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Royal Caribbean Cruise Deals Guide

When it comes to planning the ultimate getaway, there are so many reasons why cruise vacations rank among the most popular travel options. First of all, they’re completely stress-free. On a cruise vacation, all the planning is taken care of by the cruise line — from the destinations you sail to and the shore excursions available at each port, to a full range of entertainment and activities happening onboard every day. If you’re not a planner, or if the only things you’re looking to focus on during your getaway is savoring great food, relaxing, and soaking up the sights, cruise vacations are the way to go. A cruise vacation is also a great option if you’re traveling with the whole family, especially when you opt for a Royal Caribbean cruise. All of the ships in this cruise line’s fleet offer family-friendly experiences for guests of all ages. Even little ones will find plenty of ways to play with spaces and activities designed for tots to tweens. One of the top reasons savvy travelers love cruising, though, is because of the incredible value it offers. With Royal Caribbean, your cruise fare includes access to most of the ship’s attractions, select dining venues and all of the entertainment onboard. If you want to make your experience even more all-inclusive, you can opt for beverage and specialty dining packages that cover drinks and dinner at some of the most exclusive restaurants in the fleet. On top of all that, the cruise line presents frequent limited-time offers and seasonal sales, making it easy to score big savings when booking your vacation.

I’m ready to start planning my cruise — how can I score the best deals?

Whether you’re looking to book a short getaway or a longer adventure to far-flung destinations, Royal Caribbean makes it easy to save big on everything from your cruise fare to special experiences onboard and onshore. The first step to making sure you get the best deals is to join the cruise line’s email list. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive regular updates on all the latest offers, like deals by destination , kids sail free promotions and flash sales. The savings don’t end when you book your cruise, though. Once you’ve made a reservation, you’ll also receive notifications about special offers for onboard experiences — like discounts on beverage and specialty dining packages, shore excursions, spa services, and more via My Royal Cruise .

Does it pay to plan ahead, or should I wait until the last minute?  

It’s an age-old question — does the early bird really get the worm, or are there perks to taking a “wait-and-see” approach? If you’re booking a cruise vacation, you’ll find there are benefits to both strategies. Planning ahead is a great way to score big savings , as Royal Caribbean often runs early saver deals to guests booking well in advance. It’s also pretty safe to assume prices usually go up as availability goes down the closer you get to your sail date, so booking ahead is a surefire way to lock in a great rate. That said, booking a cruise at the last minute can also yield some unexpected savings — but only if the itinerary you’re interested in hasn’t sold out yet.

If you can be flexible when it comes to your travel dates, you’ll have your pick of unbeatable savings. Popular vacation dates — like the holidays , spring break , summer vacation and week long cruises — sometimes see the highest prices (though you might get lucky with a seasonal sale). If you have the flexibility to travel during the shoulder season or off season, you’ll likely enjoy big savings on popular stateroom categories , like Balconies and even Suites. The deals don’t only apply to your cruise fare, though. Once you’ve booked your vacation, you could easily unlock discounts and specials on add-ons, including beverage and dining packages , Voom® high speed internet, shore excursions, and amazing experiences not included in your cruise fare — like a day of pampering at Vitality SM Spa, a behind-the-scenes tour of the ship’s galley followed by brunch, VIP seating at shows, and much more.

How can I maximize the value of my cruise vacation?

There are plenty of ways to get more bang for your buck when you sail on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Every ship in the fleet offers a range of delicious complimentary dining options , but you can dig into even more crave-worthy flavor by purchasing a Specialty Dining Package for less ahead of your cruise. Add a Specialty Beverage Package — which includes unlimited alcoholic beverages, soda, and more — and your experience is as close to all-inclusive as it gets. And with so many complimentary shows and attractions onboard, you can easily fill every sea day without spending a single dollar extra.

Royal Caribbean also offers deals based on departure ports  and destinations, so if you’re a flexible traveler looking for great savings, you can plan your next vacation around which itineraries are on sale. Just check your email or visit RoyalCaribbean.com/cruise-deals to stay up to date on promotions, sales and special offers. You can even browse sailings and deals by homeport, destination and season, so you can rest assured you’re getting the best possible deal no matter when or where in the world you choose to set sai.

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Escape to the sun and sand

Caribbean cruises are the ultimate tropical getaway, with endless sunshine, sandy beaches, unique shore excursions, and the chance to see several islands in one trip. Travel on a compact, upscale craft or on an enormous resort-style ship equipped with spas, swimming pools, movie theaters, 5-star restaurants and bars. Find a last-minute deal on many 3- 4- 5- or even 7-day cruises, departing from popular cruise ports including Florida, New York, New Orleans, and more.

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Cruise to this picture-perfect archipelago

Popular for its proximity to Florida, a cruise to the Bahamas is a great option for first-time cruisers or for those on a small budget. This popular cruise destination is a conglomeration of 700 idyllic islands famed for their stunning, powdery beaches and translucent seas. For an affordable 3-day getaway, a cruise to the Bahamas is fanastic option, but sometimes 4-or-5-day cruises can be the better deal. 

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Discover the endless rugged beauty of this final frontier state

Cruises to Alaska allow you to take in beautiful unspoiled wildlife, with snow-capped mountains that cascade into glacial blue waters. Take part in unique excursions like dog sled rides, or fish for Alaska's famous North Pacific salmon. While cruising, you’ll pass by hundreds of breathtaking sites like the Misty Fjords National Monument and the Hubbard Glacier, the longest tidewater glacier in the world. Take advantage of cheaper cruise options by booking early and late season sailings in May and September.

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Immerse yourself in culture and history

Europe is a land of breathtaking beauty, cultural charm, fine dining, and is a history enthusiasts dream! Unpack once and explore exciting destinations such as France, England, Austria, Spain, Germany, and more. The variety of destinations for Europe cruises means that the best time of year to visit changes according to where you are. Cruises to the Baltic and Scandinavia are largely limited to the sunny summer months of July and August. In the Mediterranean, you can find cheap cruise deals in the shoulder seasons of Spring and Fall.

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The 10 Best Cruise Deals for 2022

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Wave season is well into full swing, meaning it’s the perfect time to plan your next cruise vacation. The winter months are traditionally when cruisers can snag incredibly low fares plus plenty of perks, upgrades, and amenities. While cruise lines continue to offer great deals, many of them are going the extra mile to ensure the safety of their guests via onboard COVID-19 testing, vaccine policies, health screenings, social distancing, and mask regulations.  

Although you may not be up for setting sail right now–especially given the new, ever-changing CDC guidance on cruising –you can still take advantage of these incredible offers by booking sailings through late 2022, 2023, and even 2024. It’s also worth noting that most cruise lines have implemented flexible cancellation policies, including full refunds or future cruise credits. 

Ahead, we’ve rounded up the top 10 best wave season deals of 2022. 

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Emerald Cruises

It’s Your Time To Travel with Emerald Cruises. Guests who book select 2022 and 2023 Danube, Rhine, and Rhone river cruises can snag up to $2,500 in savings. Pay your 2022 sailing in full to receive an extra $150 off per person. Similarly, passengers who pay their 2023 sailing in full at least 12 months before embarkation can score an additional 10% off. The fun doesn’t stop there, though: Emerald is also offering up to 25% off select 2022 and 2023 yacht cruises–plus free premium beverage packages. Customers setting sail in 2023 can snap up an added 10% discount if they pay in full one year before embarkation. Both of these promotions expire on March 31, 2022. 

Holland America Line

Holland America Line is kicking off wave season with their Ultimate Upgrade Event . Those who book a qualifying 2022 and 2023 sailing can score a free stateroom upgrade, 50% off deposits, complimentary beverage packages, specialty dining, WiFi, and shore excursions. The promotion officially ends on February 28, 2022.

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Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises’ annual Best. Sale. Ever .is back just in time for wave season. You won’t want to miss this limited-time sale, which offers staggering savings of up to $695 per passenger based on a six-night cruise. This seasonal sale includes five free perks: The Premier Beverage Package–think: cocktails, wine, beer, bottled water, and more–as well as unlimited wifi, gratuities, stateroom location upgrades (available on a first-come, first-served basis), and one specialty dining meal. Book by March 2, 2022. 

Celestyal Cruises

Escape Back to the Blue with Celestyal Cruises. The cruise line, which is best known for its Greek Isles and Eastern Mediterranean voyages, is offering up to 30% off select 2022 sailings. Among the most notable itineraries include the three-night “Iconic Aegean ” (from $449 per person; originally $610) and the seven-night “ Three Continents ” (from $1,019 per person; originally $1,250). Children 12 years and younger can cruise free on select sailings, while solo travelers can take advantage of reduced single supplements as low as 15%. Book by March 31, 2022.  

Celebrity Cruises

There are, quite literally, 3,000 reasons to sail with Celebrity Cruises this year. Book any 2022 sailing and receive a discount of up to $3,000 per stateroom. Alternatively, experience the Galapagos’ rich wildlife, culture, and stunning scenery: Those who book a 2022 or 2023 Galapagos sailing aboard Celebrity Flora, Celebrity Xploration, or Celebrity Xploration will enjoy 20% off cruise fare–plus free round-trip airfare when booking via “ Flights With Celebrity .” These deals expire on February 28, 2022. 

Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises’ OLife Choice is chock-full of fun perks and added value. The package includes 2-for-1 cruise fares, free round-trip airfare (with transfers!), and one free extra per stateroom. These include up to eight shore excursions, free beverage packages, or up to $800 in onboard credit. This promotion–which is available on nearly 500 sailings through November 29, 2023–ends on April 2, 2022. 

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Cunard Line

Cunard’s “ Three For All ” promotion offers customers up to $2,00 in onboard credit based on their stateroom category, along with specialty dining credits and 50% off deposits. Repeat passengers can save up to an extra $1,200. Additionally, those who book a Grills Suite will receive a complimentary drinks package. Book by 2/28/2022.

Hurtigruten Expeditions 

Up for a fun-filled, action-packed adventure? If so, book your sailing with Hurtigruten Expeditions this wave season. Customers can save up to $2,900 on select 2022 sailings featuring bucket-list-worthy destinations like Galapagos, Antarctica, Alaska, Iceland, Norway, Patagonia, and Greenland. Select 2023 and 2024 cruises –including voyages to the British Isles, Scottish Isles, Iceland, Norway, Greenland, the Panama Canal, South America, the Faroe Islands, and the Canary Islands–are available for up to 30% off. Both of these offers expire on March 31, 2022.  

The Ultimate Cruise Packing List

Azamara Club Cruises

Find Your Journey with Azamara and take your pick of nearly 150 sailings across the globe.  The best part? These itineraries–which run through May 5, 2023–have been slashed up to 30% in celebration of wave season. Destinations include The Canary Islands, Spain and Morocco, and the Caribbean, to name a few. Bonus: Azamara is also throwing in a $500 onboard credit per stateroom. Book by March 31, 2022. 

Enjoy The Suite Life with Seabourn this wave season. Book by March 1, 2022, to enjoy a free two-category veranda suite upgrade, as well as a 50% reduced deposit. This offer is available on over 300 voyages setting sail around the world between now and 2023–including awe-inspiring arctic expeditions , Australia and New Zealand itineraries , Caribbean sailings , and many other amazing destinations. 

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Create an all-inclusive cruise experience by combining our vacation packages to elevate your vacation to the next level. With our standard cruise-only rate, you’ll get to enjoy a stay in one of our spacious staterooms, delicious gourmet meals at our restaurants, and a slate of activities and entertainment shows—without ever worrying about the tab.

We also have a number of cruise, hotel and flight packages, Alaska and Galapagos cruise and land tours, and our unrivaled luxury vacation experience at The Retreat, where you're attended too by a dedicated team of butlers and concierges who make sure you don’t lift a finger throughout your customized all-inclusive cruise.

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With Flights by Celebrity, we’ll get you from the tarmac to the top deck. Our dedicated Flights by Celebrity specialists find the best available rates for flights to your departure port and back, and are available 24/7 to assist you with any help you may need along the way.

Spectacular suites, an exclusive restaurant, and a private lounge are all a part of the all-inclusive cruise package when you book a stay at The Retreat, our luxury vacation experience.

Extend your vacation in Alaska with one of our Alaska Cruisetours, which combines a seven-night cruise with a fascinating land tour around destinations including Anchorage, Talkeetna, and Denali.

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Discover the beauty of the Galapagos Islands on one of our all-inclusive cruises to this ecological paradise. Our Galapagos cruises include vacation options that combine a stunning cruise with a few nights in Quito, Ecuador or the ruins of Machu Picchu.

The best way to experience our port destinations is by signing up for one of our shore excursions, which vary from cultural tours and activities to exciting outdoor adventures and water sports.

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Enjoy up to 45% off fares, up to $300 Onboard Credit and 50% Reduced Deposit!* Include free 3rd & 4th guests on select cruises and watch majesty unfold as you see more Alaska glaciers than with any other cruise line and linger longer in Europe’s iconic ports. Sale ends April 30.

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We Found Travel Deals on Hotels, Cruises, Airfare, and Vacation Packages Up to 50% Off Just in Time for Spring

End your winter blues with last-minute and upcoming travel deals from Delta, Hilton, St. Regis, and more.

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Brian Head Resort: Skiing is a notoriously expensive sport, but at Utah’s Brian Head Resort, adult lift tickets for March and April can be purchased in advance for about $60 or less. To get you on the slopes even more affordably, from March 1 through closing day on April 14, skiers and riders at Utah’s Brian Head Resort can take advantage of $25 rentals, $100 afternoon group beginner lessons, and a $10 resort credit with an online adult lift ticket purchase — with the only blackout dates being from March 11 to 17.

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How we are saving almost 50% on airfare for our cruise to Alaska

Summer Hull

If the last few years have taught or reinforced any lessons, it is to always, always take the trip when the option presents itself. That includes those big, intimidating, once-in-a-lifetime adventures that can feel scary to put into motion.

With that in mind, we recently booked a big, expensive, two-cabin cruise to Alaska for the summer of 2023. The trip will include not only my kids, who will somehow already be 13 and 8 next summer, but also my parents. This includes my dad, who at 74 years young by next summer has never sailed — and likely won't other than on this one, big trip.

To sail from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Alaska (and back), you obviously have to first get to Vancouver. And with weeklong cruises to Alaska already pretty pricey, the prospect of also needing five round-trip summertime airfare tickets is ... painful.

Since there are only so many ways to save on the Alaska Disney cruise itself (and we are using every tip in the book), I'm also leaning into using every trick to save on airfare that I can muster.

After going through the gamut of various ways to save on airfare, I've landed on what may be the best way to book airfare when cruising to Alaska: the Alaska Airlines companion certificate .

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Flying to Seattle vs. Vancouver

Some cruise lines sail to Alaska from Seattle, while others depart from Vancouver.

Examples of some cruise lines that depart from Vancouver include Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Silversea, Holland America and our chosen line, Disney. Because of complex laws and regulations , cruises that sail from Seattle still have to make a stop in Canada, but that's a tale for a different story.

If you choose to book an Alaska cruise on a line that departs from Vancouver, it may still be in your best interest to fly to Seattle.

Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas Alaska

Even ignoring the different levels of paperwork and regulations required to fly internationally into Canada versus staying within the U.S., the price of tickets alone may quickly drive you to look back south of the border.

Using our summer 2023 sailing dates as an example, tickets from Houston to Vancouver start at $600 to $700 round-trip per person — and all but the priciest options require a connection.

However, nonstop airfare prices to Seattle for the very same dates range from $300 to $450 round-trip per person. Obviously, prices vary by date and originating city, but outside of unique sales or situations, I'd expect the pattern of Vancouver costing more than Seattle to largely hold for departures from other U.S. cities.

You need to also factor in the cost, time and hassle of getting from Seattle to the port in Vancouver when making your decision. But quickly cutting airfare costs for five people by up to half by flying to Seattle instead of Vancouver frees up some room and tolerance for those factors.

We've done that roughly three-hour drive before to go skiing in Whistler, British Columbia , and it wasn't too bad, even with the border crossing. But, with a weeklong cruise, you do need to get creative so that you aren't paying for a rental and parking for days that you are at sea and aren't using it.

One option to get from Seattle to Vancouver includes the Amtrak Cascades train, which is scheduled to return later in 2022. For now, the route is operated by buses, but the train should return before next summer. Right now, non-discounted prices are starting at $68 each way, with 50% discounts for kids and 10% discounts for seniors.

Another option would be doing two one-way car rentals, but note that not all car rental agencies permit one-way international rentals. Budget and Avis are two rental options that, based on searches, do permit these one-way rentals.

Related: Choosing the best Alaska cruise for your family

The Alaska Airlines Companion Fare

It just so happens that one of Alaska Airlines ' hubs is in Seattle. And while this will obviously vary, in our case, it has the cheapest flight option by a pretty healthy margin.

But that's just the beginning of the story.

Alaska Airlines has a buy-one-get-one companion voucher awarded at each credit card account anniversary year (and sometimes one comes as part of a card's sign-up bonus, too). It has very few use restrictions, as long as you are flying within the United States.

You get this annual certificate just by having an Alaska Airlines credit card , including the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card and Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card .

As a relevant aside, if you are in the market, the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card has welcome bonus of 50,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare; ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) after you make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.

To use the Alaska Airlines companion voucher, purchase one economy fare on a domestic Alaska Airlines-operated flight with your Alaska Airlines credit card (aka not using miles) and then the second ticket will cost you just $99 plus some taxes and fees, which in this case are just under $37.

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That translates to paying for one ticket to Seattle at a rate that is already a few hundred dollars less than flying into Vancouver — and getting the second ticket for $135.63, which in an era when summer airfare has been quite the bear, is a relief.

Related: Best Alaska cruise tips

Total savings on airfare for our Alaska cruise

We currently have five people planning to go on the cruise, but I'm going to show cash airfare numbers just for four people — because we are likely using miles for the fifth as the companion certificate works best in pairs.

For four nonstop, round-trip tickets from Houston to Seattle on our preferred dates and times (using Alaska Airlines companion vouchers for two of those tickets), our cash cost is $1,145.68.

best cruise deals with airfare

If we instead purchased four nonstop tickets from Houston to Vancouver for our needed times and dates, it would cost $2,976.

That $1,830 in savings is a pretty big price difference in my book — and that's on top of some of the easier logistics of just flying domestically instead of internationally.

Naturally, we'll need to deduct from the savings the ultimate price of a train, bus or car to go from Seattle to Vancouver and back again, once we decide on those details as the sailing gets a bit closer. What we'll likely do as a hedge is book one-way car rentals to and from Seattle and Vancouver. Currently, prices for two one-way rentals are starting at around $400. Hopefully, with the train coming back online and the relevant child and other discounts, our ground transportation prices will get a little lower, but at least we know it shouldn't get worse than that.

best cruise deals with airfare

Bottom line

There isn't one best way that applies in all situations, but if you are planning an Alaska cruise and Alaska Airlines operates from your home airport, using an Alaska Airlines companion certificate from a cobranded credit card to fly two people to Seattle for less is a tactic worth considering to bring down the total airfare cost.

This is especially true if your Alaska cruise departs from Seattle, but even if you depart from Vancouver, it can still be worth it to fly to Seattle in some situations. Needing a handful of tickets makes the savings even greater for us since we do have access to multiple companion vouchers.

By saving on airfare, you have more cash for other things — such as booking some of the best Alaska cruise shore excursions .

Related: How my unused Alaska Companion Fare saved a co-worker nearly $700 on summer travel

Updated as of 4/18/2024.

Protect Your Trip »

The 5 best kids sail free cruises for 2024 & beyond.

Save on your family cruise with these kids sail free deals.

The Best Kids Sail Free Cruises

little boy using binoculars while on a cruise ship in open sea

Getty Images

Several cruise lines offer kids sail free promos throughout the year.

If you're angling for an affordable family cruise , you'll be happy to know that several major cruise lines let children sail for free (either regularly or during special promotions). Read on to discover which lines cater to families with kids sail free offers.

Cruise lines where kids sail free

Holland america line, norwegian cruise line, royal caribbean international, costa cruises, msc cruises.

Find your perfect cruise

Father, mother, child in snorkeling mask dive underwater with tropical fishes in coral reef sea pool.

Courtesy of Holland America Line

Deal: Holland America Line is offering a "Kids Cruise Free" promotion on select itineraries in 2024. The offer applies to several itineraries including Hawaii , the Caribbean and the Panama Canal; to qualify, children must be 18 or younger and cruising as third and/or fourth guests in the same cabin as adults. As with similar promotions, taxes and port fees are still required for each child's sailing.

Family-friendly perks: Amenities onboard Holland America ships include kids clubs and youth programs, as well as shore excursions oriented to families with little ones in tow. Plenty of stateroom options can also accommodate larger bookings. The Nieuw Statendam and Koningsdam ships, in particular, feature oversized staterooms with beds for four, a large sitting area and a spacious veranda.

Book a Holland America Line Cruise on GoToSea , a service of U.S. News.

Two children participating in virtual reality gaming on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship.

Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Deal: Norwegian Cruise Line lets third and fourth guests cruise free on select itineraries throughout the year. Cruises to which this promotion applies are offered all over the world, including bucket-list destinations like Alaska and the Mediterranean .

Some of the itineraries that qualify for free third and fourth guests also come with complimentary amenities like an unlimited open bar, specialty dining, shore excursions and/or complimentary Wi-Fi. Additionally, some of the itineraries include generous discounts on the total cruise cost , as well as free airfare for a second guest (when booked through the cruise line).

Family-friendly perks: With Norwegian's all-ages kids clubs, family dining, entertainment and activities included in one bundled rate, planning a kid-approved vacation with the cruise line is a breeze. Many Norwegian ships also feature an array of family-friendly staterooms with plenty of extra space. For example, the luxurious Norwegian Prima offers a two-bedroom family villa with a large balcony in "The Haven" – its exclusive area for VIP guests.

Explore Norwegian Cruise Line deals on GotoSea.

The Seaplex, Deck 15 Aft Center, on the Spectrum of the Seas ship from Royal Caribbean International.

Michel Verdure | Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

Deal: Royal Caribbean offers a "Kids Sail Free" deal several times each year, allowing children 12 or younger to cruise free provided they are the third guests (or beyond) staying in the same cabin as at least two paying adults. The only catch is that blackout dates apply – typically during holiday and school breaks.

Family-friendly perks: There's a reason so many families choose Royal Caribbean ; kid-friendly amenities range from age-specific programming to zip lining at sea. The line's  exclusive island for cruisers , Perfect Day at CocoCay in  the Bahamas , is also a big hit with young passengers thanks to its waterslides and splash areas.

Compare Royal Caribbean cruise itineraries on GotoSea.

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Kids run toward Peppa Pig mascot on Costa Cruises ship deck.

Courtesy of Costa Cruises

Deal: Costa Cruises may not be as popular as some other cruise lines on our list, but it's a worthwhile option for cruisers looking to sail through Europe, the Middle East or South America. The cruise line allows kids traveling as third or fourth guests to sail for free with two adults in the same cabin, and this promotion applies to passengers ages 2 to 17. This offer is valid on all sailings offered by the line, many of which feature destinations in desirable ports along the Mediterranean such as Barcelona , Marseille and Rome .

Family-friendly perks: Costa Cruises vessels offer abundant family-friendly amenities, from water parks to arcades to mini golf. Kids clubs are available for children ages 3 to 11, and they provide entertainment like arts and crafts, themed parties, and games galore. A teen zone also hosts cruisers ages 12 to 17 who want to mingle, sing karaoke and play group sports when ships aren't in port.

Find a Costa Cruises deal on GotoSea.

Children listen to MSC Cruises mascot during a group activity.

Courtesy of MSC Cruises

Deal: MSC Cruises lets children younger than 18 cruise for free on select itineraries, depending on the ship's capacity. (Other exclusions or eligibility requirements may apply.) Kids must be the third or fourth guests traveling in the same cabin as their parents (at least two adults) for the deal to be valid; note that any port fees and taxes still apply to children's fares.

Family-friendly perks: MSC Cruises offers a variety of leisure activities and amenities designed specifically for kids. On board, youngsters can take advantage of perks from water parks with slides and swimming pools to Broadway-style shows and interactive dinners. The line also hosts fun family excursions and a "Lego Experience On Board" event on every cruise. In addition, there are a myriad of amenities for parents to enjoy while the youngest passengers are occupied by one of five dedicated kids clubs.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Holly Johnson is a seasoned travel writer who has covered family travel and cruises for more than a decade. Johnson has traveled with her family to more than 50 countries, and her many trips have included cruises all over the world. Johnson lives in Indiana with her two children and her husband, Greg.

You might also be interested in:

  • The Top Cruises for Babies & Toddlers
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Top Resorts Where Kids Stay Free

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Where to fly on a budget this summer

Airfare experts share their forecasts for summer vacation destinations that won’t break your budget.

best cruise deals with airfare

This summer is shaping up to be another scorcher , and the demand for summer travel is piping hot, too. If early 2024 trends are any indication of what’s to come, “it’s looking to be busier than 2023,” said Katy Nastro, spokesperson for the flight booking site Going . Recent airport passenger volume numbers have regularly exceeded last year and pre-pandemic levels.

Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir.com , says airline capacity has rebounded from pandemic complications, but strong travel demand means summer flight prices can be high, depending on when you’re hoping to go. Flying in June, July or early August will be more expensive than later in the season, according to the company’s summer forecast .

“And it’s not just the airfare,” Klee said in an email. “Expensive hotel rates and crowds everywhere make Western Europe tricky for the summer.”

Despite the price tag, “people are going to go,” said Melanie Fish, the head of global public relations for all Expedia Brands, including Vrbo, Expedia and Hotels.com . “When we look at searches for destinations, they are definitely up year over year.”

For popular destinations like Europe , Klee and Fish say to push trips later into August, September or even October. Not only will prices soften, but you’ll alleviate some of the strain of overtourism .

“My number one tip is go ahead and take that summer vacation, but maybe hold on to take that big, big trip in September,” Fish said.

According to Expedia’s summer 2024 travel outlook , we’re currently in the sweet spot for shopping for early summer flights at the best rates, as Fish says lower fares tend to pop up 21 to 60 days out. It doesn’t hurt to start your search even earlier, setting up price alerts to flag when airfare drops. If you can swing it, look to fly on a Monday for international trips or a Tuesday for domestic trips to save up to 15 percent on fares, Fish added.

It’s not impossible to find good deals on airfare, whether you’re looking for a tropical beach trip , a mountain adventure or a vibrant city. Here are places that are trending cheaper — and the destinations you’ll want to avoid.

Go to Mexico

Sun, surf, culture, chilaquiles — Mexico is always a good idea , but particularly so this summer. With the opening of the new airport in Tulum , U.S. airlines have been adding gobs of new flights to Mexico, particularly to beach regions. “We’ve seen a healthy amount of deals down to Mexico resort areas like Cancún,” Nastro said.

Laura Lindsay, global travel trends expert at Skyscanner , says three Mexican cities — Cancún, San José del Cabo and Puerto Vallarta — are among the top 10 destinations offering travelers the best bang for their buck in 2024.

To escape the summer heat, Phyllis Stoller, president of the Women’s Travel Group , recommends high-altitude destinations like Mexico City or Ixtapan de la Sal, a town near Mexico City with thermal springs.

Avoid European port cities

If you’re considering a visit to a popular European city that’s also a cruise hub, beware. Not only will you be battling the usual summer crowds, you’ll be joined by thousands of day-trippers flooding into the ports — meaning Barcelona, Venice , Athens and Santorini.

Sandra Weinacht, who co-owns the tour company Inside Europe Travel Experiences , says you can avoid some of the madness in these hot spots by staying in neighborhoods away from the typical tourist zones. You can also visit top sites in the late afternoon or evening, after cruise travelers have returned to their ships.

Better yet, wait to visit until the shoulder season

Go to Colorado

Epic hiking, breathtaking nature and more craft beer than you could ever try in a lifetime: The Centennial State is a domestic gem. Ashlee Collins of Inspirato , a luxury travel and lifestyle subscription service, says Vail is popular among members this summer. Not only is the ski resort beautiful sans snow, it’s drivable for many, cutting a significant cost for travelers.

Airfare to Colorado is looking more reasonable than other domestic vacation hubs. Nastro recently spotted a Miami-to-Denver, round-trip fare over the July Fourth holiday for just $199. She says an average round trip from major U.S. cities is running between $173 and $250, but those prices are expected to climb upward of $350 the closer we get to summer.

Avoid places at risk for wildfires

Wildfires have become an unfortunate fixture of summers in the Northern Hemisphere. Last year’s fires in Europe — including those in Cyprus and Greece — were among the worst so far this century, the European Commission reported .

Stoller says fire risk has been a factor in her summer travel planning; she nixed a New England cruise after remembering how bad smoke was last year because of the fires in Canada . “None of us can predict everything, but that would be something I would be aware of,” she said.

Extreme heat is also an issue. Last July, Southern Europe experienced excessively high temperatures from a “heat dome.”

“There’s a concern about heat,” Stoller said. “Last summer was really painful.”

Go to the Caribbean

The Caribbean has its peak tourist season during the winter, when Americans flock to warmer waters. That means summer trips to the region tend to be quieter and cheaper.

“You can go under $300 to pretty much all of the islands: Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Aruba, Dominican Republic,” said Lindsay Schwimer, a consumer travel expert at Hopper . She’s seen similar price point flights to Colombia.

Lindsay of Skyscanner also said Puerto Rico and the Bahamas offer some of the most affordable flights from the United States this summer.

Avoid Paris

Unless you’re going for the Olympics , skip the French capital this summer.

“Paris is always a top destination in the summer, but this summer … it’s going to be on another level,” said Madison Pietrowski, head of U.S. brand at GetYourGuide .

Not only are hotel prices high, “we’re seeing that some of the top attractions like the Louvre have raised their ticket prices,” Pietrowski said.

Nastro says the crowds are going to be “bananas” during the Games, and not just in Paris. Olympic travelers are likely to add on other French destinations to their trip, like Nice — which will host soccer games — or the Côte d’Azur, which already gets popular in the summertime.

Even if you try to get ahead of the rush by visiting before the July 26 start date, you may still have some Olympics-related headaches in the French capital. As the city races to finish prep, “you might find that there’s going to be eyesores and scaffolding and loud noises early in the morning,” Nastro said.

Go to rural Europe

Interest in Western Europe has not slowed down, and Americans are expected to surge back en masse this summer. If you’d like to avoid them, put rural European destinations on your radar.

Weinacht is bullish on Spain’s Rioja region , the Basque countryside and the central Italian region of Umbria, which borders Tuscany but does not see the same levels of tourism. She’s also a fan of Carinthia, the least-populated state of Austria. “It is castle- and lake-dotted, doesn’t get too hot, and oh, the food and stories the cities and villages can tell,” Weinacht said in an email.

Weinacht says she’s been getting more requests from Americans for trips to her homeland, Germany. The country is easy to navigate with its high-speed trains, and offers a mix of small and big cities spread across powerhouse wine regions, UNESCO World Heritage sites and many food festivals . According to Skyscanner, airlines in the United States have been increasing their flights to Germany — namely, Frankfurt, an international business hub — meaning you may be able to find more deals.

Avoid Sicily and Amalfi

If your dream Italian destination has been featured on TV lately, that’s a red flag. The last season of “The White Lotus” spurred an interest in already popular Sicily ; the same is happening to the Amalfi Coast thanks to the new Netflix miniseries “Ripley.”

“They’re really going to be the most expensive and they’re going to be pretty crowded for the summer,” Schwimer said.

Where to go

Our favorite destinations: These 12 destinations are at the top of our wish list for where to go this year, without crowds. In 2023, we explored an Alaskan bear paradise, Brooklyn’s famous pizzerias and a hidden gem in Italy, among other highlights .

Travel like a local: Residents share their favorite places in our top city guides: New Orleans , Rome , Tokyo and Mexico City .

National parks: This comprehensive guide has details on all 63 U.S. national parks. For a deep dive into five of the most well-known, you can listen to the Field Trip podcast . Then explore tips from locals for visiting Yosemite , Glacier and Everglades .

Tales from the road: Dolly Parton has opened a new resort at her theme park complex in Tennessee, while “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines have a new hotel in Waco . Road-trippers may be just as excited to see the cartoon beaver at Buc-ee’s , and bargain-hunters should consider a stop at the Unclaimed Baggage store in Scottsboro, Ala.

best cruise deals with airfare


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    The best vacation of your life starts here. Score incredible offers and last-minute deals on thrilling weekend getaways to the tropics, weeklong Euro discoveries, bucket list adventures in Alaska — and more. All onboard the world's boldest ships. 7 NIGHT. CARIBBEAN CRUISES.

  2. BEST Cruise Deals: Cheap & Discount Cruises (2024)

    Fresh Deals, Find your best Deal using the Cruise Critic. Deal Score. All Deals. ... Discount - Airfare. $200 Onboard Credit (OBC) Other. Caribbean. Windstar Cruises. View Deal #11 in the US today. 8.

  3. Cruise Packages with Flights

    Princess EZair. Imagine if planning your dream cruise vacation was as seamless as the journey. Princess EZair makes it simple to find flights. With two different pricing options available, you can enjoy the benefits of the EZair program without going beyond your budget. Choose from Flexible Fares or Restricted Fares to best meet your needs.

  4. BEST Cruise Deals (2024 + 2025): Cheap & Discount Cruises

    Up to 20% Savings to Explore North America in 2023. Explore North America with American Queen Voyages and enjoy up to 20% Early Booking Savings on select voyages in 2023. Plus, pay-in-full at the ...

  5. 2024-2026 Best Cruise Deals & Promotions

    2026 South America & Antarctica Cruises Offer. For a limited time, enjoy up to $2,300* in total onboard spending money & shore excursion credit when you book a 2026 South America & Antarctica cruises. Captains Circle Members Exclusive Offer: Log in to book your adventure today and you'll get up to $100* in savings per guest just by being a ...

  6. Find Cheap Cruises & Last Minute Cruise Deals (2024/2025)

    The best family cruises in 2024 / 2025 tend to be Disney cruises with plenty of offerings for kids and adults alike, though MSC cruises are known for their iconic Children Cruise Free promotion. Disney cruises, specifically, are essentially a Disney theme park on a boat with live shows, rides, and attractions with your kids' favorite characters.

  7. Cruise Deals

    Everyone wants to get the best deal on a cruise and Expedia is here to help you find the best prices on cruises. Whether you are looking for a last minute cruise or planning a family cruise vacation, we have exclusive cruise discounts and the best value. ... Find the best cruise deals! For expert cruise advice, call 1-800-916-8586. 2 travelers ...

  8. Find The Best Cruise Deals

    Discover the best cruises and last minute cruise deals on select discounted cruises and vacation packages to top travel destinations like the Caribbean, Europe and Alaska. Book your 2022-2023 cruise today! ... Free Airfare; Free Extra Guests Sailings; Lowest Cruise Fares; ... Last-Minute Cruise Deals. EXPLORE THE GREATEST OUTDOORS. Juneau, Alaska.

  9. The 10 Best Cruise Deals for 2022

    Guests who book select 2022 and 2023 Danube, Rhine, and Rhone river cruises can snag up to $2,500 in savings. Pay your 2022 sailing in full to receive an extra $150 off per person. Similarly ...

  10. BEST Cruise Deals & Specials 2022

    Caribbean. Seabourn Cruise Line. View Deal. # 12 in the US today. Last-Minute Deal. $1,159 pp. — 7-Nt Alaska Oceanview Cabin w/ 70% Off Second Guest's Fare, $300 Excursion Credit, $25 OBC, Free ...

  11. How to Find the Best Cruise Deals, According to Travel Experts

    Put simply, explains Clabbers, "The more flexible you are, the more likely you are to find a lower rate for your cruise.". For example, if you are "very flexible and are looking for a ...

  12. 13 best all-inclusive cruise lines

    Regent Seven Seas Cruises surely ranks as the most all-inclusive luxury line. Just be warned: With so much bundled into the fare, its prices are usually loftier than its competitors. If tasteful opulence is your style, you will love Regent. Generously sized, all-suite accommodations feature spacious verandas.

  13. All-Inclusive Cruises & Cruise Vacation Packages

    Book a cruise package with Celebrity Cruises and get flights by Celebrity, a luxury vacation experience at The Retreat, and access to Alaska Cruisetours, Galapagos Packages, and more. Explore the best cruise deals with airfare and enjoy the benefits of our dedicated specialists and exclusive offers.

  14. Find the Best Cruise Deals for 2024-2026

    Find the cruise deal that's right for you. Take advantage of exclusive savings, limited-time offers, and deals on popular destinations including cruises to the Caribbean, The Bahamas, or Mexico! Save on your next vacation and book your cruise online with Carnival Cruise Line.

  15. Fly2Fun

    Details. Sail smoothly through flight planning! With Carnival's Fly2Fun Air + Cruise Packages you'll find flights from all major airlines. Our prices are competitive and you can easily book them through Carnival. These flights depart from major airports across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, South America and ...

  16. Find Cruises Deals, Promotions, & Packages

    Sail Into Savings: Up To 45% off Fares + More. Enjoy up to 45% off fares, up to $300 Onboard Credit and 50% Reduced Deposit!*. Include free 3rd & 4th guests on select cruises and watch majesty unfold as you see more Alaska glaciers than with any other cruise line and linger longer in Europe's iconic ports. Sale ends April 30.

  17. These Cruises Come With Airfare Included

    Price: Starting around $7,900. Why go: Silversea's Silver Whisper whisks passengers across the Mediterranean, ping-ponging between Greece and Turkey's most picturesque and lesser-known ports. The ...

  18. How to Score the Best All-Inclusive Cruise Deals

    Our recommendation is to consider any expedition cruise under $500 per person, per night a good deal. All-inclusive European river cruise deals land in the $350 to $450 range per person, per night ...

  19. The 12 Best All-Inclusive Cruises for 2024

    The Best All-Inclusive Cruises. ... Compare Silversea Cruises deals on ... package provides additional value to your cruise with 2-for-1 cruise fares, free round-trip airfare and airport transfers ...

  20. Best Cheap Flights, Cruise Deals, and More Now

    We found the best end-of-season travel sales on cheap flights, hotels, cruise deals, vacation packages, wellness and dining perks, and more. Shop the last-minute travel deals you don't want to ...

  21. The 13 Most Affordable Alaska Cruises for 2024 & Beyond

    Princess Cruises' wave season deals feature up to 40% off cruise prices, complimentary room upgrades, $100 deposits, and free fares for third and fourth guests in the same stateroom or suite.

  22. Saving on airfare for cruises to Alaska

    Using our summer 2023 sailing dates as an example, tickets from Houston to Vancouver start at $600 to $700 round-trip per person — and all but the priciest options require a connection. However, nonstop airfare prices to Seattle for the very same dates range from $300 to $450 round-trip per person. Obviously, prices vary by date and ...

  23. 5 Best Kids Sail Free Cruises for 2024 & Beyond

    The 5 Best Kids Sail Free Cruises for 2024 & Beyond. Save on your family cruise with these kids sail free deals. By Holly ... discounts on the total cruise cost, as well as free airfare for a ...

  24. CHEAP Last Minute Cruise Deals (2024)

    —7-Nt Caribbean Oceanview Cabin w/ Buy One Get One 60% Off Cruise Fares, 30% Off Extra Guests, up to $650 Onboard Credit + up to $600 Instant Savings

  25. Where to fly on a budget this summer

    Airfare to Colorado is looking more reasonable than other domestic vacation hubs. Nastro recently spotted a Miami-to-Denver, round-trip fare over the July Fourth holiday for just $199.

  26. 3 Reasons Royal Caribbean Stock Can Double Again in 2024

    Last year was pretty splash-tacular for Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL 1.38%) investors. The popular cruise line operator saw its shares more than double -- up 162% -- last year. Hot stocks rarely ...

  27. Cruise Line Air Packages: Pros and Cons

    Pros of Air Packages. The airfare might be a deal. The key word here is "might." There are some packages that have airfare with lower prices than you are likely to find on your own. European river ...