How to Find Last Minute Cruise Deals

by Jessica

August 17th, 2010

Whether it’s because you just got some unexpected vacation time, you’re a procrastinator, or you consider hunting down travel deals a competitive sport, being on the lookout for last minute cruise deals is always a good idea. Cruises are some of the most budget-friendly ways to travel (so long as you’re not drinking your savings at the cruise ship’s bar), and not just because you’re booking both your transport and accommodation together. Last minute cruise deals may not give you the same number of options when it comes to destinations or amenities, but they make for super cheap vacations.

What exactly is a last minute cruise deal? Last minute cruises aren’t cruises that are planned at the last minute – the cruise lines have their calendars worked out months and years in advance. Rather, when you see last minute cruise deals they’re available because a cruise ship hasn’t sold out and the cruise line is trying to fill more of its cabins. After all, a cruise line makes more money if a cabin is occupied (even at a reduced rate) than if it sits empty during an entire cruise.

>> Shop for last minute cruise deals

There are a few good ways to find last minute cruise deals:

  • If you use a travel agent, tell them you’re looking for last minute cruise deals and how much notice you need. They can keep an eye out for last minute specials, either for a particular date range or a particular location, or both.
  • To avoid using a travel agent, sign up for cruise deal alerts on booking websites. You’ll get alerts delivered to your email inbox so you don’t have to search several websites every day, and you’ll be able to pounce on a deal when you see it.
  • Get to know the various cruise specialty websites that focus more on insider cruise information – including last minute deals – and sign up for their newsletters if they have any.
  • Look for “repositioning cruises” in addition to last minute cruise deals. These cruises are excellent bargains, whether or not it’s a last minute booking, and they’re especially good at the last minute.

As you might guess, you’ll have fewer options when it comes to last minute cruise deals than you would if you were booking a cruise further in advance. Your top choice for a destination or a cruise line may not be available, for instance, so if you’re more focused on where you go or what cruise line you’re on then crossing your fingers you’ll get what you want on a last minute cruise deal may not be the best option. If your primary concern, however, is a cruise getaway that’s a bargain price, last minute cruise deals are an excellent way to go.

photo by k1ng

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