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10 Cruises for the Budget-Conscious Family

by Donna Heiderstadt | July 05, 2018

A seven-night Caribbean cruise for under $1,400—not for one person but for a family of four? Yes! And a balcony cabin for just $300 more? Duh. Those are the kind of prices being promoted as cruise lines look to fill ships from late August through mid-September 2018 when kids are returning to school and hurricane season traditionally puts a dent in bookings. If the timing seems too last-minute or risky for you, booking far in advance can grab you a bargain, too—as in under $1,100 for four people for a week in the Caribbean or under $1,900 for seven nights in Alaska in 2019. Want to know more? Read on for 10 cruises for the budget-conscious family.

7-Night Caribbean Cruise from Miami on Norwegian Getaway

What would you say to booking a one-week cruise for two adults and two children for under $1,400 (total for everyone, before taxes and port charges)? Yes, it’s an inside cabin, but if you play around with late August and mid-September dates you could get a balcony cabin that sleeps four comfortably for under $1,700. Norwegian Getaway is a 3,963-passenger ship that has great amenities for both adults and kids and the itinerary calls on Costa Maya, Mexico; Harvest Caye, Belize; and the island of Roatan off the coast of Honduras.

7-Night Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral on Oasis of the Seas

If you and your kids are fans of Royal Caribbean’s family-friendly Oasis-class ships, the vessel that started it all, the 5,484-passenger Oasis of the Seas, has some pretty good deals on seven-night cruises from Port Canaveral from late August through late September—as in a balcony cabin sleeping four for $1,976 total. That’s for a cruise from Port Canaveral to Cozumel, Mexico; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Labadee, Haiti (Royal Caribbean’s private island).

6-Night Caribbean Cruise from Miami on Carnival Horizon

Carnival’s newest family-friendly ship moves from New York to Miami in late September for a winter of fun in the sun. Book now for sailings from October to mid-December 2018 and you can score fares as low as $339 per person for an inside cabin and $426 for a balcony, based on two adults and two kids sharing (that’s just $1,356 to $1,704 total). There’s lots of great free activities and food onboard the 3,960-passenger Carnival Horizon (including a new Dr. Seuss WaterWorks splash park and slides) and the ship calls on Cozumel, Mexico; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Georgetown, Grand Cayman.

7-Night Alaska Cruise from Seattle on Norwegian Peal

Alaska cruises are great for family adventure, but bargain fares tend to book up more than a year out. If you can easily get your family to Seattle, consider a seven-night cruise in late mid-May or late September 2019 in an ocean view cabin (sleeping four) aboard the 2,394-passenger Norwegian Pearl, starting at $474 per person (or $1,896 total). You’ll call on Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan as well as Victoria, BC.

7-Night Caribbean Cruise from Miami on MSC Seaside

Book now to score a fare of just $254 per person (or $1,016 total) for a seven-night cruise in late November or early December 2019 from Miami to Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico aboard the family-friendly, 4,140-passenger MSC Seaside. Yes, the savings are for an inside cabin, but that will give you bonus cash to book excursions, hit the arcade or casino and relax with an extra mojito or two.

5-Night Mexico Cruise from Los Angeles on Royal Princess

Live within driving distance of Los Angeles and looking to relax with your two tween, teen or young adult kids or get away with your siblings and their kids? Starting at $379 per person, you can book an inside cabin on 3,600-passenger Royal Princess and overnight in Los Cabos, Mexico and two days at sea—but you’ll have to book now and wait until September through December 2019 and beyond to cruise.

7-Night Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale on Nieuw Amsterdam

If you’re looking to get together with your siblings and their kids between Thanksgiving and Christmas—a double-holiday celebration at sea—Holland America Line is offering its December 2, 2018 sailing on the 2,106-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam for a steal. Departing from Fort Lauderdale, it stops in Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas—a great itinerary for sun-loving families. Sleep four to a cabin and pay as little as $288 per person for inside, $289 for ocean view, and $330 for a balcony­­—or $1,152 to $1,320 total. If adults want a cabin to themselves while the kids share, prices for double occupancy start at $449 per person.

5-Night Bermuda Cruise from Cape Liberty on Anthem of the Seas

Bermuda is beautiful and close but food and lodging are expensive—so a cruise for as little as $506 per person for a family of four sharing an inside cabin (and just $55 more per person for a balcony cabin) is a good deal. Departing from Cape Liberty, NJ in September or October, you’ll spend two full days on Bermuda and two days at sea. Better still, the cruise is aboard Royal Caribbean’s 4,180-passenger Anthem of the Seas, which has tons of family-friendly amenities and entertainment.

7-Night Caribbean Cruise from Galveston on Carnival Vista

If your kids love burgers, pizza, tacos, soft-serve ice cream, and Dr. Seuss, it’s all aboard the 3,934-passenger Carnival Vista, which has fares as low as $367 per person (or $1,468 for a family of four in an inside cabin) for a seven-night cruise from Galveston bookable for September through December and beyond. The ship calls on Cozumel, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; and Roatan, Honduras.

5-Night Canada/New England Cruise from New York on Regal Princess

Don’t mind the cooler weather and want to share the autumnal wonders of Canada’s Eastern Provinces with your significant other—minus the kids? Get the grandparents to babysit and book this five-night itinerary aboard the 3,600-passenger Regal Princess. Departing New York on October 27, 2018 (or October 26, 2019), you’ll visit St. John, New Brunswick and Halifax Nova Scotia, with inside cabins starting at $599 per person and balcony fares at $659.

Donna Heiderstadt

Donna Heiderstadt is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Coastal Living and Islands.

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