more about this cruise.

4-Day Mexico Cruise From Los Angeles (Long Beach)

  • Date: Multiple; Jan. 3 – Feb. 7
  • Ship: Carnival Imagination
  • Ports: Catalina, Ensenada
  • Starting Price: $159 per person

While $159 is the lowest price we found during our search for any Carnival cruise from the United States, this trip is actually the best deal. That’s because it’s a four-day sailing, compared to three days for many of the others on our list. This sailing has multiple dates in early 2021 for the $159 per person price. That comes out to just $40 per day.

The cruise is on the Carnival Imagination (an older ship). It sails from the Port of Long Beach to Catalina Island, and Ensenada, Mexico, before having a day at sea to enjoy before returning home. One nice thing is that this trip gives you a West Coast departure option instead of sailing from Miami. Click here to learn more about this cruise.

3-Day Mexico Cruise From Los Angeles (Long Beach)

  • Date: Multiple; Jan. 7 – Feb. 4
  • Ship: Carnival Imagination
  • Ports: Ensenada
  • Starting Price: $159 per person

If you can’t swing four days, then this trip is very similar to the one above, but has one less day. It’s even aboard the same ship — Carnival Imagination.

This sailing departs Long Beach, with a day at sea as it cruises down the western coast of Mexico. Then you’ll have a full day in Ensenada (8 a.m. – 6 p.m.) before boarding and heading back to California.

Even with one less day, the price per day comes out to just over $50 per day. That’s a great price for a chance to get out of town for a few days and spend some time at sea. Click here to learn more about this cruise.

Bridge of a cruise ship

4-Day Mexico Cruise From Los Angeles (Long Beach)

  • Date: Multiple; Jan. 4 – Feb. 8
  • Ship: Carnival Inspiration
  • Ports: Catalina, Ensenada
  • Starting Price: $159 per person

As you can see, when it comes to Carnival’s cheapest trips, it is dominated by a number of different routes aboard different ships sailing from Long Beach.

This route is priced at $159 and is the same as the four-day trip above, with stops in Catalina and Ensenada. The difference is this cruise is aboard the Carnival Inspiration, a sister ship to the Carnival Imagination. (The two ships were built just a year apart.)

Since the ships are similar, if you can’t make the dates for the Imagination’s sailings, this offers you several more opportunities to find a sailing that matches your schedule. Click here to learn more about this cruise.

3-Day Mexico Cruise From Los Angeles (Long Beach)

  • Date: Jan. 8, Jan. 29
  • Ship: Carnival Inspiration
  • Ports: Ensenada
  • Starting Price: $159 per person

Another three-day cruise from Long Beach, this sailing offers two dates — January 8 and January 29. You’ll sail from California to Ensenada in Mexico for just $159. In addition, you’ll have a day at sea to enjoy the ship.

Perhaps what is best about this cruise is that it departs on a Friday afternoon and gets back on Monday. If you are in the Los Angeles area, you would only have to take a morning off of work. That’s great for people that have a tight schedule or a limited amount of days off. Click here to learn more about this cruise.

Note: The cruises above are the cheapest we found from Carnival for 2021. But there are still plenty of inexpensive trips out there for very low prices. Slightly increase your budget and you’ll find many more options sailing from ports around the country.

How to Find More Deals on Carnival

While we’ve included the cruises with the absolute cheapest prices we could find, it’s understandable if these trips aren’t exactly the ones you’re looking for. Maybe you want a longer cruise, or to sail from a different port.

Fortunately, there are plenty more deals out there. If you want to find the best prices, stick to a few simple rules…

Timing of the Cruise: When you sail makes a difference in cruise pricing. The basic rule of thumb is that choosing a cruise during the off-season helps reduce your fare. If your schedule permits, sail during the school year when fewer people are free to travel (as a bonus, your cruise will be quieter when there are fewer children on board).

As you can see, many of the trips above sail in January or February. This is right after kids go back to school for the holidays, meaning that families are less apt to book this sort of cruise. Other affordable times to sail include April-May, as well as the fall months.

Choose an Older Ship: Unless you have your heart set on sailing a cruise line’s latest ship with all the newest bells and whistles, choose a voyage aboard an older vessel. The fares on these ships tend to be significantly lower.

With new ships, there is typically more demand and interest, which coincides with higher prices. Don’t be scared of older ships. They are updated regularly with many of the features found on newer vessels, including favorite restaurants and amenities. No, they aren’t the exact same as a new ship, but still offer plenty to like.

Interior Cabins: The prices mentioned in this article are all for interior cabins. That’s because these rooms offer the least expensive price to get on the ship. Of course, not everyone likes interior rooms, but the premium on a balcony cabin can be pricey.

If you’re the sort of person who likes to spend lots of time in the cabin in your own space, then a balcony could be well worth the money. But if you’re the type to be out and about during your cruise, then you’ll likely only use the cabin to sleep and to change clothes. In that case, you can sail the exact same trip as someone in a balcony cabin, but for hundreds less.

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