When planning a vacation, there are many good reasons to opt for an all-inclusive cruise — one of the most compelling of which is that no one has to drive. Think about it: you and your co-traveler can both recline with a fancy cocktail — the type with a froo-froo umbrella in it and some sort of plastic bird of paradise hanging off the edge — as someone else carts you from destination to destination. (You may have just caught us sighing at our desks.)
But while the luxury of a cruise may seem like an expensive extravagance, in reality it's one of the easiest ways to take a vacation on a budget. Whether you want to sail across the warm waters of the Bahamas or prefer the crisp waves of Alaska, there are cruise deals that appeal to everyone's personal sensibilities.
Caribbean Cruise Deals: Sun and Fun
Typically, the word 'cruise' connotes warm weather. As such, our tour of discounted cruise vacations begins in the Caribbean. This Norwegian Cruise Line 5-night Caribbean Cruise for two (from $658, a low by $340; expires June 30) stops at George Town, the capital of the Cayman Islands. There you'll find the usual tropical beach activities — like snorkeling, scuba diving, and parasailing — but we particularly like the idea of taking a rum distillery tour. (When in the Caribbean, eh?) Of course, you'll also have several opportunities to soak up culture in the downtown area. After George Town, the cruise makes port in Cozumel, a small island off the coast of Mexico that boasts some of the best scuba diving destinations in the world.
Dip your toes a little deeper into the waters of the Caribbean and instead head to the Bahamas. This iconic island has played host to its fair share of VIPs over the years, including three 007s and the Beatles, who filmed their 1965 film Help! on Cabbage Beach in the capital city of Nassau. Put your own soon-to-be-famous footprints on its beaches with either a Royal Caribbean 3-night Bahamas Cruise for two (from $420, a low by $40; expires June 30) or a Norwegian Cruise Line 4-night Bahamas Cruise for two (from $958, a low by $25; expires June 25), both of which make port at Nassau.
The latter cruise even stops at Freeport on the island of Grand Bahama, as does the Celebration Cruise Line 2-night Bahamas Cruise for two ($199, a low by $159; expires June 18). Freeport is near the Lucaya National Park, the setting for Pirates of the Caribbean II and III, so you can channel your inner Johnny Depp while strolling around (perhaps with rum distillery samples in hand).
Salty Views on Colder Waters
If you're more interested in snowcapped mountains than sandy beaches, then perhaps an Alaskan cruise will entice you to travel up north. Currently there are two week-long options available, so think carefully about what parts of the coast you'd like to spend time visiting. The Princess Cruises 7-night Alaska Cruise for two (from $798, a low by $800; expires June 30) includes stops in Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Glacier Bay National Park, College Fjord, and Anchorage. Meanwhile the Celebrity Cruises 7-night Alaska Cruise for two (from $998, a low by $100; expires June 15) floats by the same first three cities, in addition to Hubbard Glacier, the Icy Strait, the Inside Passage, and Vancouver. Frommers offers an in-depth explanation of the differences between the ports.
If neither option works for your parameters, check out American Express Travel's Princess cruise sale (from $429 per person) for additional options in Alaska. Alternatively, we've got a deal that'll let you take in the sights of the west coast, though further south. The Norwegian Cruise Line 5-night Pacific Coast Cruise for two (from $698, a low by $40; expires June 30) stops in Los Angeles and San Francisco, after departing from Canada.
Set Sail for the Mediterranean
Of course, few vacations can top a cruise across the Mediterranean. In fact, the surrounding countries and cultures seem tailor-made for a languid course from port to port. This Princess Cruises 6-night Mediterranean Cruise for two (from $998, a low by $175; expires June 30) leaves from Rome, giving you an excellent excuse to spend some time in the Italian capital city. You'll then continue on to Naples — which lays claim to inventing pizza — and then Santorini, Kusadasi, and Mykonos in Greece. You'll end your trip in Athens, the birthplace of democracy and one of the oldest named cities in the world. Not too shabby a trip for less than a grand.
We hope we've inspired you to get away from it all and take a cruise vacation, whether it be in the warm Caribbean, the cooler waters of the Pacific and Alaska, or the European wonder that is the Mediterranean. However, if you didn't quite find what you were looking for, then have a look at our weekly roundup of the top travel deals for additional discounted flights, hotels, and vacation packages.
At the time of publication, these travel deals offered the lowest prices we could find. Deals may include blackout dates, additional taxes, and fees. All prices are be based on mandatory double occupancy.