The Perfect Cruise For First Timers

Best for: Value hunters

Why: Carnival is the line for “everycruiser,” appealing to a broad spectrum of vacationers who share one common trait: They all want a super-fun escape without going bankrupt. The combination of Carnival’s sizable fleet (25 ships), emphasis on popular destinations (Caribbean, Bahamas and Mexico) and dedication to accessible three- to seven-night itineraries translates to low prices and frequent deals. Cruises typically start around a reasonable $80 per person, per night, and can be nabbed for lower still with promotional fares. Carnival keeps its cabins simple, with plenty of standard insides and outsides, and does not go overboard with fee-extra venues onboard (access to specialty dining venues like Guy’s Burger Joint, Serenity adults-only retreats and Punchliner Comedy Club shows, for instance, are all free of charge). For the best budget rates, avoid holiday periods (especially school vacations).

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