Even if you’re short on time or money, that doesn’t mean coming up short on fun. Spice up summer with a last-minute cruise getaway that won’t break the bank. We’ve rounded up five quick and easy summer cruises that are setting sail soon from close-to-home ports. Best of all, each of these three- to five-night mini-voyages — taking off to ports in the Bahamas, Bermuda, Mexico and more — ring up from as little as $219.
The itinerary: Five-night Bermuda cruises sail round trip from Bayonne, N.J. (just across the river from Manhattan), this summer. Set sail aboard one of Royal Caribbean’s two Saturday departures this August and enjoy two days at sea and another two in port at King’s Wharf, Bermuda. Set off for excursions to the isle’s famed pink-sand beaches (best enjoyed under summer sun), or amble the cobbled streets of the UNESCO-protected town of St. George.
The cruise ship: Onboard the 3,114-passenger Explorer of the Seas, look out for fun features like an ice-skating rink (complete with ice shows) and the Royal Promenade, a nearly ship-length “boulevard” lined with restaurants, boutiques and lounges (it's also the venue for onboard street parties and parades).
The deal: Rates for inside cabins start at $699/person, or nab a balcony cabin from $1,299. royalcaribbean.com
The itinerary: The Big Easy makes it oh-so-easy to escape for a quick break in Mexico. Hop aboard one of Carnival’s five-night round-trip sailings from New Orleans and make way for Mexican ports in Cozumel and Progreso. In Cozumel, set out for some of the world’s best snorkeling, or sign up for an excursion to the mesmerizing Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza via Progreso.
The cruise ship: The 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation offers plenty of Carnival’s signature “Fun Ship” features, including a 115-foot-long water slide, an adults-only retreat, a massive spa, and complimentary kids’ programs.
The deal: Rates for inside cabins start at $219/person for various sailing dates in July, August and September; note that, short of suites, there are no balcony cabins on this ship. carnival.com
The itinerary: Take off for three- or four-night Norwegian Cruise Line escapes to the Bahamas, sailing round-trip from Miami, with stops in Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegian Cruise Line’s own private island). For popular excursions, pop over to Nassau’s Atlantis Resort, with its dolphin encounter and marine habitats, or enjoy your (almost) own private island paradise on Great Stirrup Cay, where snorkel gear, wave runners and private cabanas are on offer.
The cruise ship: The 2,002-passenger Norwegian Sky offers five included-in-the-rates dining options, plenty of entertainment (from comedy clubs to piano bars), and youth programs for kids and teens.
The deal: Rates for inside cabins start at $229/person for select sailings between July and September. ncl.com
4. California coastal cruse from Vancouver in September — from $654
The itinerary: For summer’s last hurrah, head out on Disney Cruise Line’s one-off California coastal sailing from Vancouver, Canada, to San Francisco and Los Angeles (where it disembarks) this September. The five-night cruise offers easy access to the cultural treasures of three great West Coast cities as well as excursions to breathtaking natural oases like the Muir Woods near San Francisco.
The cruise ship: The 2,400-passenger Disney Wonder offers plenty of family fun, with a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed deck party, fireworks at sea and Broadway-style musicals featuring Disney characters (including from “Toy Story — The Musical”).
The deal: Rates for inside cabins start at $654/person for the sole September 9 departure — or upgrade to balcony cabins from $914. disneycruise.com
5. Journey to Canada from NYC — from $299
The itinerary: Hop aboard Carnival’s five-night Canadian voyage to Saint John, New Brunswick; and Halifax, Nova Scotia this summer, with four cruises embarking round trip from New York City between late July and early September. Head out on a river kayaking and beachfront lobster-bake adventure or, for travelers with kids in tow, try out Saint John’s brand-new Thomas the Tank Engine excursion.
The cruise ship: The 2,758-passenger Carnival Glory offers four swimming pools, complete with a giant waterslide and poolside movie screen; a 15,000-square-foot spa and a staggering 18 lounges and bars.
The deal: Rates for inside cabins start at $299/person for the September 2 departure, or upgrade to balcony cabins for $519; additional sailings are available in July and August. carnival.com