With the 2022 Spring Break period fast approaching, we went looking for cheap cruise deals for families looking to get to the warm Caribbean, Bahamas or Mexican Riviera – especially as an escape from all the big snowstorms up north.
We set our imaginary budget at $1,500 for a family of four and did a lot of searches (and of course, you can use the Cruise Critic's Deals page too).
We found that yes, you can cruise with that budget, at least for four or five nights, though a seven-night cruise for that price in late February, March and April is a rarity right now.
Cruise fares in general appear to be on the rise, and that may be due to the fact that people with Future Cruise credits, due to cancelled cruises in 2020 and 2021, are returning to cruising, limiting the available number of cabins.
Still, last-minute deals keep popping up, as some cruisers nervous about COVID-19 variants cancel. So if you are someone who can pack the kids in the car at the last minute, you’ll want to keep an eye out for bargains.
Cruise fares, of course, change quickly based on supply and demand. So consider the deals here as starting points for your search. A whole lot of love is involved in cramming four people into a small inside cabin, especially when you’re talking lower and upper berths (even if kids tend to love the uppers), so we upgraded accommodations when we could, while still staying within our budget.
In terms of a best deal for a seven-night cruise, with MSC Cruises’ Kids Sail Free offer (for kids under age 12), you can book a week on MSC Divina, embarking Miami on Feb. 27, and stay in a guarantee balcony cabin, from $1,355. The starting price for a family of four to get on the ship (in a guarantee inside cabin) is $1,155. The itinerary is Costa Maya, Cozumel, Nassau and Grand Cayman.
Sail from Long Beach on March 6, aboard Carnival Miracle, and stay in a balcony cabin in the middle of the ship on a five-night cruise, from $1,291. The ports of call are Catalina Island and Ensenada. Find cheaper deals on inside cabins.
Take the kids to Costa Maya and Cozumel on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas, on the five-night sailing embarking on April 6, from Galveston, and you can grab an inside guarantee cabin is from $1,226 for a family of four. Upgrade to a spacious panoramic oceanview, from $1,485.
Princess Cruises has reduced fares for the March 7 sailing of Regal Princess from Fort Lauderdale. The five-night sailing calls in Grand Turk and Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic. Cruise from $1,506 for a family of four.
Head off on Carnival Valor from New Orleans, on a four-night sailing embarking March 3, and you can stay with the kids in a balcony cabin in the middle of the ship from $1,191. For another $500 you can book your family into a suite. If that’s all beyond your budget, snag an inside cabin from $951. You sail to Cozumel.
Embark on Norwegian Sky on March 2, on a five-night cruise to Norwegian Cruise Line’s private Bahamas island Great Stirrup Cay and Cozumel, and you’ll pay from $2,090 for a family inside cabin. While yes, this cruise from Miami goes beyond our $1,500 limit, the fare comes with an open bar, specialty dining, a discount on shore excursions and an Internet package.