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8 Last-Minute Winter Cruises Under $1,000

Set sail without breaking the bank this winter.

U.S. News & World Report

8 Last-Minute Winter Cruises Under $1,000

Couple holding hands on a cruise

Couple holding hands on a cruise(Getty Images)

With the holidays fast approaching, you may are already thinking about a quick getaway. Of course, traveling at last-minute is typically expensive, but fortunately there are still plenty of cruise deals out there that allow you to plan a trip on a whim without busting your budget. U.S. News went in search of some of the most wallet-friendly cruise bargains this winter that allow you to set sail for less than $1,000, including all taxes and fees (and based on double occupancy). Here are eight excellent cruise vacation ideas for procrastinators.

A Royal Caribbean Cruise from Miami

Miami offers plenty of cheap cruise fares at any time of year, but it's hard to match Royal Caribbean International's five-night cruise aboard the Empress of the Seas. With rates starting at $723 for the sailing departing on Jan. 7, 2017, Royal Caribbean offers price-conscious cruisers the opportunity to escape the winter doldrums for warmer weather. What's more, the Empress of the Seas is one of the cruise line's smaller ships, and offers a more intimate feeling than today's modern megaships. Ports of call on the itinerary include Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico.

A Carnival Cruise from Long Beach, California

Budget-minded travelers looking for a West Coast getaway are in luck. Carnival Cruise Lines is offering a trip departing on Jan. 9, 2017, from Long Beach for just $652 with all taxes and fees included. The four-day trip aboard the Carnival Inspiration doesn't go far, with stops in nearby Catalina Island in California and Ensenada, Mexico. Still, for just over $650, you can pull off a fun spur-of-the-moment getaway without worrying about pinching pennies after the holidays.

A Norwegian Cruise Line Sailing from Miami

Norwegian Cruise Line is offering a five-night trip departing on Jan. 15, 2017, from Miami for just $721 per couple. And thanks to a special deal Norwegian is running, this fare includes your choice of a free open bar, 250 minutes of complimentary Wi-Fi or an extra stateroom guest. The itinerary aboard the line's Norwegian Pearl includes stops in Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Key West, Florida.

A Carnival Cruise from Galveston, Texas

If you have some flexibility in your travel dates, consider cruising aboard the Carnival Valor on Jan. 23, 2017. If you are one of the 20 million people that live within a few hours' drive of Galveston, you won't have to splurge on airfare to get to the port. Plus, every itinerary during January is offering rates in under $1,000 per couple in an interior cabin. The voyage departing on Jan. 23 costs just $736 for two passengers, with all taxes and fees included, and the itinerary includes stops in Progreso and Cozumel, Mexico, with two days at sea to enjoy the ship.

A Norwegian Cruise Line Voyage from Miami

If you don't have the time to take a weeklong trip, then this shorter voyage may just fit the bill. This four-night cruise aboard the Norwegian Pearl departs on Jan. 25, 2017 from Miami. The itinerary includes a stop in Cozumel, with a day at sea each way between Miami and Mexico. Rates for an interior cabin start at $564 for two people. And if you want to upgrade to an ocean-facing stateroom, you can spring a balcony cabin and still pay just $1,004 for the entire trip.

A Carnival Cruise from New Orleans

If you can't make it to Florida's popular departure ports in Fort Lauderdale, Miami or Tampa, consider starting a cruise from the Big Easy. The Port of New Orleans has grown to see more than 1 million passengers sail annually from its port, making it one of the most popular cruise ports outside of Florida. Starting on Jan. 26, 2017, this four-day voyage to Cozumel aboard the Carnival Triumph is offering interior cabins starting at $613.

A Carnival Cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Sailing from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Carnival offers a six-night trip aboard the Carnival Conquest, departing on Jan. 29. The cruise costs just $976 for two people in an interior cabin, including all taxes and port fees. The itinerary includes stops in Key West, Grand Cayman and Cozumel before returning to Fort Lauderdale.

A Carnival Cruise from Miami

For $648, you and a travel companion can set sail for Mexico aboard the Carnival Victory on Jan. 30, 2017. The trip is scheduled for four days, and includes two stops. The first port of call is Key West, followed by a stop in Cozumel. What's more, since this itinerary costs less than $1,000 (for interior cabins), you can upgrade to a balcony room for $898, including all taxes and fees. And if you need more flexibility in your travel dates, there are several trips leaving in January that offer the same itinerary for a little more dough.

About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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