The Best Cheap Cruise Lines for Couples in 2024

Best Cheap Cruise Lines for Couples
Source: iStock Photo

Advertorial: This post contains sponsored content, advertisements, or affiliate links. Read our full advertorial disclosure here.

Going on a cruise is an increasingly popular vacation option for couples looking for romance, adventure, and value. With so many cruise lines and ships to choose from at vastly different price points, it can be tricky to find an affordable cruise that also provides a high-quality experience suited for couples.

This comprehensive guide compares the top low-cost cruise lines for couples focused on romantic escapes. We examine each cruise line’s best cheap ships, pricing, popular cruise destinations, dining options, entertainment, activities, accommodations, and overall value based on cruise reviews and traveler feedback.

Use this guide to find the Best Cheap Cruise Lines for Couples you’ll enjoy as a couple on a budget.

Best Cheap Cruise Lines for Couples Comparison

Before detailing each low-cost cruise line, here’s an overview comparing the best key features and differences when choosing the most affordable cruise for your relationship getaway:

Cruise LinePrice Per DayMost Popular ShipsDiningEntertainmentBest For
Carnival<$100 per dayCarnival Magic, Carnival DreamCasual buffets, upcharge restaurantsShows, comedy, barsFun party atmosphere
Royal Caribbean<$150 per dayExplorer of the Seas, Rhapsody of the SeasMain dining room, Windjammer buffet, upcharge specialty diningBroadway shows, ice skating, FlowRider surf simulatorActive couples with wide entertainment variety
Norwegian<$150 per dayNorwegian Escape, Breakaway, GetawayFreestyle dining with multiple restaurant optionsBroadway and comedy showsRelaxed dining with no set schedules
Princess<$150 per dayRuby Princess, Crown PrincessTraditional main dining rooms, buffetProduction shows, musiciansLow-key mature crowds seeking luxury
MSC Cruises<$100 per dayMSC Seaside, MSC MeravigliaMulti-course meals, buffetsFull-scale theater productions, comedyAuthentic European vibe

As you evaluate cheap cruise lines suitable for a romantic couples vacation, keep the following key considerations in mind:

Price: To keep costs down, look at older or smaller ships which offer lower rates along with discounted last minute cruise deals. We define cheap as less than $150 per person per night.

Popular ships & destinations: The best affordable cruise lines have modernized ships sailing popular routes like the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Mexico that won’t feel dated.

Dining: Several dining options from casual to upscale are ideal, even on budget ships, to enjoy romantic dinners with your partner.

Entertainment & activities: Production shows, live music, bars, and events catered towards couples make for a great romantic escape.

Service & amenities: While cheap cruise ships cut costs in certain areas, you still want good service, cleanliness, and cabin amenities to meet your needs as a couple.

Keep reading for detailed comparisons of the top low-cost cruise lines for couples. Discover each cruise line’s strengths and weaknesses along with average prices to find your best match.

Read Also: Best 7 Cheapest Cruise Destinations

1. Carnival Cruise Line

Known for its famous Fun Ships, Carnival cruise lines offer some of the most affordable cruise vacations. Their ships generally have a lively, party-like atmosphere suited more towards a younger demographic of couples and groups. However, they still remain one of the best cruise lines for couples seeking an enjoyable, value-packed escape.

Best Cheap Cruise Lines for Couples
Source: iStok Photo. Roatan, Honduras – March 23, 2011: The M.S. Carnival Valor, owned by Carnival Cruise Lines, docked at Mahogany Bay on the Caribbean island of Roatan.

Price for Couples: Starting around $100 per person per night

Best Cheap Ships for Couples: Carnival Magic, Carnival Dream

Popular Destinations: Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico

Dining: Main dining rooms for dinner with set seating times along with casual buffet options. Upcharge specialty dining available.

Entertainment: Carnival ships offer Vegas-style production shows, comedy shows, multiple lively bars with live music and entertainment well into the night. Adult only Serenity area available.

Onboard Amenities: Multiple swimming pools including adults only options, spas, gyms, and outdoor recreation areas.

Pros: Very affordable rates with frequent sales and last minute deals. Lively atmosphere with plenty to do day and night.

Cons: Older ships with more basic amenities compared newer luxury ships. Expect a livelier party crowd.

Best For: Younger couples and groups seeking a very cheap but fun cruise vacation with lots of entertainment and activity options.

Insider Tip: Avoid Spring Break sail dates which draw big college party crowds. Opt for cheap last minute deals for smaller crowds.

Price Example: 7-night Western Caribbean cruise from $429 per person

See Carnival Cruises Deals

2. Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean offers innovative ships with award-winning entertainment and activities catering to an active crowd at affordable price points. Their mid-size and older ships have very low rates while still offering fine dining, bars, pools, entertainment and more to delight couples.

Price for Couples: Starting around $150 per person per night

Best Cheap Ships for Couples: Explorer of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas

Popular Destinations: Bahamas, Caribbean, Bermuda

Dining: Main dining room, buffet, and upcharge specialty restaurants available.

Entertainment: Broadway-style shows, ice skating rinks, casinos, comedy clubs, theme parties.

Onboard Amenities: Rock climbing walls, pools, spas, basketball courts, mini golf, and outdoor movies.

Pros: Packed with activities, entertainment options and dining variety even on cheaper ships.

Cons: Older ships have smaller cabins. With large passenger counts, some venues can get crowded.

Best For: Active couples who enjoy adventure, entertainment, and having lots of options.

Insider Tip: Avoid school holiday and summer sail dates for the lowest crowd levels.

Price Example 7-night Alaska cruises from $562 per person

Browse Cheap Royal Caribbean Cruises

3. Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian pioneered freestyle cruising which offers a relaxed approach to dining and scheduling compared to traditional set dining times. Couples can choose from a variety of dining and entertainment venues at their leisure across Norwegian’s large yet affordable fleet.

Price for Couples: Starting around $150 per person per night

Best Cheap Ships for Couples: Norwegian Escape, Breakaway, Getaway

Popular Destinations: Caribbean, Europe, Bahamas

Dining: Up to 28 dining options per ship ranging from French to steakhouses.

Entertainment: Award-winning Broadway shows, comedy clubs, vibrant bars with themes like country music or prohibition era.

Onboard Amenities: Multiple swimming pools, expansive Mandara Spa, large gyms, jogging tracks.

Pros: With freestyle cruising, couples can dine and explore ships based on their preferences with no set schedules. No formal nights.

Cons: Extra fees add up for specialty dining and activities like go-karts or escape rooms.

Best For: Independent couples who enjoy flexibility to do activities on their own timeline and trying different dining venues.

Insider Tip: Take advantage of discounts for specialty dining and wi-fi bundles when booking.

Price Example: 7-night Mediterranean cruise from $799 per person

See Current Norwegian Cruise Deals

4. Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises attract an older, calmer crowd making their affordable ships ideal for couples seeking a romantic low-key escape. While prices remain low, their ships offer refined dining and entertainment options in an elegant setting.

Price for Couples: Starting around $150 per person per night

Best Cheap Ships for Couples: Ruby Princess, Crown Princess

Popular Destinations: Caribbean, Alaska, Europe

Dining: Traditional set time main dining rooms plus buffet and casual dining options.

Entertainment: Production style shows and lounge performers. Movies Under the Stars.

Onboard Amenities: Multiple hot tubs and pools, Lotus Spa treatments, fitness center and jogging track.

Pros: Sophisticated atmosphere with formal nights and dining. Enrichment activities like wine tastings and guest lecturers.

Cons: Not suited as much for a lively party crowd, especially couples under 50.

Best For: Mature couples and sophisticated travelers who enjoy traditional dining, enrichment activities and a refined environment.

Insider Tip: Avoid Spring and Summer breaks plus holidays which draw more families.

Price Example: 7-night Alaska cruise from $699 per person

Check Princess Cruises Deals

Read Also: What to Do When Traveling on a Cruise Ship with Family

5. MSC Cruises

Europe’s largest cruise line, MSC Cruises offers an affordable introduction to European-style cruising for North American couples. Their ships boast high-end amenities and activities includingshows, luxury spas,sports facilities, dining variety,and more to delight romancing couples.

Price for Couples: Starting around $100 per person per night

Best Cheap Ships for Couples: MSC Seaside, MSC Meraviglia

Popular Destinations: Caribbean, Mediterranean, Northern Europe

Dining: Up to four complimentary main dining rooms spanning global cuisine plus buffets.

Entertainment: Full-scale theater productions, live music, cabaret lounge.

Onboard Amenities: Swimming pools, infinity hot tubs, spas, fitness classes, sport courts and simulators.

Pros: Offers sophisticated European vibe with internationally-inspired entertainment, food, and decor. Ports of call provide exposure to European cultures.

Cons: Announcements may only be offered in various European languages at times. Crowds tend to be European visitors.

Best For: Couples who enjoy trying global cuisine and experiencing European culture while cruising.

Insider Tip: Free Evening Chic dress code nights add sophisticated romance for dinner dates.

Price Example: 7-night Caribbean cruise from $419 per person

Browse Discounts on MSC Cruise Deals

What To Consider When Choosing A Cheap Cruise For Couples

Keep the following important criteria in mind for selecting the best value cruise line for your romantic couples getaway:


Popular itinerary destinations for couples include tropical locales like the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico, and Bermuda plus Europe and Mediterranean options. Look for lower-priced cruises on older ships sailing these coveted regions.

Price & Value:

To get genuine value for your money as a couple, choose cruise ships offering lower price points while still providing modern amenities, dining choices, entertainment, activities, and service. Compare inclusions across cruise lines.

Ambiance & Experience:

Each cruise line targets somewhat different demographics from lively party to sophisticated. Make sure the vibe and crowd appeals to you both. Formal and informal ship areas allow couples to tailor their desired experience.

Star Ratings & Reviews:

Read both cruise line ratings and individual ship reviews carefully when choosing the best match for your couple’s vacation expectations and budget. Newer vs older ships impact overall quality within the same cruise line.

Onboard Amenities & Facilities:

To enjoy romance, you want amenities like upscale specialty restaurants, couples’ spa treatments, and perhaps casinos for exciting date nights. Seek ships with many bars, lounges, and an adults-only sundeck.

Using these criteria and ship comparisons above, you’re sure to select the ideal cruise line delivering genuine value, wonderful destinations, and romantic moments treasured for a lifetime – all at affordable rates.

Top 5 Cheapest Cruise Destinations for Couples

Beyond evaluating cruise lines themselves, you can save substantially on your romantic voyage by choosing lower cost departure ports and destinations.

Some of the most popular routes also offer very cheap pricing options, especially if you snag last minute cruise deals shoulder season.

Here are 5 of the cheapest cruise regions for couples:

1. Bahamas

Cruises to the nearby tropical Bahamas islands from Florida carry very low rates, even on premium ships from lines like Royal Caribbean. Relax together on sandy beaches or try thrilling activities like snorkeling shipwrecks or swimming with dolphins.

2. Caribbean

Affordable Caribbean sailings often include stops at tropical ports across different islands like Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and more. Enjoy adventure excursions or simply relax with island drinks on these cheap sun-filled cruises. Islands like Aruba, St. Thomas, St. Maarten have regular budget itineraries.

3. Mexico

From California departure ports, affordable Mexico itineraries often visit Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, and Ensenada for under $100 per person per night. Enjoy magnificent beaches and get a taste for Mexican culture.

4. Canada & New England

Canada/New England voyages offer quaint historic towns in Nova Scotia, old-world Quebec along the St Lawrence with affordable fall foliage between $100-$200 per person per night. Visit renown sites like Halifax on a budget.

5. Europe (Mediterranean)

Quite often cruise fares between select European ports cost almost as little as a hotel stay would. Explore romantic Mediterranean destinations like Sicily, Naples, Marseilles or Mykonos starting around $100 per person per night.

Watch for last minute cruise deals and off-peak sailings to Europe for unforgettable value experiences discovering iconic ports as couples.

Read Also: What to Do When a Ship Lands in the Ocean: A Guide for Pilots

How To Get Cheap Cruise Deals for Couples

Use the following tips and strategies to unlock the most affordable cruise fares for your next romantic voyage:

  • Book an Inside Cabin – Skip the balcony and ocean views for the lowest room rates. You won’t be spending much time in your cabin anyway!
  • Try an Older Smaller Ship – Find cheaper pricing on older cruise ships while still getting modern amenities and clean comfortable rooms after recent renovations.
  • Sail Shoulder Season – Cruise fares drop significantly during Spring and Fall between peak and offpeak periods with more last-minute cruise deal savings.
  • Take a Short Getaway Cruise – Itineraries under 7 days typically have the lowest introductory price points year-round such as 3 or 4 night Bahamas escapes.
  • Drive to Departure Ports – Skip the airfare and hotel stays by driving to coastal departure ports in Florida and other home states for domestic itineraries.
  • Watch for Sales and Specials – Sign up for cruise line emails and check their websites for the newest wav of discounts, reduced deposits, two-for-one fares and bonus incentives saving over 50% at times or more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do cruise ships have romantic activities for couples?
Many larger cruise ships offer designated sundecks or lounge spaces just for adults. Look for romantic extras like couples’ massages, dinner for two packages at specialty restaurants, dance lessons, wine tastings classes, evening entertainment and shows.

What’s better – newer vs older cruise ships for couples?
While shiny new megaships have the latest attractions, older ships offer smaller crowds and often very low prices after refurbishments. Focus less on ship launch date and more evaluating specific venues, price, itinerary and reviews.

Should couples take a longer or shorter cheap cruise?
With more days at sea together, 7+ night cruises maximize your romantic escape but cost more. Short 3-5 night getaways offer lower fares for couples testing out a line or squeezed for time. Determine priorities between onboard days vs destinations.

How do Cruise Line loyalty programs help couples save?
After your first sailing, enroll in cruise liner loyalty programs for rewards points with member-only savings and perks. Accumulate perks like shipboard credits, free drinks, WiFi and specialty dining packages.

When should couples book a cheap cruise to get the best deal?
Booking a cruise 6 months to over a year ahead will offer more choices and chance of sales. But cruises deeply discount unsold rooms within 90 days before departure if you can be flexible. Sign up for last minute alerts.

Is one cruise line better than others for romantic trips?
Most major cruise lines now offer adult only spaces, romantic dining options, and couples activities. Focus more on price, overall vibe, included amenities, entertainment and crowd demographics when comparing lines.

What’s the difference in Caribbean vs Bahamas or Mexico cruises?
Caribbean trips visit various islands like Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Aruba through a region with diverse scenery, culture and adventure opportunities requiring more time onboard. Bahamas and Mexico long weekends focus more on beach destinations and relaxations closer to home.

Are drinks and WiFi included on cheap cruise lines?
To lower fares, items like alcoholic drinks, specialty coffees, and WiFi internet require onboard packages or per use fees. However Princess Cruises and recently Carnival Cruise line now offer drink packages free as standard fare on Caribbean sailings less than 5 days only.

Should couples get insurance when booking cheap cruises?
Yes, couples should protect cruise investments with either cancel for any reason or trip interruption policies costing 5-10% of your cruise fare for 100% future cruise credits if plans change ahead or issues mid-sailing prevent staying your whole trip.

Hopefully these cheap cruise tips help you pick the perfect romantic cruise line and ship for your budget! Let me know if you need any other cruise questions answered.

Advertorial: This post contains sponsored content, advertisements, or affiliate links. Read our full advertorial disclosure here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *