Carnival cruise ship, Nassau, Bahamas
Carnival cruise to Nassau/iStock

Cheap cruises aren’t hard to find; the real trick is finding one that’s worth the money. Trust us, you don’t want to snap up a $200 cruise only to find you’re on an old ship, bound for a not-so-exciting itinerary. We found five amazing cruises — all under $500 — that are full of value, so you can stop worrying about your wallet and focus on sticking your toes in the sand.

1. 6-night Western Caribbean on Carnival Vista
Why It’s Great: This ship is the newest from Carnival and has the line’s latest features, including an IMAX theater, sky-high pedaling track, and even its own brewery. Plus, there’s plenty of sun and sand on the itinerary, which leaves round trip from Miami and stops at Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.
Price: From $444 per person for an inside cabin (a steal, since prices for the same cabin reach $934 in June). Upgrade to an ocean view for $554.
Sail Date: Oct 29
To Book: Click here.


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2. 7-night Inside Passage Alaska on Eurodam
Why it’s Great: Good things come to those who wait until the last minute: it’s prime season in Alaska, and you can’t choose a more expert line to go with than Holland America. This sophisticated ship has the line’s most recent entertainment upgrades, including live music venues that partner with Lincoln Center and Billboard.
Price: From $499 per person for an ocean view stateroom (usually more than $700 per person on this line).
Sail Date: May 13, May 20
To Book: Click here.


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3. 7-night Western Caribbean on MSC Divina
Why It’s Great: This cruise is 50 percent off, thanks to MSC’s latest 2-for-1 deal. And, the ship is one of the line’s newest, having launched just five years ago. It has everything from an Eataly steakhouse to cool aqua cycling classes. Oh, and kids cruise free.
Price: From $499 per person (originally $998 per person) for an ocean view stateroom.
Sail Date: September 2
To Book: Click here.

4. 3-night Bahamas on Norwegian Sky
Why It’s Great: There’s a free, open bar on this cruise — something usually reserved for expensive all-inclusive luxury ships. Plus, the short and sweet itinerary (you’ll stop at both Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay) is ideal for a quick getaway without eating up all your vacation time.
Price: From $399 per person for an ocean view cabin.
Sail Date: June 9
To Book: Click here.

5. 5-night Cuba on Empress of the Seas
Why It’s Great: This is a hot itinerary, and one that usually costs around $700. But since Royal Caribbean is offering 30 percent off each guest if you book before the end of May, your total comes down to under $500. The 1,602-passenger ship just had a $50 million makeover in 2016, and though it may not have all the bells and whistles of its newer Royal Caribbean fleetmates, its manageable size means you won’t have to stand in line with 6,000 fellow passengers like you would on the line’s largest ship.
Price: From $415 per person for an inside cabin or $493 per person for an ocean view stateroom.
Sail Date: November 12
To Book: Click here.

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