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Where to Find Last Minute Cruise Deals and Bargains

Updated on February 14, 2013
Almost everyone is happy on a cruise!
Almost everyone is happy on a cruise! | Source

Find A Cruise

It may seem like a vacation that's a more expensive option, but taking a cruise can actually be a budget-friendly option when booked on the cheap. On a cruise, you will find has all the bases covered: your lodging, your entertainment and your dining. Finding a cruise that meets your needs and your budget can be an affordable luxury for you, your romantic partner, and your family. But not all cruises are created alike. Take some time to find the cruise that's right for you:

  • A single's cruise - Looking for a mate in life? A single's cruise might be one way to seek true love and get a tan at the same time!
  • A romantic cruise - Time away with your loved one? A romantic cruise caters to love birds.
  • A family cruise - This is one way to make the whole family happy, with activities just for the kids (drop them off for a few hours or the day), activities for just parents, activities for everyone to enjoy together. It's the kind of cruise a busy parent can enjoy while rejuvenating themselves.

The Queen Victoria, Cunard Cruise Line
The Queen Victoria, Cunard Cruise Line | Source

Last Minute Cruise Deals

Are you able to book a cruise at the last minute? If yes, that can save you a bundle. However, it's said the best time to book a cruise is 90-120 out from the cruise date. Cruises that may have formerly cost $500-1500 a person will sell for mere hundreds. Why is this? Just about the time the cruise line is slashing their prices, you can still get a basic package. It's less likely you'll get a basic package at the 11th hour so even though you can still get a deal at the last minute, it will be a deal on a bigger package - not a deal on the cheapest one.

Here are some websites that specialize in booking last minute deals for you:

A talented bartender shows off flair for the crowd by pouring 8 martinis at the same time.
A talented bartender shows off flair for the crowd by pouring 8 martinis at the same time.

Book A Cruise

When booking a cruise, be care of potential pitfalls that would cost you later (once you're on board), as these are added costs:

  • alcohol -can add up, before you realize what you've spent (no you can't bring your own but many people try!)
  • gambling is often found on cruise lines and again, not knowing what you've spent until later can be an expensive lesson
  • shopping can often means extra fees on board when you bring those souvenirs on
  • local tours - the cruise ship will charge 50 percent or more than you would pay if you just strolled, took a bus or cab into town and arranged it yourself at a local tourist office found easily in most major cities

So, what's a budget friendly traveler to do? Depending on where you go, you can limit the gambling, shop duty free or while understanding what fees you may later pay (or just ship/mail it to yourself at home), and book a local tour from the locals and not from the ship (you can do that ahead of time yourself). Getting a basic plan instead of a high end plan will often include a small room and 1-2 excursions and save you a bundle but if you decide later to change your mind, you may need to shell out some money for more excursions when you are there.

When booking a cruise, if you're trying to get a deal, your friend is time. You need time to find a low cost cruise and you need time to book in the off-season, when you're most likely to find the low cost cruise. It can take months, or at least several weeks, to find a good cruise deal for the location you with to travel. You need to shop websites. Yes, it requires online work to find a good deal. Besides these direct websites, you can also search travel websites like Orbitz or Travelocity.

Is A Cruise For You?

It's not a deal if the cruise is not a fit for you. Otherwise, you'll have spent a whole bucket of money on an experience that doesn't match your needs. Cruises, in and of themselves, are not for everyone. They are luxurious and everything you could need can be provided and even the things you don't need can be provided, for a small fee. They are hedonistic and extravagant, relaxing but they also limit the spirited and adventurous traveler. If you explore while in port and fail to return to the ship on time, it may sail on without you! You must be observant while on land as to the time and your surroundings so that you return promptly and do not get lost. Remember, the time on your watch may be different from the time in port... Be careful because you may cross time zones!

If you have a family, plan your cruise with the right outfit. Not all cruises cater to children. Pick the wrong shipping line and you could have some very bored children stuck at your side for days while at sea. Here are some family friendly cruise choices:

Remember, cruise lines charger per person so that will include any infant under age 3 years, even if they don't eat table food.

Another item to note is while you are spending your money on incidentals during the cruise. The cruise lines are in the business of making money so they will issue you a cruise line plastic card to use whenever you want to spend money aboard. When you use that ship card (linked to your credit card or bank card) you are using your money and it's easy to lose track of what you spent or get carried away if it doesn't feel like real money to you. So be careful when using that ship's card. It's not even a real credit card... It's your money!

Would You Like a Free Cruise?

The best kind of deal is the one where the deal is free! Well, it may be a free cruise but you'll have to work for it... literally.

Here are some part-time or full-time on-board jobs one can do to earn a free cruise:

  • dance instructors
  • administrator/admin support persons
  • hospitality employees
  • engineer and deck workers
  • sports and fitness gurus
  • beauty and spa professionals
  • casino assistants
  • childcare positions

It's possible to see the world, earn your way there, get paid while staying on-board for free, and see the sights, as well.

Here is a website to pursue that type of free cruise travel.

Have You Been On A Cruise and Live To Tell The Tale?

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