Doing your taxes is probably not your -- or most people's -- idea of a good time. But other than the threat of being chased down by the IRS for tax evasion, most taxpayers find motivation in the possibility of getting a tax refund soon after filing their forms.
The IRS reported that, this year, the average tax refund amount is $2,933. While that's slightly less than the $3,305 amount reported in 2022, it's still more than enough to do some serious shopping. And while you're in the market for ideas to spend your tax refund, why not consider a cruise?
Using the $2,933 figure as a double-occupancy fare ceiling on Cruise Critic's Find a Cruise tool, we've found more than 4,000 cruises for $1,466 per person or less. What's more, there are several time-limited deals out there that make tax season the right season to book a cruise.
From Caribbean cruises on megaliners to river cruises in Europe and beyond, find out how far your tax refund can take you.
Editor's note: Prices fluctuate daily. It's likely that the prices quoted in this article have changed since time of publication and should be viewed as an estimate. Visit Cruise Critic's Find a Cruise page to get up-to-date pricing.
When it comes to finding cruise fares at or below the $1,466 per person threshold (or well below it), you'll be spoiled for choice. Mainstream cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, MSC Cruises, Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America or Princess Cruises offer a bounty of itineraries, and you won't be limited to weekend cruises or 3-day cruises.
For instance, a 7-night Eastern Caribbean aboard MSC Seascape can go for $419 per person for an outside cabin, while an 8-night Southern Caribbean voyage on Carnival Celebration can be had for $709 per person on an inside cabin.
Alaska cruises can also fit your tax return budget. We've found fares for $576 per person on an inside cabin for a 7-night cruise on Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas or a 10-night cruise on Norwegian Sun for $719 per person on an inside cabin.
Similarly, good deals can also be had on Mediterranean itineraries. An 11-night Barcelona to Athens voyage aboard Holland America's Oosterdam can fetch prices as low as $1,099 per person on an inside cabin, while a shorter 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise on Costa Smeralda can go for $502 per person on an inside cabin.
Deals can also be found outside of the popular Caribbean, Alaska and Mediterranean regions. A 7-night Hawaii cruise on Royal Princess for as low as $568 per person on an inside cabin (or $907 per person for a balcony cabin), a 7-night Canada/New England cruise aboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2 for $699 per person on an inside cabin, or a 13-night Transatlantic on Celebrity Silhouette for $899 per person on an inside cabin.
While some fares can be low enough to accommodate a family of four for just under $3,000, snagging a kids sail free offer can translate into better value. The details on these promotions vary from cruise line to cruise line and tend to pop up from time to time. While these offers allow children to sail free as third or fourth passengers in most cabins, keep in mind that they'll still have to pay taxes and other fees.
Some current kids sail free deals we could find include a 12-night Southern Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas for $813 per person on an inside cabin ($924 on an outside cabin), or a 7-night Alaska Inside Passage voyage on Brilliance of the Seas for $495 per person on an outside cabin.
While less abundant than mainstream cruises, attractive offers can also be found on premium or river cruise lines for less than $1,466 per person.
In the premium cruise category, we've found deals on lines like Virgin Voyages, Azamara or Oceania Cruises. Examples include a 7-night Mediterranean cruise on Virgin Voyages' Valiant Lady for $702 per person for an inside cabin (or $1,065 per person for a balcony cabin), a 9-night Southeast Asia cruise on Azamara Journey for $1,020 per person on an inside cabin, a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise on Oceania Sirena for $1,249 per person for an outside cabin
On the river front, some attractive options include a 6-night Rhine, Moselle and Main on CroisiEurope for $1,200 per person, a 7-night Mekong River cruise on Emerald Cruises' Emerald Harmony for $1,395 per person or a 5-night Danube River cruise on Avalon Waterways' Avalon Visionary for $1,420 per person.
Updated April 18, 2023