Deals on Last Minute Cruises
Normally cruise ships reward those who book early with great discounts. They want to fill their ships up with loyal, long term customers. But if you wait until the very last moment, you can also do well.
You need to realize, of course, that there is risk involved here. The ship could fill up! Cruising is extremely popular and ships do in fact sell out. Also, if you don't live near the port, airline fees could be incredibly expensive. Planes go with the same theory of booking early = cheap fares. So you could be hit with a double whammy of high cost by waiting until the last moment.
Still, as we know, there comes a point in time where the plane / cruise ship is close to departure and there are perhaps a few empty rooms. The company would MUCH rather have a human in that spot even at a reduced price, vs having the spot empty and still having to pay for the gas / employees / etc. to make the trip. So they begin discounting heavily - usually about a week in advance of the trip.
Just about every travel site has a Last Minute Deals area where they promote these items. Two that I use are:
Travelzoo - sign up for their newsletter
Also go by all the standards - Expedia, Travelocity, Hotwire - and see what their last minute area has.
The key is to be flexible in your plans. You probably won't get to go exactly where you want to. You need to make sure EVERYTHING on your end is in order - passports, notarized forms, etc. Have a credit card with ample space to immediately pay for anything necessary. Remember, the cruise ship normally needs 6 or more weeks for security processing (the whole 9/11 situation) so as it is they are going to be bending over backwards to rush you through. Make sure you do your part and have this easy, or you simply may not be approved in time to board.
If you do find a deal that is perfect for you, then congratulations! Sometimes the stars are aligned and it all works out. But as the saying goes, fates helps those who help themselves. You can't expect it to work if you are not prepared at all. So get your travel documents in order, leave a few weekends free, and watch those last-minute lists like a hawk. That way when something DOES come along, you are in a perfect position to take advantage of it.
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