A WARM-UP EXERCISE
With one winter storm after another pummeling much of the country, a cruise to a sun-drenched tropical destination may provide just the relief needed this time of year. While countless snow-weary souls are likely contemplating the same escape right now, that doesn't mean you need to pay a fortune to experience a sunny winter cruise. Here to inspire you are more than 20 budget-friendly options for $100 per night or less.
Prices and availability are subject to change.
PRINCESS CRUISES: HAWAII
Departure: Jan. 3
Starting Price: $944 ($63 per night)
Want to kick-off 2019 in style with a cruise to Hawaii? Princess Cruises is offering a very price-friendly option early in the year. The itinerary includes Honolulu, Nawiliwili, Lahaina, Hilo, and a stop in Mexico on the way home to Los Angeles, as well as nine days at sea.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN: WESTERN CARIBBEAN
Departure: Jan. 5
Starting Price: $282 (About $56 per night)
Departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas will visit the Mexican ports of Cozumel (a place Jacques Cousteau declared one of the most beautiful areas in the world for scuba diving) and Costa Maya. There will also be two days at sea as part of this five-night cruise. In 2016, the Majesty of the Seas underwent a makeover from bow to stern and now includes a new Splashaway Bay aqua park, poolside movie screen and reimagined Casino Royale. Many of its venues and bars have also been updated.
HOLLAND AMERICA LINE: EASTERN CARIBBEAN
Departure: Jan. 6
Starting Price: $431 (About $62 per night)
This appealing itinerary takes cruisers from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to some of the region's most favored ports including Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Half Moon Cay. Also, notable, this cruise will take place aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam, the newest ship in the Holland America line. Amenities include two outdoor swimming pools, an expanded Greenhouse Spa and Salon, and youth facilities including a teens-only space.
HOLLAND AMERICA: MEXICAN RIVIERA
Departure: Jan. 6
Starting Price: $464 (About $64 per night)
Cabo San Lucas is one of Mexico's hottest destinations right now. Holland America will take cruisers to the popular port, as well as to Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. There will also be three days at sea on this cruise, which departs from San Diego, a bonus in itself for warm weather seekers.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN: EASTERN CARIBBEAN (BAHAMAS)
Departure: Jan. 9
Starting Price: $293 (About $73 per night)
Snagging this cruise deal requires flying first to Puerto Rico to depart from San Juan. A one-way sailing, the Jewel of the Seas will take passengers from Puerto Rico's capital to Miami, stopping in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, for one day, as well as Nassau, Bahamas, and providing one day at sea. The day in Punta Cana can be spent exploring 19 miles of beaches, zip-lining, windsurfing, kayaking, and more.
Departure: Jan. 10
Starting Price: $214 (About $66 per night)
A quick, warm-weather escape, the Carnival Liberty will sail from Port Canaveral, Florida, to the Bahamas, spending a day in port in Nassau, where visitors can explore Parliament Square, which dates back to the early 1800s. The three-night itinerary also includes one day at sea to relax poolside. The Carnival Liberty offers a variety of amenities and entertainment including water slides, a comedy club, an adults-only Serenity Retreat, and a casino.
CARNIVAL: WESTERN CARIBBEAN
Departure: Jan. 10
Starting Price: $259 (About $65 per night)
Want to kick off 2019 with a budget-friendly, sunny escape? There are plenty of January options. The Carnival Paradise, for instance, will sail from Tampa, Florida, to Cozumel, Mexico, on the gorgeous Yucatan Coast. This value itinerary also includes two days at sea. A ship that debuted in 1998, the Carnival Paradise includes a Twister waterslide, mini golf, and Playlist Production theater shows.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN: KEY WEST, CIENFUEGOS, CAYMAN
Departure: Jan. 21
Starting Price: $453 (About $76 per night)
An intriguing itinerary from Royal Caribbean, the Empress of the Seas will take cruisers to Key West, Florida, and then on to Cienfuegos, Cuba (one of the prettiest parts of the island) and then to George Town, Grand Cayman. There will also be two days at sea as part of this six-night itinerary.
HOLLAND AMERICA: AUTHENTIC CUBA
Departure: Jan. 25
Starting Price: $701 (About $70 per night)
Though this cruise is named Authentic Cuba, the title is slightly misleading. The 10-night itinerary includes far more than one island. The MS Veendam will visit Cozumel, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; Mahogany Bay, Roatan; Cienfuegos, Cuba; and finally Falmouth, Jamaica, before returning to its departure port of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
CARNIVAL: SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN
Departure: Feb. 2
Starting Price: $599 (About $75 per night)
Grand Turk Island in the Turks and Caicos; Willemstad, Curacao; and Oranjestad, Aruba are some of the highlights of this eight-night Southern Caribbean sailing, which also offers a luxurious three days of relaxing at sea and one day at the cruise line's private island Princess Cays, which features a coral reef and lagoon.
CARNIVAL: EASTERN CARIBBEAN
Departure: Feb. 2
Starting Price: $349 (About $70 per night)
Eastern Caribbean itineraries are somewhat rarer than western and southern sailings. This trip from Miami visits Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, and Grand Turk Island in the Turks and Caicos. Carnival's Puerto Plata (also known as Amber Cove) is a unique port that was originally developed by the cruise line so passengers could participate in volunteer opportunities in the region. Visitors can still take part in shore excursions focused on social good, such as touring a women's cooperative that makes chocolate or a recycled paper and crafts start-up.
CARNIVAL: WESTERN CARIBBEAN
Departure: Feb. 3
Starting Price: $504 ($72 per night)
The Caribbean is ripe with bargains in February for those willing to do their research and book early. Another example is Carnival's western Caribbean trip aboard the Carnival Dream departing from New Orleans. The cruise will carry passengers to Montego Bay, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. There are also three days at sea as part of this noteworthy itinerary.
Departure: Feb. 10
Starting Price: $339 ($68 per night)
Just in time for Valentine's Day and offering the alternative departure point of Charleston, South Carolina, the Carnival Ecstasy will sail for the Bahamas. The ship will visit the cruise line's private island of Princess Cays (known for its coral reef and lagoon) as well as Nassau, Bahamas. And don't miss spending a little time in Charleston before or after the cruise. It's a city full of its own historic charms.
PRINCESS CRUISES: MEXICAN RIVIERA
Departure: Feb. 11
Starting Price: $698 (About $70 per night)
Princess Cruises will offer its own version of the Mexican Riviera getaway, departing from San Francisco and taking travelers to Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, and Cabo before turning for home. The 10-night cruise also includes five days at sea to enjoy the newly enhanced Grand Princess. Signature offerings include Movies Under the Stars, an Italian-inspired Piazza, and The Sanctuary.
MSC CRUISES: CUBA
Departure: Feb. 25
Starting Price: $484 (About $69 per night)
There are very few cruises to Cuba left this February that start at less than $100 per night, making this MSC offering a hot ticket. A seven-night itinerary departing from Miami, the MSC Armonia will spend two days in port in Havana (many cruise itineraries often only include one day). Additional port visits will include Montego Bay, Jamaica, and George Town, Grand Cayman.
CARNIVAL: PANAMA CANAL
Departure: Feb. 28
Starting Price: $629 ($70 per night)
A rare round-trip Panama Canal journey from the United States, the Carnival Valor will sail from Galveston, Texas, and do a partial transit of the canal, as well as stop in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; and Cozumel, Mexico. Five days at sea are also part of this itinerary.
CARNIVAL: SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN
Departure: March 2
Starting Price: $609 (About $76 per night)
One last budget-friendly cruise before spring break officially arrives for those who can't get enough of the Caribbean. Carnival's Conquest will take in Princess Cays; Grand Turk Island, Turks & Caicos; Oranjestad, Aruba and Willemstad, Curacao, on an eight-night sailing. A ship inspired by the great Impressionist painters of the 19th century, the Carnival Conquest includes a Toulouse-Lautrec Lounge, a Sunflower Atrium, and a jazz bar named after Vincent Van Gogh. There's also a 15,000-square-foot health and fitness facility, and 22 bars and lounges.
HOLLAND AMERICA: PANAMA CANAL
Departure: March 4
Starting Price: $1,079 (About $72 per night)
Rather than paying for a flight from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, you could take this unique, one-way winter cruise, which brings passengers through the Panama Canal and stops in a variety of sunny destinations. Ports include Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Puerto Chiapas, Mexico; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua; and Puerto Caldera in Costa Rica. After the Panama Canal transit, there will also be a visit to Cartagena, Colombia, one of the region's up and coming destinations.
PRINCESS CRUISES: SOUTH AMERICA COASTAL
Departure: March 7
Starting Price: $994 (About $62 a night)
West Coast travelers can also experience South America without breaking the bank. The Royal Princess will travel from Santiago, Chile, to Los Angeles and will pull into numerous ports during its 16-night itinerary including La Serena, Chile; Pisco, Peru; Lima, Peru; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; and San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua. This getaway also includes eight days at sea.
NORWEGIAN: MEXICAN RIVIERA
Departure: March 9
Starting Price: $449 (About $64 per night)
Escape from March's blustery weather on this seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise departing from Los Angeles. The Norwegian Star will take passengers to the popular ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. The trip also includes three days at sea.
NORWEGIAN: SOUTH AMERICA EXPLORER
Departure: March 16
Starting Price: $899 (About $56 per night)
For those looking to travel a little further than the Caribbean, come March, cruises in South America start to drop in price slightly from their January and February peak. Travelers will have to fly to Santiago, Chile, to catch this Norwegian cruise that will take travelers back to Miami at the end of the itinerary. In between those two points there will be stops in numerous colorful and intriguing ports, including La Serena, Chile; Arica, Chile; Lima, Peru; Trujillo, Peru; Manta, Ecuador; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; and a full transit of the Panama Canal. In the last port visit before pulling into Miami, the ship will spend a day in Cartagena, Colombia.
MSC: CUBA AND ANTILLES
Departure: March 25
Starting Price: $389 ($49 per night)
This intriguing getaway will allow cruisers to spend two days in Havana, Cuba, and will also pull into such ports as Roatan in Honduras, and Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico.