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20 Best Places for Cheap Cruises

cheap cruises

Cruises have long been synonymous with luxury and relaxation, but they don’t have to come with a hefty price tag. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or planning your first voyage, finding cheap cruises can make your dream vacation a reality without breaking the bank. In this guide, we’ll explore 20 of the best places around the world where you can find affordable cruises, offering a perfect blend of adventure, comfort, and value.

1. Caribbean

The Caribbean is a top destination for cheap cruises, with numerous ports and short itineraries that keep costs down. Popular departure points like Miami and Fort Lauderdale frequently offer discounted rates to islands such as the Bahamas, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. With its warm climate, stunning beaches, and vibrant culture, the Caribbean remains a favorite for budget-conscious travelers.

  • Highlights: Swim with pigs in the Bahamas, explore Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica, or enjoy the rich history and culture in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

2. Mexico

Cruises to Mexico, particularly the Riviera Maya, provide an excellent value for money. Ports of call often include Cozumel, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas. These cruises are not only affordable but also offer rich cultural experiences, historical sites, and beautiful beaches. Departures from Southern California ports like Los Angeles and San Diego frequently feature competitive pricing.

  • Highlights: Snorkel in Cozumel’s crystal-clear waters, visit the historic city of Chichen Itza, or relax on the stunning beaches of Cancun.

3. Alaska

Alaska cruises are known for their breathtaking scenery and wildlife, and surprisingly, they can also be budget-friendly. Look for shoulder season deals in May or September, when prices are lower, but the natural beauty remains stunning. Departures from Seattle or Vancouver often present the best opportunities for cheap cruises to Alaska’s pristine wilderness.

  • Highlights: Witness the majesty of glaciers, go whale watching, or explore charming Alaskan towns like Juneau and Ketchikan.

4. Mediterranean

Mediterranean cruises can be surprisingly affordable, especially during the off-peak months. Countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece are popular ports of call, offering rich history, diverse cultures, and picturesque landscapes. Barcelona, Rome, and Athens serve as common departure points for these cost-effective voyages.

  • Highlights: Visit the ancient ruins of Rome, relax on the stunning beaches of the Greek Islands, or explore the vibrant nightlife in Barcelona.

5. Baltic Sea

Explore Northern Europe on a budget with Baltic Sea cruises. These itineraries often include stops in countries like Sweden, Finland, and Russia. Copenhagen and Stockholm are popular departure cities, and with a bit of research, you can find great deals that offer a blend of modern cities and historic sites.

  • Highlights: Discover the beautiful architecture of St. Petersburg, stroll through the medieval old town of Tallinn, or enjoy the modern and historical mix in Helsinki.

6. South Pacific

While it might seem like an exotic and expensive destination, cruises in the South Pacific can be surprisingly affordable. Departures from Australia and New Zealand often feature discounted rates to destinations like Fiji, Tahiti, and the Cook Islands. These cruises provide a perfect escape to paradise without the high cost.

  • Highlights: Dive into the vibrant coral reefs of Fiji, relax on the stunning beaches of Bora Bora, or explore the rich culture and history of the Cook Islands.

7. Transatlantic

For those who enjoy long, relaxing sea days, transatlantic cruises offer exceptional value. These voyages typically take place in the spring and fall, as ships reposition between the Caribbean and Europe. With stops in intriguing ports like Lisbon, the Canary Islands, and the Azores, transatlantic cruises are a cost-effective way to travel between continents.

  • Highlights: Experience the rich history and culture of Lisbon, enjoy the unique landscapes of the Canary Islands, or explore the beautiful Azores.

8. Hawaii

Cruises to Hawaii offer a fantastic way to see the islands without the expense of multiple flights and hotel stays. Many cheap cruises depart from the West Coast of the U.S., especially from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Ports of call usually include Honolulu, Maui, and the Big Island, allowing you to experience the diverse beauty of Hawaii on a budget.

  • Highlights: Visit the historic Pearl Harbor, hike the scenic trails of Maui, or explore the volcanic landscapes of the Big Island.

9. Asia

Cruising in Asia can be a great bargain, with destinations such as Japan, China, and Southeast Asia offering fascinating cultures and stunning landscapes. Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai are common departure points, and you can often find deals that include multiple countries in one itinerary.

  • Highlights: Explore the bustling streets of Tokyo, visit the Great Wall of China, or relax on the beautiful beaches of Thailand.

10. Canary Islands

The Canary Islands, located off the coast of Africa, are a fantastic destination for affordable cruises. Departures from Spanish ports like Barcelona and Malaga offer convenient and budget-friendly options. With year-round sunshine, beautiful beaches, and volcanic landscapes, the Canary Islands are a great choice for cheap cruises.

  • Highlights: Enjoy the vibrant nightlife of Tenerife, hike the scenic trails of La Palma, or relax on the stunning beaches of Gran Canaria.

11. Norwegian Fjords

Cruises to the Norwegian Fjords might seem like a luxury, but there are ways to make them affordable. Booking during the shoulder seasons or finding last-minute deals can significantly reduce costs. Departures from the UK or Germany often feature competitive pricing, allowing you to experience the stunning fjords without overspending.

  • Highlights: Witness the breathtaking scenery of Geirangerfjord, explore the charming city of Bergen, or go hiking in the beautiful landscapes of Flam.

12. Bermuda

Bermuda cruises offer a mix of history, culture, and natural beauty, often at a reasonable price. Many cruises depart from East Coast cities like New York and Boston, making them accessible and affordable. With its pink sand beaches and British colonial charm, Bermuda is a delightful and budget-friendly destination.

  • Highlights: Relax on the famous pink sand beaches, explore the historic town of St. George, or go snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters.

13. Panama Canal

A Panama Canal cruise is a bucket-list experience that can be surprisingly affordable. These cruises typically include stops in Central America and the Caribbean, offering diverse experiences at a reasonable price. Look for deals during the shoulder seasons to find the best rates.

  • Highlights: Witness the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal, explore the lush rainforests of Costa Rica, or relax on the beautiful beaches of the Caribbean.

14. New England and Canada

For a unique cruising experience, consider the New England and Canada itineraries. Departing from ports like Boston and New York, these cruises offer a scenic and historic journey through destinations such as Halifax, Quebec City, and Bar Harbor. These cruises are often reasonably priced, especially during the fall foliage season.

  • Highlights: Enjoy the beautiful fall foliage, explore the historic streets of Quebec City, or visit the scenic Acadia National Park.

15. Galápagos Islands

While the Galápagos Islands are generally considered a premium destination, there are ways to visit on a budget. Look for smaller, locally-operated ships that offer more affordable rates. These cruises provide an incredible opportunity to explore the unique wildlife and landscapes of the Galápagos without the high costs associated with larger, luxury vessels.

  • Highlights: Witness the unique wildlife, such as giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies, explore the volcanic landscapes, or go snorkeling in the pristine waters.

16. South America

Cruises around South America can offer excellent value, with diverse destinations including Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. Look for repositioning cruises or off-peak season deals to find the best prices. These itineraries often include iconic sights like Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and the Chilean fjords, offering a rich cultural experience at a lower cost.

  • Highlights: Experience the vibrant culture of Rio de Janeiro, explore the historic streets of Buenos Aires, or witness the stunning landscapes of Patagonia.

17. Australia and New Zealand

Cruising around Australia and New Zealand can be an affordable way to explore these beautiful countries. Look for deals on repositioning cruises or off-peak sailings. Ports of call often include Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, and Wellington, providing a mix of urban and natural attractions.

  • Highlights: Visit the iconic Sydney Opera House, explore the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand, or relax on the stunning beaches of the Gold Coast.

18. Middle East

Cruises in the Middle East can offer a fascinating blend of ancient history and modern luxury. Departures from Dubai often feature competitive rates, with itineraries that include stops in Oman, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi. These cruises provide a unique way to experience the rich culture and history of the region at an affordable price.

  • Highlights: Explore the modern city of Dubai, visit the historic forts of Oman, or relax on the beautiful beaches of Abu Dhabi.

19. Western Mediterranean

The Western Mediterranean offers a plethora of cheap cruises, especially if you book during the off-season. Ports of call in Spain, France, and Italy provide a rich cultural experience. Departures from Barcelona, Marseille, and Civitavecchia (Rome) often feature competitive pricing, allowing you to explore the best of the Mediterranean without overspending.

  • Highlights: Visit the stunning beaches of the French Riviera, explore the historic streets of Rome, or enjoy the vibrant nightlife of Barcelona.

20. Antarctica

While Antarctica might not be the first place that comes to mind for cheap cruises, there are budget-friendly options available. Look for smaller expedition ships that offer more affordable rates. These cruises provide an incredible opportunity to explore the pristine wilderness of Antarctica without the premium price tag of larger, luxury vessels.

  • Highlights: Witness the stunning icebergs and glaciers, see the unique wildlife such as penguins and seals, or explore the pristine landscapes of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Tips for Finding Cheap Cruises

  1. Book Early or Last Minute: Planning well in advance or waiting for last-minute deals can often yield significant savings.
  2. Be Flexible with Dates: Traveling during the off-peak seasons or being flexible with your departure dates can help you find better deals.
  3. Use Cruise Comparison Websites: Utilize websites that compare prices across multiple cruise lines to find the best deals.
  4. Consider Repositioning Cruises: These cruises, where ships move from one region to another, often offer reduced rates.
  5. Look for All-Inclusive Deals: Some cruises offer all-inclusive packages that can provide better value for money.
  6. Join Loyalty Programs: Many cruise lines offer loyalty programs with discounts and perks for repeat customers.
  7. Travel in Groups: Group discounts can significantly reduce the cost per person, making cruises more affordable for families or friends traveling together.

Conclusion

Finding cheap cruises is entirely possible with a bit of research and flexibility. Whether you’re dreaming of the sun-soaked beaches of the Caribbean, the rugged beauty of Alaska, or the rich history of the Mediterranean, there’s a budget-friendly cruise option waiting for you. By considering these 20 destinations and following our tips, you can embark on an unforgettable adventure without breaking the bank. Happy cruising!

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