Cheap last-minute cruises are yours if you have them as a flexible traveler. Do you keep the bag packed, maybe even up to the door? Are you an experienced cruise traveler who knows what to look for? Are you a potential first cruiser who won’t try this vacation experience unless you can accomplish a lot? If you’re even partially on one of these profiles, a last-minute cruise might be for you.
Explore cruising lines, boats and destinations closest to where you live. You’ll have the most flexibility if you can show up almost for a moment, and that doesn’t include air travel. If you find several destinations that interest you, pack a bag with toiletries and extra clothing that is suitable for those destinations. Put a luggage tag and put it in your closet. If you find a cruise you want to embark on tomorrow, there is no last minute panic. Just grab a bag and go knowing that you have saved hundreds of dollars, if not thousands.
Look for a “repositioning” cruise. Most cruises have more cruises than ships. There are winter and summer cruises, and they are rarely the same. For example, summer cruises could head to destinations like Alaska, Canada, or New England, while winter cruises could have locations like Mexico, the Caribbean, or South America.
However, that ship needs to be relocated or relocated from New England to Mexico if it is going to go on winter routes. The cruisers just sailed by boat to the new location and started a new tour of the journey, but then someone was wise. What if people were willing to pay for a one-way cruise? And cruise repositioning began. You will need a plane ticket at the point of departure, but most of the time the savings on the cruise will make up for it more. These cruises are, of course, offered in the “shoulder” seasons, between the winter and summer peak.
And when it comes to shoulder season, it’s another great moment to trade with you, even if you want a more standard cruise. Summer and winter are the busiest times to travel and cruise – but that could mean your boat will be crowded. Try the season between those points, when there is less demand, which equals lower prices.
Act fast. That should go without a word about last minute cruising, but we’ll say it anyway. When cruise boats approach the departure date with several empty cabins, they lower prices and place an extra body in bed. But they’ve only been ready for that long. And in the end, the ship will leave without you, or someone else will close the deal. This is getting harder to do as the cruise becomes more popular, but if you are persistent, offers can be found.
Find a travel partner who will go with you. For last minute cruises this can be difficult. Another option is to look for a cruise line for interest rates. This will get you an assistant of the same sex, although probably someone you don’t know. Still, it’s an opportunity to make a new friend, assuming you’ve hit him. If not, well, the boats are huge and you will probably only fall into each other if you brush your teeth.
Use standard travel websites to check if bargains are possible. Most have cards or icons for last-minute deals, and some will include cruises. Then check out websites for cruise experts, such as CruiseCritic.com or CruiseMates.com.
With pre-planning, flexibility and a quick mouse finger, you can find cheap last minute cruises that will make your vacation even more relaxed.