• Newsletter
  • Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Deals
  • Find a Cruise
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Cruise Tips
You may also like

These Cruise Deals Go For $500 or Less

Jorge Oliver

Feb 6, 2023

Read time
6 min read

How far can $500 get you nowadays? Depending on the season, you might be able to score a couple of domestic roundtrip airline tickets. Or perhaps you can book a two-night stay in a midrange hotel or purchase four tickets to a world-class theme park. In some cities, $500 can barely get you a fancy dinner and a Broadway show.

But these cruise deals are priced at $500 or less. There is arguably no better deal than a cruise. With transportation, accommodations, dining and entertainment all rolled into one package, cruise deals can make shoestring travel budgets work like a charm. You'll be hard pressed to find another option that ticks all the boxes without breaking the bank.

And the best part? With these cruises deals that go for $500 or less, you'll be (relatively) spoilt for choice, with diverse options available to budget-conscious travelers. From quick weekend getaways to European escapes, read on to discover how far $500 or less can get you on a cruise.

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.

Short Cruises Can Bring the Best Value

If your budget is limited, the most efficient way to find inexpensive options is to look for three- to four-day cruises. Sailing to nearby destinations like the Bahamas, the Western Caribbean or the Pacific coast of Mexico, these cruises can commonly be had for significantly less than $500 per person. This means you can reasonably expect to cover a double occupancy fare for less than $500.

Some cruise lines, in fact, deal exclusively in short itineraries with very alluring starting prices.   Sailing out of West Palm Beach to Freeport, Margaritaville at Sea falls squarely in this category. The cruise line's ongoing 'Celebrate Together' offers a discount of 50% off rates for 2nd guests, while 3rd and 4th guests sail free. With this promotion, deals can be found for as low as $129 per person for a lower deck inside cabin, or $199 per person for an oceanview cabin.

Mainstream cruise lines will also offer plenty of options on short itineraries from U.S. homeports. Some examples include a 4-night Key West and Bahamas cruise on Celebrity Silhouette for $171 per person or a 4-night Baja Mexico itinerary on Carnival Radiance for $174 per person.

We've also found a 5-night Western Caribbean cruise out of Galveston onboard Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas for as low as $205, and a 5-night U.S. Pacific Coast itinerary on Princess Cruises' Crown Princess sailing out of Los Angeles for $227 per person.

Weeklong or Longer Cruises are Also Available for $500 or Less

The deals don't end with 5-day cruises. While it would seem logical that a longer itinerary would command a higher fare, the per-day rate on these voyages can often be lower. Sometimes, it can be low enough to yield a total cost that falls below the $500 threshold.

Much like shorter cruises, these lower-end fares are often found on mainstream lines sailing from popular U.S. homeports to destinations across the Bahamas, the Caribbean or Mexico.

Some noteworthy examples we've found include several seven- and eight-night MSC Cruises itineraries sailing to the Bahamas from New York City, Miami or Port Canaveral that range between$249 and $299 per person for an inside cabin. We've also come across 7-night Western Caribbean cruise sailings from Galveston on an inside cabin aboard Allure of the Seas that can be snagged for $330 per person, as well as a 7-night Mexican Riviera itinerary onboard Celebrity Solstice for $299 per person.

And the deals aren't limited to weeklong cruises. We've even seen an 11-day Bahamas and Western Caribbean roundtrip cruise from Port Canaveral for as little as $449 per person in an inside cabin onboard MSC Seashore.

Longer repositioning sailings are sometimes heavily discounted just to get folks onboard, particularly as last-minute deals closer to the sail date, as cruise lines look to fill every available cabin onboard.

Look Beyond the Caribbean for Deals Under $500

The abundance of cruise lines sailing the Caribbean and the Bahamas, coupled with the fact that you can find year-round options, makes this region one of the most affordable for cruising.

But that doesn't mean it's the only region that boasts inexpensive fares.

The sought-after Mediterranean, for instance, can also be a popular spot to snag enticing deals for $500 or less. In fact, some deals can be astonishingly low, like a 6-night Western Mediterranean on MSC Sinfonia for $159 per person on an inside cabin, or $323 per person on an inside cabin for a 5-night Greek Isles cruise onboard Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas.

Outside of the Med, we've found last-minute deals on a 7-night Northern Europe cruise onboard MSC Divina for $189 per person on an inside cabin, as well as a 14-night Transatlantic cruise from Barcelona to Tampa onboard Enchantment of the Seas for as little as $412 per person on an inside cabin.

Even cruises to Alaska, typically considered more expensive than other cruise regions like the Caribbean or the Mediterranean, can be found below the $500 price range. We've seen deals on a 7-night Inside Passage voyage out of Vancouver onboard Holland America's Volendam for $389 per person for an inside cabin, or fares as low as $314 per person on a southbound Alaska cruise from Seward on Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas.

Of course, with these cruises it is also important to factor in the cost of airfare, which can be well above $500 per person. But for those who live near an embarkation port (or those who have airline points to burn), these far-flung destinations can still offer incredible value.

Don't Rule Out Oceanview Cabins Deals for $500 or Less

Inside cabins are usually the most affordable accommodations on any given cruise ship. So it would seem that budget-conscious cruisers are limited to these rooms when looking to book a cruise for $500 or less.

But while many deals at this price point offer inside cabins, you can also find a healthy dose of oceanview cabins closer to the $500 mark, and not just on extremely short itineraries.

Some noteworthy deals include a 7-night Northbound Alaska cruise onboard Norwegian Jewel for $469 per person for an outside cabin, or a 7-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary sailing from Miami onboard Carnival Magic for as low as $469 per person for an oceanview cabin.

Finding a balcony cabin for $500 or less is definitely trickier, but by no means impossible. The key here is flexibility, as last-minute cruises tend to bring deeper savings on these higher-end rooms.

For instance, we've found a balcony cabin on a 6-night U.S. Pacific Coast cruise on Crown Princess for $497 per person or for $479 per person on a 6-night cruise to Bermuda onboard MSC Meraviglia, with both voyages departing within 2 months of the search date.

Monitor Wave Season, Black Friday and Other Deal Seasons for Cruises Under $500

While cruise lines are known to roll out deals periodically throughout the year, seasoned cruisers know that the big sale seasons -- like Wave or Black Friday/Cyber Monday -- usually bring the most enticing promotions.

And while not all deals are created equal and you'll see a wide array of offers ranging from cabin upgrades to free onboard credit, you can reasonably expect to see a cruise line or two roll out offers for sharply reduced fares that drop well below the $500.

This year, for instance, MSC Cruises is advertising fares starting at $129 per person as part of its Wave Season promotion. And Costa Cruises' 'Seas the Day' wave promo offers fares starting at $499 per person.

Other cruise lines opt for offering a set percentage off their cruise fares, which can easily translate into prices well below the $500 mark. Royal Caribbean, for instance, is offering a discount of 30% for every passenger (plus kids sail free) as part of their 2023 Wave Season offer Similarly, Princess Cruises' 'Best Sale Ever' Wave Season promotion offers travelers up to a 35% discount on cruise fares.

Beyond special sales events and shopping seasons, a good cruise deal can be found year-round. Check out Cruise Critic's Deals Page for the most up-to-date cruise offers and promotions on any type of cruise.

Related: 13 Tips for Finding Cheap Cruise Deals
Updated February 06, 2023
How was this article?
About UsCruise DestinationsFirst Time CruisersFind A Cruise

International Sites

© 1995—2023, The Independent Traveler, Inc.

  • Privacy and Cookies Statement

  • Terms of Use

  • Site Map