With wave season in full-swing, cruise lines are offering hundreds of deals to entice travelers -- and many of the fares are budget-friendly. To make your vacation planning as easy as possible, here are our favorite cruises under $500, whether your dream destination is Venice, Cabo, or the Canary Islands.
Why it’s Great: Sail from San Diego aboard Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam, which calls on Santa Barbara and San Francisco in California, and on Victoria and Vancouver in British Columbia. This itinerary lets passengers sail the Pacific Northwest in style, enjoy live musical performances and concerts, and take in live cooking demonstrations and workshops. Fun fact: The Nieuw Amsterdam features an art collection worth more than $3 million.
Price: Interior cabins from $499 per person.
Sail Date: April 28, 2019
Why it’s Great: This Mediterranean cruise sails to bucket-list-worthy destinations but remains totally budget-friendly thanks to shoulder season timing. The five-night itinerary embarks from Venice and makes stops in Corfu (Greece) and Civitavecchia (about two hours outside of Rome), before disembarking in Savona. Sail on board the Costa Luminosa, which has a 4D movie theater, live cooking shows, and a selection of restaurants.
Price: Interior cabins from $345 per person; ocean view cabins from $426 per person.
Sail Date: November 9, 2019.
Why it’s Great: This six-night itinerary embarks from Miami and sails to the Cayman Islands, Cozumel, and Cuba before heading back to Miami. Ideal for both beach-lovers and adventure-seekers, it cruise offers passengers the opportunity to add excursions such as Stingray City, Jeep tours, snorkeling, and more (all for an additional fee). As you make your way through the Caribbean, you'll sail aboard the 2,679-passenger MSC Armonia, which has a spa, theatre, disco, arcade, and a cigar lounge.
Price: Interior cabins from $369 per person.
Sail Date: April 2, 2019
Why it’s Great: This value-packed itinerary takes guests on a transatlantic getaway from Barcelona to Tampa, and makes stops in Lanzarote, Canary Islands; Las Palmas, Canary Islands; and CocoCay, Bahamas. Passengers will cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas, where they can attempt the rock climbing wall, choose from eight dining options, lounge at one of four bars, enjoy live music, dance under the stars, take in outdoor movie nights, or try a sushi making class. Note that this repositioning cruise necessitates open-jaw flights to Barcelona and from Tampa -- something to keep in mind for your budget.
Price: It's a steal at $549 per person for an interior cabin.
Why it’s Great: This six-night Mexican Riviera itinerary embarks from Long Beach, California, and makes stops in Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta before heading back to the states. Passengers can bask in sun on board the Carnival Splendor, which works for both families and couples; there's an adults-only retreat as well as a kids’ club. The ship also features waterslides, a comedy club, and a live game show (all included in the cruise fare). This year, Carnival is planning a major expansion to the west coast: The Carnival Panorama (which will debut in December, 2019) will be the line’s first ship to homeport in California in 20 years. Also, the line is launching cruises from San Francisco for the first time (slated to debut in 2020).
Price: Interior cabins from $493 per person.
Sail date: March 2, 2019