Which budget-friendly cruise line is for you? It can be overwhelming when the cruise ship, itinerary, price and the vibe all need to be considered before booking. With that in mind, we've made it simple by creating a cheat sheet with a rundown on budget-friendly cruise line pros and cons. This guide is your starting point for picking the right affordable cruise line for your next holiday.
Book a P&O cruise if you want a fuss-free holiday, are a first-time cruiser or a family wanting a Pacific getaway.
- Caters to Australasian cruisers
- Foodcourt style dining at The Pantry
- Massive selection of short and longer itineraries
- Affordable prices
- Perfect for a family cruise
- Not a luxury experience
- Party-vibe style cruise line
- Casual atmosphere
- Doesn’t sail beyond Australasia/South Pacific
P&O is the perfect cruise line for those who want a cost-effective, low-key holiday. You’ll step aboard and find most meals (specialty dining not included), accommodation and activities are all taken care of in your fare. Adults can retreat to The Oasis area, and kids can take part in the activity-filled clubs. Laid-back holidays in the sun are a top priority for P&O, and while there is plenty of fun to be had, there are also lots of opportunities to relax, socialise and enjoy your getaway.
Book a Carnival getaway if you’ve got a young family wanting a fun holiday that includes activities and entertainment for everyone.
- Plenty of fun activities for kids and adults
- Lots of interconnecting cabins, perfect for families
- Several ships homeported in Australia for choice
- Social WiFi plan means you can stay in touch for a small cost
- Food court style buffet with different themed stations
- School holidays bring lots of children onboard
- Geared toward a younger crowd
- Limited specialty dining options
Carnival is waiting for those needing to inject a whole pile of fun into their cruise experience. There’s a reason Carnival is “The Worlds Most Popular Cruise Line”. Young children will love attending 'Camp Carnival' clubs, while teens can zip around water slides, aqua parks, mini golf and outdoor movies. Adults in need of entertainment have an array of bars, night clubs and late night karaoke.
There’s a mixture of casual and elegant dining. We recommend Carnivals famous ‘Chocolate Melting Cake’ for an onboard treat. You’ll love the upbeat, energetic vibe on these cruise ships and while there’s space to rest and relax, you’ll always find something fun to get involved in should you wish.
Book a Royal Caribbean escape for the perfect family-friendly cruise. If you’re looking to experience innovative ships with plenty to see and do - this is the line for you.
- The largest ships on earth (Oasis Class)
- One of the best family cruise lines
- Floating theme park
- The fastest internet at sea
- Bionic Bar features robotic bartenders
- North Star capsule offers the most expansive cruise views
- Incredible onboard entertainment
- Family-heavy cruise line
- Many features aimed at active people
- The sheer size of ships may put some people off
This innovative cruise line leads when it comes to offering family fun sailings catering to all ages. If you’re cruising as a family, Royal Caribbean is an excellent choice. They offer exhilarating activities to keep the kids entertained (onboard surfing and zip lines, to name a few). Adults stay relaxed and happy with poolside cocktails and incredible entertainment. Did we mention Royal’s worldwide itineraries and offshore excursions?
Norwegian Cruise Line
Sail away with Norwegian Cruise Line if you’re a solo traveller, a family with older kids or a group of mates looking for an unstructured getaway.
- No tipping expected
- Freestyle dining
- Wide range of scenic itineraries worldwide
- Studio staterooms for solo travellers
- Interconnecting staterooms (great for families with older kids)
- Incredible onboard entertainment
- Not great for those who prefer structured cruise holidays
- Good quality but not classed as luxurious
- Less suited for mature cruisers
Norwegian are a freestyle cruise line, meaning you have no schedule and can do whatever you want, whenever you want. There’s plenty of dining options as well as dinner/show combinations. Fancy a cocktail and a dance? Head along to one of the late night bars or parties like White Hot or Glow (depending on which ship class you’re on). Guests have the chance to cruise to some amazing destinations with Norwegian Cruise Line. We recommend one of their epic itineraries around the Norwegian fjords. Did we mention their offshore excursions like dog sledding in Alaska or a Game of Thrones tour around Dubrovnik? Get closer than ever to your destination with a Norwegian cruise.
These cruise lines may have similarities, but each offers guests a slightly different, cost-effective holiday at sea. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to travelling with kids book a P&O or Carnival cruise. Do you have older children or want a solo adventure? Royal Caribbean or Norwegian Cruise Line offer precisely what you’re seeking.