10 Budget Cruises for Summer 2016

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

Summertime cruise bargains—with passage available for as little as $68 per person per night—are tough to pass up. From June through August, major cruise lines are offering a plethora of low-cost sailings to Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and Mexico. While many sailings are aboard older, recently refurbished ships, you’ll also find some surprising discounts for itineraries aboard Norwegian Escape and Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas—two new and sought-after megaships with all the latest amenities. Alternatively, you could go in an entirely different direction and give Fathom Adonia and its voluntourism itineraries to the Dominican Republic a try.—Andrea M. Rotondo

Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Elation

Details: 5-night round-trip out of Jacksonville, Florida

Ports of Call: Half Moon Cay and Nassau, Bahamas and 2 sea days

The highlight of Carnival Elation is the adults-only Serenity sun deck. No matter how many families pack the rest of the ship, you’re assured peace and quiet here. Enjoy the hot tubs and comfy padded loungers.

Embarkation: July 11, 16, 25, Aug. 13, 22; sailings throughout the summer start from $68 to $110 pp / pn

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PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Bahamas Guide

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Breakaway

Details: 7-night round-trip sailings out of New York, New York

Ports of Call: 3 days at the Royal Navy Dockyard in Bermuda and 3 sea days

With a capacity of nearly 4,000 passengers, this is a big ship with plenty of personality. The ship offers 25 dining venues, many of them located on a quarter-mile-long Waterfront promenade with spectacular ocean views. The aqua park has five multistory water slides, and Broadway shows like Rock of Ages are performed each night.

Embarkation: July 10, 17, 24, 31, Aug. 7, 14, 21, 28; sailings throughout the summer start from $100 to $150 pp / pn

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PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Bermuda Guide

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas

Details: 5-night round-trip sailings out of Bayonne, New Jersey

Ports of Call: 2 days at King’s Wharf in Bermuda and 2 sea days

Sailing to Bermuda all summer, Anthem is offering some good deals for suite accommodations. Book one and you’ll benefit from Royal Caribbean’s new Royal Suite Class, which features assistance from your very own Royal Genie who can make dining and shore excursion reservations, take care of your laundry, and more.

Embarkation: July 9, 23, Aug. 6, 20; sailings throughout the summer start from $180 to $230 pp / pn

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PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Bermuda Guide

Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Miracle

Details: 7-night round-trip out of Los Angeles, California

Ports of Call: Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and 3 sea days

The Carnival Miracle is well-liked because 60 percent of its cabins have balconies and even when the ship is fully booked with 2,124 guests, it doesn’t feel crowded. Recent additions of the RedFrog Pub and Alchemy Bar are popular with passengers.

Embarkation: July 23, Aug. 13; sailings throughout the summer start from $114 to $142 pp / pn

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PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Mexico Guide

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas

Details: 7-nights round-trip out of Galveston, Texas

Ports of Call: Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Falmouth, Jamaica; and 3 sea days

Earlier this year Liberty of the Seas went through a complete bow to stern renovation that included the installation of the Perfect Storm, a trio of water slides designed for adrenaline junkies. Splashaway Bay, a kid’s water park, is also new to the ship as are specialty restaurants Sabor Modern Mexican and Giovanni’s Table.

Embarkation: July 10, 24, Aug. 7, 21; sailings throughout the summer start from $90 to $136 pp / pn

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PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Mexico Guide

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Escape

Details: 7-night round-trip out of Miami, Florida

Ports of Call: St. Thomas, USVI; Tortola, BVI; Nassau, Bahamas; and 3 sea days

It’s rare to find a new vessel like Escape—the largest ship in Norwegian’s fleet—offering such low-priced voyages, so take advantage while you can. Foodies love this ship for its 11 contemporary restaurants as well as specialty dining venues like Bayamo, featuring Latin seafood from James Beard award-winning Iron Chef Jose Garces.

Embarkation: July 2, 9, 16; sailings throughout the summer start from $86 to $114 pp / pn

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PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Caribbean Guide

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas

Details: 5-night round-trip out of Miami, Florida

Ports of Call: Grand Cayman, Key West, and 2 sea days

After a recent $50-million revitalization, Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas now sails out of Miami, offering well-priced four- and five-night getaways to Nassau, Bahamas; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands; and Key West, Florida. Don’t miss the ship’s new pools and whirlpools and its famous rock-climbing wall.

Embarkation: July 4, 9, 18, 23; sailings throughout the summer start at $78 pp / pn

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PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Caribbean Guide

Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Ecstacy

Details: 5-night round-trip out of Charleston, South Carolina

Ports of Call: Nassau and Freeport, Bahamas and 2 sea days

Ecstasy is one of the oldest ships in Carnival’s fleet, so it doesn’t quite have the panache of newer vessels. However, recent upgrades make it a good budget option for summertime cruisers. There’s only one pool and no extra-fee specialty restaurants, but you will find the popular Mongolian Rotisserie Grill onboard.

Embarkation: July 4, 23, Aug. 1, 15, 29; sailings throughout the summer start from $79 to $124 pp / pn

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PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Bahamas Guide

Fathom

Fathom Adonia

Details: 7-night round-trip out of Miami, Florida

Ports of Call: 3.5 days at Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and 2 sea days

Fathom is all about “impact travel”—travel with a purpose. While on the ground in the Dominican Republic you’ll volunteer alongside locals to help with paper recycling, pick coffee beans, or plant trees. One day of your cruise is reserved for fun at Amber Cove with snorkeling, swimming, and zip lining.

Embarkation: July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, Aug. 7, 14, 21, 28; sailings throughout the summer start from $72 pp / pn

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PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Caribbean Guide

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Summit

Details: 7-night round-trip sailings out of Bayonne, New Jersey

Ports of Call: 3 days at King’s Wharf in Bermuda and 3 sea days

Celebrity Summit is in great shape after renovations earlier this year. New to the ship is the Rooftop Terrace, which evokes the same backyard feel as the Lawn Club aboard Solstice-class ships. Suites have been updated and the restaurant has been converted to Celebrity’s popular Tuscan Grille Italian restaurant.

Embarkation: July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, Aug. 7, 14, 21, 28; sailings throughout the summer start from $99 to $150 pp / pn

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PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Bermuda Guide

Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Dream

Details: 7-night round-trip out of New Orleans, Louisiana

Ports of Call: Cozumel, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; Roatan, Honduras and 3 sea days

If your family is looking for the ultimate vacation this summer, Carnival Dream fits the bill. The ship’s accommodations are designed for families—even families of five. There are two pools, 10 whirlpools, Camp Carnival kids club, a water park, outdoor movies, and more.

Embarkation: July 10, 17, Aug. 7, 14; sailings throughout the summer start from $77 to $113 pp / pn

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PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Mexico Guide

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas

Details: 4-night round-trip out of Port Canaveral, Florida

Ports of Call: Nassau and Coco Cay, Bahamas and 1 sea day

If you haven’t sailed Majesty of the Seas in a while you may be surprised to find some new family-friendly features like a new poolside movie screen and Splashaway Bay, a fun interactive aqua park rife with water slides, water cannons, a drenching bucket, and jungle gym.

Embarkation: July 4, 11, 18, 25, Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; sailings throughout the summer start from $69 to $139 pp / pn

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PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Bahamas Guide