12 Dirt-Cheap Cruises for 2021 (Starting at $99)

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

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.

While cruise prices do seem to be rising over the years, 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 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.

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 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.

3-Night Bahamas Cruise | September 17, 2021 | $99

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 $100 a night, it’s a steal.

MSC Armonia will sail a 3-night roundtrip cruise departing Miami on September 17. The ship will visit Key West, then call at MSC’s Ocean Cay Marine Reserve in the Bahamas. Best of all, there are a number of these sailings available throughout the year that can match up with practically any schedule.

4-Night Bahamas Cruise | August 29, 2021 | $149 

When it comes to the least expensive cruises, we found the most options from MSC Cruises. The cruise line plans to sail from Miami and Port Canaveral in 2021. This cruise aboard the MSC Divina sets sail in late August for four nights.

The trip will take you from Florida to MSC’s private island Ocean Cay for two whole days on an overnight stay. From there, it will head to Nassau before returning back to Port Canaveral.

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.

3-Night Bahamas Cruise | December 10, 2021 | $139 

If you love Carnival and just need to get on a ship, then this cruise might be for you. It’s the cheapest 2021 cruise from the popular line and comes in at less than $150 per person for cruise fare.

This sailing departs December 10, but there is also a sailing on December 3 available. Don’t expect too much from the itinerary. It departs Miami, spends a day at sea, and then ports in 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.

3-Night Bahamas Cruise | April 16, 2021 | $190 

You might start to see a trend that 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 Navigator of the Seas will take you from Miami over to CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island. CocoCay has set the bar in cruise line private islands and can’t be missed.

From there, you’ll depart to head over to Nassau, before returning back home to Miami. It’s a quick trip, but will pack in a lot of fun for not a lot of money.

7-Night Bahamas Cruise | September 3, 2021 | $169 

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

This is an entire week-long cruise for only $169 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 the cheapest seven-day trip we could find.

The cruise departs Miami, headed to Key West. From there, it will head to an overnight stay at Ocean Cay, before a day at sea. After spending the day out on the water, the ship heads for an overnight stay in Nassau before going back to Florida.

It’s rare for any cruise to have an overnight stay in one port, much less two. That — combined with the price — makes this cruise extremely unique.

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 Caribbean Cruise | August 30, 2021 | $222 

You can find plenty of affordable cruise choices for sailing out of Galveston. That’s because there are a number of shorter sailings from the island, and the fewer days on the ship, the less you’ll pay.

This 4-night voyage aboard Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas departs August 30 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 a day exploring the beautiful Mexican Riviera. 

5-Night Caribbean Cruise | October 25, 2021 | $239 

You can book a 5-night Caribbean cruise aboard Carnival Sensation sailing out of Mobile for as little as $239.

The voyage departs on October 25, and includes a day at sea, followed by visits to Cozumel and Progreso, then another sea day before returning to Mobile.

Although the Carnival Sensation is one of the fleet’s oldest ships, it has been refurbished to offer lots of Carnival favorites. It has one of the cruise line’s trademarked 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.

3-Night Bahamas Cruise | March 12, 2021 | $265 

If you’re eager to experience CocoCay — Royal Caribbean’s private island that we think is “the future of cruising” — there are several bargains available for 2021 (including a trip above for less than $200).

We selected this trip because it’s at the height of Spring Break season and won’t break the budget.

For as little as $265, you can book a 3-night Bahamas cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas. The voyage sets sail from Port Canaveral on March 12, paying calls on Nassau on day two, then Perfect Day at CocoCay on day three, before returning to its homeport on the fourth day after departure.

7-Night Caribbean Cruise | September 18, 2021 | $259 

MSC has a number of spots on our list, and for good reason. They offer a wide assortment of inexpensive cruises. While we have one week-long cruise listed above, this one is worth noting because it is aboard the MSC Meraviglia — one of the cruise lines’ newest and largest ships, with all the latest amenities.

On the cruise you’ll depart Miami. You’ll have a day at sea before docking in San Juan, Puerto Rico. From there it’s St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, another day at sea and then Ocean Cay — MSC’s private island.

Whether in port or on the ship, it would be hard to not have a great time on this dirt-cheap sailing.

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.

7-Night Alaska Cruise | September 16, 2021 | $449 

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 $450 per person in cruise fare by going in September.

The sailing aboard Norwegian Sky departs Seattle to head up to Alaska. You’ll stop in Juneau and Ketchikan, plus Victoria, British Columbia. 

If you’ve ever had an Alaskan cruise on your bucket list, this trip is an opportunity to experience the great Northwest without it costing a fortune.

6-Night Caribbean Cruise | December 5, 2021 | $339

Treat yourself to nearly a full week of cruising for only $359 per person with this wonderfully inexpensive cruise. A 6-night Caribbean cruise aboard Carnival Horizon, this route will sail from Miami on December 5, bound for Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. 

In addition to three ports of call, the itinerary also includes two 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 Bonsai Sushi or Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Q.

7-Night Bahamas Cruise | April 24, 2021 | $382 

New Orleans has quietly grown into a cruise hot spot. From the port you can take trips all around the Caribbean and even the Bahamas, although most trips are to areas in Mexico and the Western Caribbean.

This cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas goes a differently direction. It leaves and heads southeast to Key West before stopping at Royal Caribbean’s private island CocoCay. After a full day at the island, you’ll sail off to Nassau. 

On the way back home you’ll have two full days at sea to enjoy the sun by the pool before you have to go back to the real world.

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