You've decided it's time to take that cruise to Alaska (or the Caribbean or Mediterranean) you keep hearing about. But you're not sure how much it's going to cost you. The Mediterranean sounds awfully expensive, but what about Alaska? Perhaps a New England and Canada cruise would be more affordable?
Cruise pricing is never static; no matter what region you choose to sail, prices ebb and flow. Cruise line, time of year, length of trip -- these factors all affect the price of a cruise. Plus, what's included -- or not included -- also determines the overall affordability of any given sailing. But some regions are generally more affordable than others. Cruise Critic compared sample itineraries in popular cruise regions, using our Find a Cruise tool, to help you understand how much you can roughly expect to pay for any given region. (All prices listed are per person based on double occupancy for 2016 cruises. Prices are not inclusive of any additional taxes or fees, and can change at any time.)
Featured Itineraries: Four- to 10-night cruises sailing from Miami in January ($48 - $465/night)
Why Sail: Winter months are prime time for warm-weather Caribbean cruises, and January bypasses busy holiday sailings, hurricane season (June through November) and crowds of kids on winter break. Miami is a bustling homeport to many cruise ships offering easy access to Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean itineraries. Prices are usually higher during the summer school vacation season, as well as during the end-of-year holidays.
Carnival Ecstasy (4 nights -- $189 inside cabin/$399 balcony cabin)
Short, cheap Caribbean cruises are a hallmark of Carnival Cruise Line, and with a quick, four-night sailing you can cruise from just $47 per person per night. Stops include Key West and Cozumel on a slightly western itinerary.
Norwegian Escape (7 nights -- $789 inside cabin/$1,169 balcony cabin)
Celebrity Reflection (7 nights -- $649 inside cabin/$1,059 balcony cabin)
A brand-new ship as of fall 2015, Norwegian Escape is the largest ship to homeport in Miami, offering a solid selection of Eastern Caribbean sailings (shown here from $113 per night). Norwegian Getaway, launched in 2014, also sails to the Caribbean from Miami; a balcony cabin on a 2016 January Getaway sailing is significantly lower than on Escape ($719 inside cabin/$859 balcony cabin).
Celebrity Reflection is the newest ship in Celebrity Cruises' refined Solstice class, which is highlighted by the unique Lawn Club, a top-deck green space for picnics and relaxation, and the Solarium, an adults-only sun deck with glass cover for all-weather sunbathing. Yet, despite being considered a step up from Norwegian, prices on a week sailing start from just $93 per person per night during the off season.
Regent's Seven Seas Navigator (10 nights -- $4,649 suite)
It's not just that this is a longer sailing; Regent Seven Seas is a luxury all-suite, all-inclusive line that includes pre- or post-cruise hotel stays, shore excursions, gratuities and more. You can ply the waters of the Caribbean from $465 per person per night on this January cruise to St. Maarten, St. Barts, Tortola and four other ports in the Eastern Caribbean.
Featured Itineraries: One- to two-week sailings in early November ($56 - $500/night)
Why Sail: The Mediterranean is a postcard-perfect region of Europe prime for sailing. A wide selection of departure ports is available, making this one tough to narrow down. However, as seasons are concerned, November and December offer mild to chilly weather for strolling in exchange for a significant dip in cruise fares. As it's difficult to see much in less than a week, you won't see many Med itineraries less than seven nights long, but MSC and Costa do offer five-night jaunts for less.
Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas (7 nights -- $391 inside cabin/$1,017 balcony cabin)
Sail round trip from Venice for just $56 per person per night on this super-cheap Greek Isles itinerary in early November, if you're willing to forgo a view; a balcony is triple the price. Ports include Korfu, Athens, Argostoli and more.
Costa Fascinosa (7 nights -- $569 inside cabin/$799 balcony cabin)
MSC Poesia (7 nights -- $569 inside cabin/$929 balcony cabin)
MSC and Costa are both cruise lines based in the Mediterranean, offering reasonable fares year-round to ports in the region. Sail from Barcelona in November 2016 from $81 per person per night in an inside cabin (calling at ports including Genoa and Malta), or get a little air on a balcony with a Costa cruise out of Savona (Genoa) from $114 per person per night, with stops in Spain and Italy. (Note that MSC's pricing structure is not based on cabin alone but instead on the inclusion level combined with cabin location; the price above reflects the Bella Experience or base-level fare, with few extras included.)
Seabourn Sojourn (14 nights -- $6,999 suite)
A luxury, suites-only cruise line, Seabourn offers an all-inclusive experience (tips, drinks, fitness classes) sailing from Monte Carlo from $500 person per night. Spend two weeks cruising Naples, Dubrovnik, Crete, Kusadasi and other ports before ending in Athens.
Featured Itineraries: Seven- to 12-night round trip sailings from Seattle in early June ($111 - $442/night)
Why Sail: May through September is Alaska cruising season, and the long, sunny days of June are perfect for exploring the region. Departing from Seattle (or nearby Vancouver) is typically an easier trek than flying directly into Anchorage.
Norwegian Jewel (7 nights -- $774 inside cabin/$1,449 balcony cabin)
Carnival Legend (7 nights -- $899 inside cabin/$1,298 balcony cabin)
Norwegian and Carnival Cruise Line offer some of the most affordable options in Alaska. Even during prime sailing season, cruises are available from $111 per person per night on Norwegian Jewel. Or you can upgrade to a balcony on Carnival Legend for $185 per person per night.
Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas (7 nights -- $873 inside cabin/$1,538 balcony cabin)
Celebrity Solstice (7 nights -- $899 inside cabin/$1,398 balcony cabin)
Crown Princess (7 nights -- $949 inside cabin/$1,699 balcony cabin)
Holland America's Westerdam (7 nights -- $999 inside cabin/$1,699 balcony cabin)
Most cruise lines visiting Alaska fall within the $125 to $143 per person per night range. Cruise ships sailing in Alaska all offer an onboard enrichment program to enhance passengers' experiences in the destination.
Oceania's Regatta (12 nights -- $3,499 inside cabin/$5,299 balcony cabin)
The significant increase in price has less to do with length and more with the fact that Oceania Cruises is a premium cruise line with fine dining and more included amenities than you find on a mainstream line. The sailing also stops at less-traveled ports including Haines and Sitka.
Featured Itineraries: Seven- to 11-night cruises from Honolulu in April/May ($80 - $306/night)
Why Sail: Cruise prior to hurricane season (June through November) and sail from Honolulu to avoid long stretches at sea and maximize your time in the Hawaiian Islands. Though these cruises begin in Hawaii, most end in Vancouver; you'll pay more for a round trip.
Carnival Legend (11 nights -- $879 inside cabin/$1,159 balcony cabin)
Despite being 11 nights, Carnival is the cheapest cruise line in the region, with prices from $80 per person per night. Stops include Maui, Kona, Kauai and Hilo before ending in Vancouver.
Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas (11 nights -- $1,141 inside cabin/$2,163 balcony cabin)
Celebrity Millennium (11 nights -- $1,224 inside cabin/$1,849 balcony cabin)
With five sea days a piece at the tail end of the cruise, sail the Hawaiian Islands from $104 per night for an inside on Royal or $168 per person per night in a balcony cabin. Royal ports include overnights in Honolulu and Maui; on Celebrity, those are replaced with overnights in Maui and Kauai.
Norwegian's Pride of America (7 nights -- $1,569 inside cabin/$2,139 balcony cabin)
Norwegian Cruise Line's dedicated Hawaii ship, with its all-American crew, offers round trip Honolulu sailings from $224 per person per night. In return for the elevated per-night price, you can spend overnights in Maui and Kauai and still make it back to work the following week; Pride of America is the only ship that exclusively sails the Hawaiian Islands.
Featured Itineraries: Four to 14-night cruises from Manhattan in September/October ($95 - $585/night)
Why Sail: Peak leaf-peeping season typically takes place from late September through the end of October. An autumnal New York departure allows for a scenic voyage up the coast of New England and into Canada.
Carnival Sunshine (4 nights -- $379 inside cabin/$499 balcony cabin)
Canada and New England don't get much less expensive than this. Spend a long weekend sailing to St. John in New Brunswick and back with this four-night October sailing on Carnival from $95 per person, per night.
Norwegian Gem (7 nights -- $699 inside cabin/$1,149 balcony cabin)
Regal Princess (7 nights --$894 inside cabin/ $1,289 balcony cabin)
Norwegian and Princess offer nice midrange options this time of year out of Manhattan. Itineraries include calls at Halifax and Portland, Maine for Norwegian Gem, and Newport and Boston onboard Regal Princess.
Silversea's Silver Whisper (10 nights -- $5,850 suite)
Cunard's Queen Mary 2 (14 nights -- $2,578 inside cabin/$3,516 balcony cabin)
While other luxury lines such as Crystal and Regent also sail the scenic Atlantic coast this time of year, Silversea's all-inclusive experience offers more intimacy, with just under 300 passengers. Calls include standards such as Cape Cod and Boston, along with Saguenay Fjord and Troisrivieres; the cruise ends in Montreal. However, it's hard to talk about the East Coast (especially cruises from New York City) without mentioning the QM2. If you have a bit more time to take in the charms of the season, spend two weeks with premium liner Cunard, which spends two overnights in Quebec City. Pricing is at the low end of "high."