Sail Away: 12 Spring Cruise Bargains

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SPRING FOR A CRUISE

Spring can be a tricky time when it comes to scoring a cruise deal. Prices rise throughout the season in response to higher demand and spike even higher the spring break weeks before and after Easter. Vacationers hoping to find a bargain cruise should opt for early spring, when sailings tend to be cheaper than identical cruises in May or June. Price alerts from cruise-focused websites can help snag last-minute deals. Cheapism.com turned to experts at Cruiseline.com, Cruzely, and Priceline to identify some of the best bargain cruises of the season, most well under $100 per person per night. Unless otherwise indicated, prices quoted are from late January and based on double occupancy for an interior cabin (before taxes and fees).

Related: 11 Ways to Go On a Disney Cruise for Less
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BERMUDA: NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY

Departing New York on April 23, a seven-night cruise aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's Breakaway brings travelers to the island of Bermuda. Known for its pink-sand beaches and charming blend of British and American culture, the locale has been voted "Best Island in the Caribbean/Atlantic" 18 times since 1994 by Condé Nast Traveler readers. The ship spends three days in port and three days at sea.
Starting price: $549 a person (about $78 a night)

Related: 50 Affordable Vacations to Add to Your Bucket List
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WESTERN CARIBBEAN: CELEBRITY REFLECTION

Celebrity Cruises' March 25 voyage from Miami aboard the Reflection takes travelers to Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Falmouth, Jamaica; and the private cruise line island of Labadee. Port highlights during the seven-night getaway include Cozumel, a place Jacques Cousteau declared one of the most beautiful areas in the world for scuba diving, and Grand Cayman, with its white-sand beaches and plethora of duty-free shops.
Starting price: $649 a person (about $93 a night)
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ALASKA: NORWEGIAN JEWEL

For an alternative to all things Caribbean, aim for Alaska. An eight-night cruise aboard the Norwegian Jewel departs from Vancouver, British Columbia, on May 5 and ends in Seattle nine days hence. Among the Alaskan highlights are a daytime sail past the Sawyer Glacier and visits to the gold rush town of Skagway and Icy Strait Point, where vacationers can experience the longest zip line in the world. The itinerary also includes stops in Juneau and Ketchikan.
Starting price: $749 a person (about $94 a night)
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SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN: CARNIVAL FASCINATION

Mix up the typical Caribbean itinerary by leaving from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and adding a few less common ports of call. A seven-night vacation beginning April 30 aboard Carnival Cruise Line's Fascination also ferries passengers to Barbados, an island known for its botanical gardens, 17th-century plantation houses, limestone caverns, and beaches. St. Lucia offers volcanic beaches, reef-diving sites, and fishing villages. And for one last variation on the tropical island theme, St. Kitts boasts rainforested mountains and beaches of white, gray, and black sand.
Starting price: $464 a person (about $66 a night)
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WESTERN CARIBBEAN: CARNIVAL VICTORY

A four-night sailing of the Carnival Victory departing from Miami on Feb. 6 visits Key West and Cozumel. In addition to scuba diving, Cozumel offers travelers a chance to explore Mayan ruins, swim with dolphins, or bounce though adventure jeep rides. Key West is known for spectacular sunsets and mangrove tours.
Starting price: $274 a person (about $69 a night)

Related: The Best of Florida on a Budget
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CARIBBEAN AND ANTILLES: MSC DIVINA

How about spending seven nights sailing among St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas? Highlights of the MSC Cruises itinerary aboard the Divina include the Dutch port of Philipsburg, where cruisers can explore the historic city by bike, visit a butterfly farm, go snorkeling, and more. The stop in Puerto Rico offers a chance to walk through Old San Juan, with its cobblestone streets and Spanish colonial architecture. The cruise departs Miami on March 18.
Starting price: $500 a person (about $72 a night) for an ocean view; interior cabins are sold out.
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WESTERN CARIBBEAN: CARNIVAL FANTASY

Mobile, Alabama, may not spring to mind for Caribbean cruises, but that's the jumping-off point for a five-day getaway aboard the Carnival Fantasy. While visiting the Yucatán (Progreso), vacationers can snorkel in sacred caverns, visit Mayan villages, and explore Mayan ruins. In Cozumel, they can ogle the underwater marvels. The itinerary includes two restful days at sea.
Starting price: $309 a person (about $62 a night)
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BAHAMAS AND FLORIDA: NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY

Escape New York's cold early spring on a seven-night cruise leaving the Big Apple on March 19. The first stop on the Norwegian Breakaway is Orlando, Florida, home to Disney World and other theme parks. That's followed by Great Stirrup Cay, a private island owned by the cruise line, and then Nassau, Bahamas, before two days at sea on the way home. Free extra stateroom guests are an added perk on this budget trip.
Starting price: $549 a person (about $79 a night)
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BAJA MEXICO: CARNIVAL IMAGINATION

For a short Mexico getaway, Carnival offers a four-night itinerary aboard the Imagination departing on May 7 from Long Beach, a port town just south of Los Angeles. The ship's first stop is Catalina Island, developed into a tourist destination in the 1920s by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. The second and final port of call is Ensenada, Mexico, the third-largest city in the Baja region.
Starting price: $269 a person (about $67 a night)
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EASTERN CARIBBEAN: MSC DIVINA

Yet another variation on a Caribbean cruise is MSC's seven-night trip from Miami, scheduled to depart May 13, aboard the Divina. The itinerary includes stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Grand Turk Island; and Nassau. Grand Turk Island, originally settled in 1681, is the largest island in Turks and Caicos and known for excellent diving and snorkeling as well as several beautiful beaches.
Starting price: $349 a person (about $50 a night) for an inside cabin.
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BERMUDA AND BAHAMAS: ROYAL CARIBBEAN GRANDEUR OF THE SEAS

Royal Caribbean combines Bermuda and the Bahamas on its May 18 sailing from Baltimore. The Grandeur of the Seas spends three days at sea and calls in King's Wharf, Bermuda; Nassau, Bahamas; and CocoCay, the cruise line's private island. This nine-night cruise is longer than most budget sailings, but prices are in the same ballpark.
Starting price: $749 a person (about $83 a night)
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WESTERN CARIBBEAN: CARNIVAL TRIUMPH

Another lesser-known departure point for cruise ships, New Orleans is home port for the Carnival Triumph. This five-night voyage, beginning April 29, heads to the largely undeveloped island of Cozumel, where vacationers can visit an eco-park featuring underwater caverns, dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles. One of the main attractions at the next stop in Yucatán (Progreso) is the famed ruins of Chichen Itza.
Starting price: $309 a person (about $62 a night)