It’s well known that a cruise is an affordable holiday option, and one of the best ways to make your budget stretch further is to purchase your ticket at the last minute. If you are considering taking your first cruise vacation, or are an experienced bargain hunter, it makes good sense to take advantage of last minute options. If you are ready to depart at short notice, comfortable cruising on a whim, and flexible regarding destinations, last minute cruising could be the perfect fit for your vacation. Cruise lines prefer their cabins to be sold out, and any tickets remaining a couple of weeks before departure will be heavily discounted. Here are some tips for getting the best deal.
Finding last minute cruise deals
As the departure date draws near and companies attempt to fill their staterooms, prices may begin to come down. Many companies consider a last minute booking to be within 90 days of departure, which still leaves plenty of time to organise leave from work and other pressing responsibilities. Cruise companies want to capitalise on full-fare paying customers, but having occupied rooms at a reduced price is their next best option.
Travel agents remain a sensible first step in booking a cruise holiday. They often have reciprocal arrangements with cruise lines in provision of discounted fares. Your visit to a travel agent will also assist you in determining your ball-park budget and itinerary options – after all, the goal of last minute cruising is in finding a suitable bargain.
Online cruise specials
The internet has opened up a whole new world of business competition and savvy purchasing. A simple web search for last minute cruise deals will yield plenty of results, but it will pay to begin your investigation with a little knowledge regarding your expectations. This is where your initial visit to a travel agent will become a handy reference point. Cruise company websites often feature last minute deals, and also offer online newsletters detailing upcoming bargains and destination options for a range of budgets. Last minute cruise discounts are equally applicable to high end voyages as well as budget travel, and are an opportunity to upgrade to a superior cabin or take in more destinations.
Flexibility with dates
Last minute cruise deals are more difficult to find during peak season departures such as Christmas or Easter, although surprising bargains do sometimes come up on popular itineraries. Don’t rule anything out during your search. The lull before and after peak holiday times often provides an abundance of last minute cruise deals worth investigating. If you are not set on a balcony cabin, prime dinner table seating, or similar specific details you are likely to find a suitable alternative with enough trimmings to make your cruise the voyage of a lifetime.
Last minute cruising can save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars. By being flexible you may also get to experience exotic destinations you hadn’t previously considered. Adventure, new experiences and value for money are hallmarks of any memorable holiday, and last minute cruises can tick all the boxes.
Photo from Edward Weston’s Flickr gallery.