These are the best cruise lines for the money

Your next cruise may cost less money than you think.
Since a cruise is basically a package deal, with lodging, food and entertainment all included in one price, a vacation at sea is often a better value than a land-based getaway – if you choose wisely. To help you make the most of your travel budget, U.S. News ranked the following cruise lines based on a methodology that factors in itinerary affordability, health ratings and reputation among experts and travelers.

Costa Cruises is one of the best cruise lines for the money

A member of the Carnival family, Costa Cruises is primarily based in Europe. The fleet offers lower rates than its competitors, particularly for its Mediterranean itineraries. Although it offers family-friendly amenities, Costa’s ships are also well-suited to adults, with activities like dance classes and theater productions. Cruise rates cover meals served in the main dining room and at the buffet, but note that you’ll have to purchase a drink package to pay for alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages throughout the ship.

MSC Cruises is one of the best cruise lines for the money

With a limited selection of North American departure ports, Swiss-based MSC Cruises caters primarily to European cruisers. But even if you have to fly to a foreign port, you’ll find the cost of an MSC voyage to be much less than a typical European land vacation. The line allows you to sail to destinations around the world at extremely reasonable rates, with some Caribbean itineraries costing less than $100 per night. On top of that, children ages 11 and younger can sail for free throughout the year (subject to availability), while kids 12 to 17 can sail for free on select low- and midseason voyages.(GETTY IMAGES)