Celebrate the start of Europe's prime cruising season by embarking on a one-of-a-kind sailing. Whether you prefer the Mediterranean or Northern Europe, here are our favorite cruise itineraries under $500 per person. (Keep in mind that cruise fares change frequently, so act fast to score these deals).
Why it’s Great: This 7-night itinerary takes passengers around the Mediterranean and makes calls in Italy, Greece, and Croatia. You'll sail roundtrip from Venice on board the Costa Deliziosa, which features an Aperol spritz bar, a 4D theater, cooking demonstrations, a disco, and an array of restaurants (naturally). Note that Costa is popular among European travelers, and your fellow passengers are more likely to come from Italy than Iowa — a fun bonus if you enjoy traveling like a local.
Sail Date: December 15, 2019
Price: Interior cabins from $349 per person
Why it’s Great: If you’re in need of a mini-escape, consider embarking on this short-but-sweet Western Mediterranean itinerary on the Norwegian Epic, which embarks from Barcelona and disembarks in Rome. The ship spends one day at sea and the other in port in Naples. As you cruise, be sure to take advantage of live musical performances in the evenings, along with the 20-plus eateries on board.
Sail Date: May 12, 2019
Price: Interior cabins from $199 per person; balcony cabins from $249 per person; mini suites from $349 per person.
Why it’s Great: Looking to book a non-Mediterranean Europe cruise? Consider MSC’s 7-night Northern Europe itinerary, which sails round trip from Hamburg, Germany, and makes stops in Le Havre, France; Southampton, United Kingdom; Bruges, Belgium; and Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Passengers will cruise on board the family-friendly MSC Preziosa, which features a kids and teens club, a waterpark, and a tropical-themed mocktail bar for those under 18.
Sail Date: May 19, 2019
Price: Ocean view cabins from $499 per person.
Why it’s Great: This itinerary sails roundtrip from Southampton, United Kingdom, and stops in historic Cherbourg, France. While there, make sure to visit the local aquarium, explore the majestic Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey, and have lunch at a French bistro (as you people-watch, of course). Like Costa, P&O isn’t well known among Americans, so you’ll likely be cruising with a lot of European travelers.
Sail Date: August 8, 2019
Price: Interior cabins from $258 (229 EUR), ocean view cabins from $281 (249 EUR), balcony cabins from $337 (299 EUR), suites from $461 (409 EUR).
Why it’s Great: Experience the Netherlands on this three-night itinerary, which sails roundtrip from Dover, United Kingdom, and calls on Amsterdam and Rotterdam, respectively. In Amsterdam, visit the Anne Frank House, wander through the Van Gogh Museum, and stroll through the breathtakingly beautiful Keukenhof Gardens. Once you arrive in Rotterdam, check out many architectural wonders and stop by Kinderdijk (a UNESCO World Heritage site), which features striking windmills and picturesque surroundings. Also: Fred Olsen is another primarily-European cruise line, so expect to sail alongside (mainly) French and British passengers.
Sail Date: March 19, 2020
Price: Interior and ocean view cabins from $337 (299 EUR), and balcony cabins from $483 (429 EUR).