Slideshow: Best Cruise Lines for the Money

By Miriam B. Weiner, Staff WriterMarch 19, 2014
By Miriam B. Weiner, Staff WriterMarch 19, 2014, at 11:22 a.m.
U.S. News & World Report

Slideshow: Best Cruise Lines for the Money

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With lodging, dining and entertainment all mashed together into one price, a cruise makes a great choice for the budget-minded vacationer. Add to that the included experience of exploring not just one, but several destinations and it's easy to see why so many travelers opt for a holiday at sea over a holiday on land. But while some of the prices you see advertised may seem too good to be true, how can you be sure you're going to make the most of your vacation budget? To ensure you get the best rate on your next cruise, start by searching itineraries on U.S. News' Best Cruise Lines for the Money.
9. Costa Cruises

9. Costa Cruises

Although you'll likely have to pay more to get to your departure port than you would on other Carnival-affiliated lines, Europe-based Costa Cruises appeals to travelers with its extremely affordable rates. While sailing through Norwegian fjords or along the Mediterranean coast, Costa cruisers can take dance classes, play pool games and gorge on all-you-can-eat buffet fare — oftentimes for less than $50 a day. These low prices reflect the aftermath of the 2012 Costa Concordia accident, and they won't last much longer. Find out more about:
The Best Costa Cruises
The Best Affordable Cruises Read More:
Best Cruise Lines for the Money
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With lodging, dining and entertainment all mashed together into one price, a cruise makes a great choice for the budget-minded vacationer. Add to that the included experience of exploring not just one, but several destinations and it's easy to see why so many travelers opt for a holiday at sea over a holiday on land. But while some of the prices you see advertised may seem too good to be true, how can you be sure you're going to make the most of your vacation budget? To ensure you get the best rate on your next cruise, start by searching itineraries on U.S. News' Best Cruise Lines for the Money.

9. Costa Cruises

Although you'll likely have to pay more to get to your departure port than you would on other Carnival-affiliated lines, Europe-based Costa Cruises appeals to travelers with its extremely affordable rates. While sailing through Norwegian fjords or along the Mediterranean coast, Costa cruisers can take dance classes, play pool games and gorge on all-you-can-eat buffet fare — oftentimes for less than $50 a day. These low prices reflect the aftermath of the 2012 Costa Concordia accident, and they won't last much longer. Find out more about:
The Best Costa Cruises
The Best Affordable Cruises Read More:
Best Cruise Lines for the Money

8. Princess Cruises

Rates for a Princess cruise tend to be higher than those on other Carnival-owned lines, but Princess' itineraries are often more affordable than those offered by other adult-oriented cruise lines like Oceania or Crystal Cruises. These reasonable prices cover everything from cooking lessons to photography tutorials. And for a little extra coin, you can extend your itinerary to include stays in Princess-affiliated hotels and tours of your departure or arrival port of call.
Find out more about:
The Best Princess Cruises
The Best Affordable Cruises Read More:
Best Cruise Lines for the Money

7. MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises' rates may be higher than other Europe-based lines like Costa Cruises, but these all-inclusive fares still trump the cost of exploring the region on your own. This is especially true if you're traveling as a family, as MSC invites kids ages 11 and younger to sail for free. That means you can devote that extra cash to an additional shore excursion or specialty dining experience. Plus, MSC also accounts for gratuities and fitness classes in its fares, so there are no surprises. Find out more about:
The Best MSC Cruises
The Best Affordable Cruises Read More:
Best Cruise Lines for the Money

6. Holland America Line

Holland America's mix of 15 family-friendly and adults-only ships allows this fleet to cater to a wide variety of guests while keeping prices reasonable. Sure, you can find cheaper itineraries out there, especially if you book with a larger line. But Holland America's mid-sized ships offer a more personal onboard experience than its big-name competitors, so you know that saving money aboard this line won't result in shoddy service.  Find out more about:
The Best Holland America Cruises
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The Best Cruise Lines for the Money

5. Norwegian Cruise Line

With its fleet in a state of expansion, Norwegian is quickly developing the capability to compete with cruise industry mainstays in both itinerary diversity and price. But what makes Norwegian's rates a good value is that they cover the line's "free cruising" style — that means that you don't have to pay extra to eat when you want and wearing what you want. Plus, many of the fleet's ships feature specialty restaurants with meals costing no more than $5. Find out more about:
The Best Norwegian Cruises
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The Best Cruise Lines for the Money

4. Carnival Cruise Lines

When it comes to low-cost cruising, Carnival's rates are hard to beat. The Carnival fleet comprises 24 ships allowing for more availability and lower rates. Less than $100 a day grants you access to the swimming pools, water slides, rock walls, mini golf and all-you-can-eat Lido Deck buffets aboard the "Fun Ships." But be warned: Basic necessities like beverages will cost extra, but there's an add-on package for every budget. Find out more about:
The Best Carnival Cruises
The Best Affordable Cruises Read More:
The Best Cruise Lines for the Money

3. Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises' 11 ships aren't exactly the floating metropolises of Carnival's fleet, but these vessels offer the wide range of activities and the intimate experiences associated with smaller ships. From language courses to glassblowing exhibitions, Celebrity's cruise rates (often less than $100 a day) cover a variety of onboard entertainment. Cruising with Celebrity is an especially attractive bargain for foodies, with flat-rate dining packages covering meals in several specialty venues. Find out more about:
The Best Celebrity Cruises
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The Best Cruise Lines for the Money

2. Disney Cruise Line

This isn't the cheapest cruise line in the industry — not by a long shot. With only four ships to choose from, space and itinerary options are limited. What has earned Disney Cruise Line the No. 2 spot on this list is its incredible value: Cabins are large enough to fit the whole family and all meals and non-alcoholic drinks are covered in the rate. Plus, you should consider all of Disney's youth clubs and character interactions as free childcare. Find out more about:
The Best Disney Cruises
The Best Affordable Cruises Read More:
The Best Cruise Lines for the Money

1. Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean's 22 ships mean finding an available standard-size cabin for $100 or less per night isn't too challenging a feat. And with itineraries to more than 200 destinations around the globe, this industry behemoth offers cruisers the chance to see the world without breaking the bank. But what makes a Royal Caribbean cruise the best for the money is that rates also cover meals in the Main Dining Room and the cost of all sorts of entertainment options, from language lessons to Broadway-style shows. Find out more about:
The Best Royal Caribbean Cruises
The Best Affordable Cruises Read More:
The Best Cruise Lines for the Money
U.S. News Best Cruises Rankings
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