Is a budget-friendly cruise on your 2018 agenda? Despite the hurricanes that hit some areas this past year, it's "full steam ahead" for the 2018 season. Sailing during the so-called "shoulder months" can save a lot of cash. That means avoiding the Caribbean from June through August, when there will be a significant spike in prices due to summer break, according to experts at Cruiseline. Think May and September for destinations such as Alaska, and April, May, and October for Europe.
Departure: April 29 Starting price: $680 (about $97 a night)
Another western Caribbean itinerary, this Royal Caribbean voyage includes seven nights of sailing to ports such as Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; and Falmouth, Jamaica. This ship, the Liberty of the Seas, is known for its amazing amenities and many activities. The cruise departs from Galveston, Texas.
Departure: May 5 Starting price: $549 (about $78 a night)
MSC is offering a seven-night trip that departs from Miami. The itinerary for MSC's journey includes Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; and finally Nassau, Bahamas, before returning to Miami. The ship features a massive water park with five slides
Departure: Sept. 30 Starting price: $576 (about $82 a night)
Are you sensing a trend here? Some of the most affordable cruises in 2018 are those headed to the western Caribbean. This seven-night sailing includes Labadee, Haiti; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Cozumel, Mexico. It departs from Port Canaveral, Florida.
Departure: Nov. 25 Starting price: $219 (about $55 a night)
This quickie four-night getaway will take cruisers to Carnival's private island of Princess Cays and then on to Freeport on Grand Bahama Island. The ship departs from Port Canaveral, Florida, and offers a Serenity Adult Only Retreat and specialized kids programming with Seuss at Sea.
Departure: May 10 Starting price: $579 (about $64 a night)
A unique, nine-night, round-trip offering, this cruise starts in Baltimore, Maryland, and takes guests to Boston, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; Bar Harbor, Maine; St. John, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, before returning home.
Departure: Dec. 1, 2018 Starting price: $798 (about $66 a night)
Want to spend even more time sailing the Caribbean? Royal Caribbean is offering a 12-night option that includes stops in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands; St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda; Castries, St. Lucia; Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis; and finally Philipsburg, Netherlands Antilles. That's a lot of Caribbean cruising.
Departure: May 24 Starting price: $870 (about $97 a night)
One of the lesser-seen itineraries on this budget list, Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas will sail from Baltimore, Maryland, to Bermuda on May 24. The nine-day sailing pulls into King's Wharf, Bermuda; Nassau, Bahamas; and also Coco Cay Bahamas.
Departure: April 21 Starting price: $449 (about $35 a night)
If you're looking for an inexpensive and relaxing way to get to Europe this spring, it's hard to beat the price of this 13-night transatlantic offering from Norwegian. The voyage leaves from Miami, Florida, and will visit Ponta Delgada, Portugal; Brest, France; Portland Harbour, U.K.; Le Havre, France, and end in Southampton, U.K.
Departure: July 8 Starting price: $594 (about $85 a night)
Another opportunity to support Puerto Rico's struggling tourism industry, Carnival's seven-night sailing begins and ends in San Juan. In between, there are stops in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Dominica; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; Basseterre, St. Kitts; and finally Philipsburg, St. Maarten.
Departure: Oct. 27 Starting price: $459 (about $66 a night)
Spend seven nights with MSC visiting ports such as Philipsburg, St. Maarten; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Nassau, Bahamas, on this cruise that begins and ends in Miami, Florida. The itinerary also includes three days at sea to explore the ship, MSC Seaside. Amenities onboard include nine restaurants, 20 bars and lounges, a waterfront promenade and the Forest AquaVenture and Adventure Park.
Departure: Dec. 2, 2018 Starting price: $419 (about $60 a night)
With this western Caribbean option -- as that appears to be where the majority of the bargains are in 2018 -- Carnival will sail from New Orleans for a seven-night trip. From there, it's off to Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan and Bay Islands, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and finally Costa Maya, Mexico, before returning home.
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Folks who aren't picky about the ports or ship can enjoy big savings. Cheapism asked Cruiseline and Expedia CruiseShipCenters to identify the top cruises of 2018 that cost less than $100 per night. (Note: Prices and availability are subject to change.)