Stressed? Grab A Last Minute Cruise Deal

Here’s a tip for those who refuse to let their boviscopophobia rule them: Jim at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity recommends looking for last minute cruise deals. He recently snagged a 4 night Western Caribbean holiday for $300.

Last minute deals are so great because they represent revenue that would otherwise be lost to the company offering it. The cruise ship will set sail with a full complement of crew and supplies regardless of the actual passenger count and an empty cabin represents a lot of lost revenue so selling it at a discount to the rack price is something they’re very much willing to do. It’s why hotels and airlines sometimes have last minute fares and discounts, an empty room or seat is lost revenue.

The flip side is the risk involved in waiting. If you really want to go on a cruise, say for your honeymoon, then you probably don’t want to risk waiting for a last minute deal because a last minute deal may never come. For example, we booked our honeymoon flights for Hawaii several months in advance when the deal looked good to us (it’ll run a little under $700 a piece from Baltimore to Honolulu, which seemed like a good price for the time we’re going); we weren’t willing to see if there was going to be a fare sale a month beforehand.

So, if you have a little flexibility, consider waiting until the “last minute,” roll the dice, and maybe you’ll go on a vacation you never expected – say to Iceland to ride some tiny horses and fight in the snow (I had a few friends do that, they have a blast).

Tiny horses? That sounds strangely awesome.

Anyone snagged any good deals by waiting until the last minute?

Last Minute Vacations: Risk With Rewards [Blueprint for Financial Prosperity]
(Photo:Mr. Thomas)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. I did a few good last-minute deals when I was studying abroad in London. It’s a little harder when you’re NOT near a vacation spot or vacation jumping-off point, because I’m not often willing to fly TO Miami (or wherever) to START the cheap cruise, and having to fly back and forth adds a lot of extra time to the adventure (if I’m doing a last-minute vacation, I usually want a four-day weekend or something).

    Not so much a super-cheap whole package, but if you decide last minute to go away to a B&B or something, they’ll often knock 10% or 20% off the rate, or give you their “honeymoon special” for less, or whatever, if you’re in the off-season and they have rooms available. They’re not so desperate to fill them as the cruise companies, but they’d like your money.

  2. yg17 says:

    How “last minute” are we talking about here? My family is considering a Caribbean cruise in May. Is January going to be considered last minute, or is a week before the cruise leaves going to be considered last minute?

  3. Pope John Peeps II says:

    @yg17: No offence intended, but the phrase “last minute” is pretty much self-explanatory. It doesn’t actually mean anything else.

  4. sam_sheezy says:

    @yg17: Last minute is generally one, MAYBE two, weeks prior to departure. They start slowly dropping their prices about four weeks prior.

    However, if you’re thinking a Caribbean cruise in May, you probably don’t want to risk it– those fill up. You’re only going to get good deals in off season.

    For instance, I’m taking some friends on a four-day Los Angeles to Ensenada cruise in two weeks and for the cruise, we’re only paying a little over $100 per person. But who wants to take a cruise to Baja in January? Not a lot of people!

  5. Jthmeffy says:

    @yg17: Uh, January is definitely NOT last minute. A week left would be last minute.

  6. sam_sheezy says:

    Want amazing last minute deals? Site 59/Last Minute has the most in-freakin’-credible last minute deals.

    I’ve flown last minute from Seattle to San Francisco, gotten round trip air, a hotel, AND a rental car (a mustang!) for under $200 TOTAL. Freakin’ nuts!

    Their internation deals aren’t much to write home about, but you can usually score killer last minute packages for domestic stuff.

    [us.lastminute.com]

  7. cmdr.sass says:

    On my trip to Iceland last year, I wound up fighting the tiny horses and riding my friends instead. Man was that tour package screwed up!

  8. dapuddle says:

    The only problem with last minute cruise deals….. is that you have to go on the cruise. Which are lame.

  9. Antediluvian says:

    @cmdr.sass: I want to go on that tour. Everyone knows tiny horse fighting is the new dog fighting*, and friend riding — well, of course!

    *”Think of them as little horses”

  10. bohemian says:

    We have gotten good deals on hotels in larger cities last minute. Those are great if you don’t live in civilization but it is a short car trip away.

    The only place we haven’t been able to find a way to score really good deals on is Wisconsin Dells. Hey, we have kids. Indoor pools + crappy northern midwestern weather = good.

  11. dantsea says:

    @dapuddle: Tell us about your cruise experiences.

  12. anatak says:

    @yg17: I don’t know about last minute, but but there are deals to be had for Super Bowl weekend cruises… which are approaching last minute.

  13. Chairman-Meow says:

    Cruise Lines start wheeling n’ dealing within 60 days of the sail date. This is because they know all the rooms that have been booked in advance and they want to fill the vacancies.

    I’ve taken advantage of this and it is really amazing what kind of fares you get. Also, being a “prior-cruise” person helps tremendously because you are a repeat customer and they want you to keep coming back.

    For example, we did a 5 day Eastern Caribbean Cruise for 295.00 each which included a Window room plus a 4 deck upgrade.

  14. osiris7 says:

    Okay, now I wanna know which websites y’all used in getting these great deals.

  15. side says:

    Got to be really careful on these though, because time of year is more important than anything. If you check a site like Travelocity, March Cruises to Baja (for example)are cheaper than one leaving in 4 days. Maybe because of Monsoon season.