If you know how to find a bargain last minute cruise, you could potentially cruise for as little as $50 per person per night. Considering this price includes all meals, accommodation and transport, it’s a huge bargain. As with all last minute deals, you need to be in the right situation to be able to take them, they don’t suit someone who needs to book in their holidays long in advance, and you cant be too picky with your destination, as some cruise destinations are more likely to go on sale than others. Read on to find out exactly how you can score a bargain last minute cruise deal.
Don’t expect to travel at peak times
If you want to score a bargain cruise you can’t expect to travel at peak times. Cruise during school holidays, Christmas, New Years and Easter will usually be far more expensive, so it’s best to avoid these times. I find the best time of year to score a bargain cruise is cruise leaving from early November until early December. Twice now we have cruise for around $600 per person for a 12 night cruise, on leaving early November, the other early December.
Don’t be picky about your room
When booking a last minute cruise you can’t be picky about your room location and category, the cruise lines will be discounting the rooms they have left, and these may be in more undesirable locations of the ship. Often interiors will be the last rooms available, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with these, especially when you score them for around $50 per night.
It’s also worth understanding how guarantee rooms work, as you will often find these available when cruise lines are trying to fill their ships. These rooms will be cheaper than other rooms in the same category, but the catch is that you don’t get to choose which room your get, the cruise line will choose for you. You will get put in either a room in the category you booked, or a higher category if you are lucky. So if you book a large inside room, you will get out in a large inside room or a higher category, but you won’t get put into a lower category. Booking a guarantee can be a bit of a gamble, but it can also be a great way to score a great deal.
Wait until the cancellation period ends
If you have a particular cruise in mind, waiting until the cancellation period ends can be one of the best ways to score a discount. This period is generally 60-90 days before the cruise date, and is the time when bookings can no longer be cancelled without penalty. There will often be a flurry of cancellations at this time, and it is exactly how we managed to recently get a great deal on a cruise we had been keeping an eye on.
Look out for repositioning cruises
Repositioning cruises are the cruises when a cruise line is moving a ship from one area of the globe to another, for example from the USA to Australia at the beginning of our summer. These cruise will often have a large number of sea days compared with most other cruises, but they are often a great price, and in my opinion the ship is a holiday in itself, and more sea days equals more relaxing!
Check out airfares before booking
It always pays to get an estimate on flight costs before booking your cruise. There is little point booking a cruise because it’s a fantastic bargain if the flights to and from the cruise departure/arrival port are expensive. Luckily for us most cruises we get are round trips from Sydney, and flights from Adelaide to Sydney can usually be found on sale for most of the year.
Keep your passport up to date
Making sure your passport is always valid is the most important thing of all when searching for last minute cruises. You might be booking the cruise only 6-8 weeks out from the departure date, which leaves very little time to get a new passport if yours has expired.
Where can I find last minute cruises?
I head straight to the cruise lines own website when searching for cruises. The first step is to know the type of cruise line that suits you best, which will most likely be Royal Caribbean or Carnival for families, both of which I have sailed on and highly recommend.