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Top Budget-Friendly Cruises

16 May 2024

Cruise ship sailing

One of the biggest cruise myths is that they are always expensive and for the super wealthy. And whilst some luxury cruises are definitely on the more expensive end due to the first-class service and luxurious experience they provide, it doesn’t mean that every cruise available on the market will be costly. There are so many incredible inexpensive cruises out there to choose from, from short breaks to longer, two-week getaways that will suit every budget.

If you’re searching for budget-friendly cruises, you’ve come to the right place. With a selection of affordable cruises on offer, Iglu Cruise is your first stop for the best cruise deals available. Keep reading to find out more about the top budget-friendly cruises available in 2024 and beyond! 

Contents:

  1. Budget-Friendly Cruises
  2. Budget-Friendly Cruise Destinations
  3. Budget-Friendly Cruise Lines
  4. Budget-Friendly Cruises FAQs

Budget-Friendly Cruises

Here’s our selection of the best budget-friendly cruises currently available, including 2024 cruises, 2025 cruises and more! Whether you’re travelling with your family, your partner or solo, these wallet-friendly escapes will tick all the boxes. 

MSC Virtuosa
MSC Virtuosa

Budget-Friendly Cruise Destinations

You might be wondering, what are the cheapest cruise destinations? We’ve rounded up a list of the most budget-friendly cruise destinations, when it comes to how much you’ll need to budget for food, to visit the top attractions and more. 

Kotor, Montenegro
Kotor, Montenegro

Cruises to Kotor

First up is Kotor in Montenegro. A town that’s frequently listed as one of the most underrated cruise destinations, Kotor is beloved for its breathtaking surroundings, colourful buildings and its selection of attractions. 

Attraction wise, the Ladder of Kotor is free to explore, St. Tryphon’s Cathedral will set you back €4 per person to visit the Treasury and there’s currently a €8 entrance fee to the Kotor Fortress*. Everything is within easy walking distance of the port, and the old town is easy to navigate. 

With cheap eateries throughout the town, you won’t have to worry about splashing the cash, from popular, centrally-located restaurants such as Resto Bar Taraca (with dishes starting around the €4 mark), to BBQ Tanjga (dishes starting from €6), you’ll easily be able to grab a wallet-friendly bite to eat throughout your stop off. 

A wide selection of Mediterranean cruises include stop-offs in Kotor. Here’s some of our top picks:

Cruises to Glasgow

Alternatively, if you’re looking to stay closer to home, why not opt for a British Isles cruise? Start your cruise in a relaxed way from a variety of UK cruise ports, including Dover, Liverpool and Portsmouth on one of the British Isles cruises available and sail to a variety of different destinations including to the vibrant city of Glasgow.

This bustling city is known for its unique architecture, friendly locals and naval past; with some of the most iconic ships being built there, including the Pioneer which was built for Isambard Kingdom Brunel. 

In terms of the top attractions, entrance to the Glasgow Cathedral is free, as is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The Riverside Museum offers tickets that start at £2.50 for up to an hour. There’s also plenty of cheap eats throughout Glasgow, from the popular El Perro Negro (burgers starting at £9) to Paesano Pizza (with pizzas starting at £6). 

Keep in mind that the Greenock cruise terminal is approximately 40 minutes from the city centre, therefore you might want to arrange a taxi or book an excursion that takes you from the cruise terminal to the centre.

Our top choice for British Isles cruises that stop off in Glasgow are:

Athens Cruises 

The capital of Greece, Athens is a bustling city that beautifully combines modern amenities with historic architecture. Home to some of the world’s most iconic attractions, including the Parthenon, Hadrian’s Arch and the Theatre of Dionysus, it’s every history-enthusiast’s dream. 

When cruising to Athens, you’ll stop off at the port of Piraeus; this is around 40 minutes from Athens. Many cruise lines offer a shuttle service (often at an additional cost) or you can grab a taxi/train into it. 

Due to the popularity of the city, the top attractions such as the Parthenon & Acropolis tickets are around €25 each, as are tickets to the Theatre of Dionysus. There are plenty of free attractions to visit though, including Hadrian’s Arch and a selection of museums including the Museum of Engravings and Graphic Arts and the Museum of Greek Folk Instruments. 

Food-wise, there’s plenty of affordable options available, from delicious traditional Greek food like souvlaki and gyros available at street restaurants like Ahmed’s Gyros (for around €1-5 a person) to falafel pockets at Aiolou 51 (currently available for €2.80).

Our top choices for cruises that stop off in Athens (Piraeus) or start from Athens are:

Cruise to Valletta

Valletta is rapidly becoming a popular cruise destination, finding its way onto a variety of Mediterranean itineraries. And what’s even better, is that the centre of this city is within a 15 minute drive (or a 25 minute walk) of the cruise terminal! 

Throughout Valletta, you’ll find an abundance of attractions - with the majority of them being free to enjoy; these include the Upper & Lower Barrakka Gardens, the City Gate, the Church of Our Lady of Victory and the Saluting Battery.  

Alongside free attractions, there’s plenty of affordable restaurants to enjoy, including the Is Suq Tal Belt food court, with a range of different food stalls to The Submarine sandwich shop (with items around the €5-€10 mark) that’s perfect for lunch. 

Our top picks for cruises that stop off in Valletta are:

Porto Cruises

And finally, we have Porto. A picturesque city in Portugal, Porto is visited by a range of cruise lines, from medium and large vessels to river cruises. The Leixoes cruise terminal is also within a 20 minute drive of the centre.

Whilst in Porto, there’s lots to see and do, including crossing the Dom Luis I bridge which connects the city centre to Vila Nova de Gaia. Alongside the bridge, other top attractions in the city include its variety of wine cellars (with a lot of them offering free tours and tastings), Clerigos Tower (there’s a €8 entrance fee for the tower and Clerigos Museum) and the Livraria Lello library (with a €8 entrance fee). 

Free attractions include certain museums (such as the Tram Museum and Soares dos Reis National Museum) which are free on Sunday mornings, the Barredo Stairs and the popular Sao Bento train station that's adorned with 20,000 hand-painted azulejo tiles. 

Wallet-friendly restaurants include the Oficina dos Rissois (with dishes starting at €1.50), Casa Expresso (under €5 per dish) and O Diplomata (from €6).

Our top choices for cruises that stop off in Porto (Leixoes) are:

Budget-Friendly Cruise Lines

Cruise prices will vary depending on the itinerary, cruise line and the inclusions. However, there are certain cruise lines that offer a variety of cruise deals throughout the year; often with onboard credit, low deposits, free upgrades and more as part of the cruise fare. 

Couple on Marella Cruises
Couple on Marella Cruises

Some examples of these budget-friendly cruise lines include:

Budget-Friendly Cruises FAQs

Are there budget-friendly family cruises?

Of course! Whilst there might be a misconception that all family cruises are extortionate, there’s a variety of cruises out there that won’t break the bank, onboard cruise ships that feature amenities that will appeal to all ages- from the little ones to adults.

To see a variety of these family-friendly cruises, see our blog - Best Family Cruises Summer 2024 - Late Availability

Family on Wonder of the Seas
Family on Wonder of the Seas

Which cruise line is the most affordable?

A variety of cruise lines offer cruise deals and sales throughout the year, giving guests the opportunity to find a cruise that suits their budget and preference. However, as mentioned above, some cruise lines are known for their frequent fantastic cruise deals, including P&O Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises. 

What is the cheapest month to go on a cruise?

During January to March each year, cruise lines will offer a variety of incredible deals in their Wave sales. Often thought of to be the best time to book a cruise, you’ll be able to benefit from spectacular savings, along with some other benefits such as onboard spend, money off second passengers and more. 

It’s important to keep in mind that the most expensive period to travel in is usually summer as it’s when all the kids are on their school holidays, resulting in a higher demand for getaways (and therefore higher prices). 

Other factors that will affect the cost of cruises is how old the ship is (you tend to get fantastic deals on older ships) and what the weather is like in the destination you want to travel to. For example, cruises to the Mediterranean, Canary Islands and Greek islands are cheaper in the winter months (due to the colder climate), and the cheapest months to cruise to the Caribbean are May, September and October (due to the hurricane season/being out of school holidays). 

Which cruise lines offer the best value for money?

There are several factors that will affect just how ‘value for money’ a cruise is. These include what you get included in your cruise fare, the cost of the cruise per person, per night and the itinerary itself. 

Cruise lines that include a lot in the base fare include:

Book Your Next Getaway with Iglu Cruise Today

Interested in booking a budget-friendly cruise? We’ve got a wide selection of fantastic cruise deals available, with a myriad of cruise lines and itineraries to choose from. Book your dream cruise with us today and get ready for a holiday you’ll remember forever.

You can even take advantage of a range of exclusive Iglu Cruise deals, with so many incredible offers from cruises that appeared on Travelzoo to other cruises that have spectacular discounts! You won't want to miss out on these spectacular savings.



*May 2024 prices. 

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