Here’s How People Are Saving Big on Last-Minute Cruise Bookings

Thinking about booking a cruise in 2018?

Due to a terrible year in 2017 for cruise lines, cruise prices are falling dramatically. Thanks to entire fleets of new ships and fewer passengers than ever before, 2018 is the best year to cruise for less.

Fortunately for those interested, most cruises have a huge inventory of unbooked rooms and they’re getting desperate to sell them at rock-bottom prices. If you look in the right places, you can get incredible deals even for last-minute bookings.

Cruise Prices are Falling Fast

Cruise lines are expecting more than 25 million travelers to hit the seas in the next year, according to Cruise Lines International Association. Yet people aren’t booking itineraries. Cabins are going unsold. Brand-new ships might sail only half full.

This is a cruise line’s worst nightmare. Every cruise has a goal of 107% occupancy, which according to CruiseCritic means booking more than 2 passengers for every cabin. If a ship must sail with unsold rooms, the cruise line loses money. This puts extra pressure on cruise lines to fill as many cabins as possible before leaving port.

When cruise companies are in a pinch to get rooms filled, they are forced to sell them at a high discount. As the departure date draws nearer, the deals get better. And this is when you should start your search for a low-cost cruise.

Search for Deep Discounts at The Right Time

The trick to finding unsold cruise cabins for less? Searching and waiting.

First, perform an online search. Cruise lines, in an effort to make as much money as possible, don’t want to make it easy to find deep discounts. So, you’ll need to search around to compare prices and uncover deals.

You’ll also need to search during the right time. Cruise lines increasingly lower prices if rooms aren’t getting booked. The first discounts appear when an itinerary is first released–about 1 year to 18 months from the departure date. But these are the worst deals; they aren’t really a discount, but the original price.

Wait Until The Last 60 Days

As soon as customers who booked in advance make their final payments, cruise lines know how many rooms are unsold. And this is when they start offering incredible deals.

60 days from departure, the first deep discounts appear. If no one is willing to book, cruise lines will keep slashing prices on cabins.

Want the absolute lowest prices? Search a little longer and be a bit more flexible–you need to wait until the very last minute. The cheapest cruise prices appear in the 7 days before departure. These last-minute discounts can cut the price of a $800 7-day cruise to $200.

How To Find The Best Deals

Of course, most cruise lines don’t want you to know about these deep discounts. You can’t go on their website and expect to get the best rates up front.

Do your research. Search for last-minute cruise bookings.

These discounts will vary, changing every week, so it’s important to keep a close eye on prices and availability. An online search can score you a deal that saves thousands of dollars off a cruise; all it takes is an online search for available cruise deals to save.

Like anything, it’s always a good idea to be aware of the latest research. We recommend comparing at least 3 or 4 options before making a final decision. Doing a search online is typically the quickest, most thorough way to discover all the pros and cons you need to keep in mind.

Featured Tip

Don’t let your vacation days go to waste – make sure you travel! Only 23% of full-time employees use all of their days off each year, Forbes reports.