The Absolute Cheapest Carnival Cruise You Can Buy

Daydreaming about a cruise vacation, but think you can’t afford to go? Think again. If you follow a few basic guidelines, cruising offers one of the most affordable ways to travel.

To prove it, we went in search of the absolute cheapest Carnival cruise we could find. The result? A four-day Mexico cruise on Carnival that costs as little $179 per person. (There is a 2-day trip for $164, but given the length, we decided against naming it as the cheapest).

Carnival ship whale tail

At less than $50 per person, per day, this cruise costs less than you might spend on a staycation – but offers so much more than a stripped down vacation close to home. There aren’t many places on land where you can have your accommodations, food, and entertainment covered for that little amount.

The Itinerary

The four-night Mexico voyage aboard Carnival Imagination departs Long Beach on December 8, 2019.

On the second day, the ship will port at Catalina. If it’s your first visit to Catalina, you can tour the island to explore, or do one of the many adventures it offers visitors. Kayaking, parasailing, snorkeling, and more are all available. If you prefer to get the underwater view while staying dry, you can also take a glass-bottom boat ride. There is also the casino on the island to tour. It’s not an actual gambling casino but a historic art-deco building that’s ornately decorated.

The ship visits Ensenada, Mexico the following day, with a late departure (6:00 p.m.), giving passengers more time to enjoy themselves. You’ll be glad you have so much time because the area offers an abundance things to do. You can go explore the area by ATV, Jeep, and even horseback. Wine, beer, and eating tours are also available. Those feeling a little adventurous can even try their hand with a surf lesson.

The next day is a sea day on the return trip to Long Beach – meaning plenty of opportunity to enjoy shipboard amenities… or just lounge poolside.

Where else but on a cruise could you get such a variety of fun things to do?

The Ship

Carnival Sensation has a guest capacity of 2,056. Although the ship launched in 1995, it was refurbished in 2016. It boasts a variety of dining venues, including Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, and the Dr. Seuss-themed Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast for those traveling with kids.

The vessel also offers Serenity Adults-Only retreat, Red Frog Rum Bar, and Punchliner Comedy Club, as well as Waterworks, Carnival’s onboard waterpark.

The Deal

As we said, this cruise is only $179 per person if you book the lowest-priced interior cabin. So why is the trip so cheap?

In particular this cruise hits many of the most important points for finding the cheapest trips possible. Here are the reasons you’ll find that this trip is so inexpensive:

Book an inside cabin: This price is for an inside cabin and these cabins are always the cheapest on a cruise ship. But won’t you get claustrophobic in a cabin with no windows or balcony? Truth is when the ship docks at its scheduled ports, many want to spend as much time as possible experiencing what these destinations offer. And when you’re onboard, the ship itself provides a variety of options for food and fun.

Since the cabin is just where you’ll sleep and shower, most people barely notice the size or lack of windows. Plus, upgraded cabins on this ship are also cheap.

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. It’s no coincidence that this inexpensive cruise is on a ship built in 1995. You’ll still enjoy many of the popular features and dining options found aboard newer ships since cruise lines frequently refurbish their older vessels to update them.

Timing is everything: 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 quiet when there are few children on board). With this trip leaving in December, it’s right before kids get out for the holidays, meaning that families are less apt to book this sort of cruise.

Ready to book? You can learn more about this Carnival cruise – and other inexpensive trips – at

Note: Cruzely is an affiliate of Expedia. We receive a small commission for purchases made on their site, at no extra cost to you.

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