Form A Transportation Plan
A rock-bottom rate on a Europe cruise is no good to you if the last-minute airfare to get to your departure port costs thousands of dollars. Before you turn on your computer or pick up your phone to look for sailings, you should develop a transportation plan.
Last-minute cruises work best for people who can drive to a nearby . If youre within a days drive of a homeport, youve got the best shot at making a last-minute sailing a reality. Just remember to add driving time to your vacation request and consider staying in a hotel pre- or post-cruise.
If you cant drive to a port, you have two flight options. The first is to book your flight ahead of time. If no cruise deals come up that fit your delineated vacation time, youll have to settle for a land holiday instead. The second flight option is to take a chance that youll find affordable last-minute airfare. Your likelihood of making this plan work increases if you can extend your vacation on either side of your cruise and fly on weekdays when airfares tend to be lower.
Defining Value Is Key
How much of a bargain is a cheap cruise that requires you to spend twice as much on airfare? For instance, you’ll typically see more Anchorage-to-Vancouver voyages on last minute lists than the more affordable round trip Seattle itineraries. Why? Air is typically cheaper on the latter, which sails into and out of the same city. The former has you flying in and out of different airports, including one in Alaska where fares are often high. Account for that cost before committing.
Tips For Booking A Last
If youve decided the benefits outweigh the cons and youd like to hold out for a last-minute discount on your next cruise, here are some tips to help you snag the best cruise for the best price.
Keep your credit card up to date. When booking a last-minute cruise, youll most likely need to make the final payment up front. Having a valid credit card means youll be able to make the payment quickly and easily.
Choose your destination wisely. By choosing a departure port within driving distance of your home, you can avoid having to pay for last-minute airfare. Even if you have to pay for parking, this will still be cheaper than flying.
Similarly, as mentioned above, be aware of the passport and visa requirements of the destinations youd like to visit. If youll be traveling internationally, be sure to keep your passport on hand and up-to-date, so you can be ready to travel on short notice.
Travel off-season. Cruises are more likely to sell out during the high season namely, summer, school breaks, and winter holidays. By traveling in fall or spring, or just before the holidays, youll have a higher chance of finding a last-minute discount. In shoulder season, youll have the advantage of lower prices and less crowds, but you may have to reckon with less-than-ideal weather whether its gray skies in the Mediterranean or cold weather in Alaska.
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How To Book A Last Minute Galapagos Cruise From Quito Agonizing Anticipation And Atms
Disclaimer: This is exactly what I did to plan my last minute Galapagos cruise from Quito. Im certain there are far better, cheaper ways to do it, but my method was based on my schedule, mental state, time allowance, and tolerance for risk.
The Galapagos Islands always hovered in the back of my mind as I was planning my trip to South America. Its well-known as an expensive, though incredible, nature-filled, bucket list destination.
I knew that if I did it, I wanted to take a cruise to visit some of the islands not reachable by day trips. Plus, I didnt hate the idea of having everything arranged for me meals, daily snorkeling, hikes on this otherwise backpacker budget DIY trip.
However, the planning process behind this cruise stressed me out more than anything during my travels thus far, so Id like to tell others exactly how I booked my trip.Pick a boat, any boat, just kidding, you cant afford that big one!
Ill admit this right now: Part of me thought I was clever enough to arrive in Ecuador with plenty of time and the wherewithal to book a last minute Galapagos cruise for really cheap. Like I expected to get a really good deal. And it turns out I wasnt alone in this thinking. Many, many people are now opting for the last minute Galapagos trip.
And while Im so glad I did it, and I do feel like I got a good value for my money, spending that kind of cash on a weeks worth of travel killed me a little bit inside.
How To Book A Last Minute Cruise To Antarctica And Save Thousands
Its a rumour you hear about but are never sure if its true: can you book a last minute cruise to Antarctica and save thousands?
Yes, its true!
While in Ushuaia for my own Antarctica cruise , I asked around at hostels, hotels and travel agencies about deals. I didnt need to look too hard because the moment I walked into my accommodation, I noticed a printed flyer with the current Antarctica cruise deals posted up in plain view. In fact, they were all over town.
Show up to Punta Arenas, Chile or Ushuaia, Argentina and youll save thousands of dollars by paying for a last minute cruise.
But its not necessarily as simple as it sounds and you need to consider a few things.
How good are the deals?
Depending on the expedition course itinerary, you can save upwards of 50% if you book last minute.
I asked around on my cruise to see if there were travellers who had booked within the last few days or weeks. There were.
The listed price of the cheapest cabin on my ship was $16, 495 USD for a triple share berth. Several people on board One Ocean Expeditions Akademik Ioffe snagged a last minute deal for $8, 900 USD, booked with a travel agency in Ushuaia. Its still expensive, but thats almost half price for a 19-day expedition through the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula.
Benefits of Booking Last Minute
1. The price is discounted by several thousand dollars depending on the type of cruise youre interested in and the length of time.
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Dont Leave It Too Late
Be sure not to leave your last minute booking until too late. Unlike aeroplanes, you cant simply book a ticket the day before or of the cruise. The ship sometimes needs a list of all passengers around two days before departure and once that list has been submitted, no one else can sign up for the cruise.
The reason we recommend sixty to ninety days is that this is usually the last call for passengers to cancel their reservations without having to pay a penalty. The cruise line will then calculate how many cabins they have left after the cancellations and do everything they can to sell out the cabins that are still empty. And if they have more space available than they like, you should be able to get the cruise at a reduced fare.
When Is The Right Time To Visit The Galapagos
The Galapagos Islands, based on the Pacific Ocean, about a thousand kilometers west of Ecuador, have a very peculiar climate, tropical and semi-arid, which has an incredibly hot and relatively stormy couple of years from January to May, and a dry and cool weather, but also foggy and misty, from July to November.
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The surroundings of the Galapagos are dry, with the exception of the highlands of the bigger islands, which receive much more rain fall. As was mentioned by Charles Darwin, who as we know examined the details of the species located in the islands, their climate is cooler than an individual could expect from a location situated close to the Equator, due to the Humboldt Current, which reaches the region after circulating in the ocean west of South America. Anyway, here the weather is not the same from one year to the other, because there are completely different ocean flows which meet or alternate in the region , meaning that the weather conditions are tough to forecast.
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On the coasts, the rainfall comes down to less than 600 millimeters annually, so its in no way abundant. This is actually the common precipitation in Puerto Baquerizo we could see the fact that in the hot period, few millimeters per month accumulate, because of mainly to drizzle and dew development.
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How To Book A Cheap Cruise
Booking a cheap cruise is actually quite easy and requires only one thing: flexibility. See, cruise pricing is similar to tour pricing. The closer you get to the departure date, the cheaper the cruise becomes.
Because cruise ships dont want to depart with half-empty boats, so they drop prices steadily until that boat is leaving port, since for them empty cabins mean less money.
Cruises make the majority of their money from what people purchase on board, so they want bodies on those ships.
You can also book early, but I find last-minute bookings to be the best. And since you are booking close to departure, you need to be flexible with where you are willing to go or OK with not booking the actual cruise even if you booked your flights.
Another tip comes Doug Parker of Cruise Radio, When the kids are in school, the rates are the best. This holds true in all travel but especially cruising, because it is such a family activity. Dont travel when everyone else is traveling! If you do that or travel during the shoulder season, you can find the best rates. Chris from Chris Cruises also reiterates my recommendation: Book far in advance or last minute for the best fares.
Book At The Right Time
One of the best times to find last minute rates on a particular sailing is 60 to 90 days before departure. The reason? This is the last call for travelers to cancel existing reservations without penalty. At that point, the cruise line will know exactly how many cabins are left — and if there is more space available than the cruise line would like, it will quickly reduce the fare so that it can sell out the ship.
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Safe Bets For Last Minute Cruises
Two of the best things you can do to improve your chances of scoring a last minute cruise deal is to be flexible about your departure date and to choose to sail out of peak season. The most likely cheap last minute cruises will be in the Mediterranean during low season, which runs from October through April. Other times to look at is two weeks before or after holidays, such as the first two weeks in December or the first two weeks in January.
If youre still looking for some sunshine during your cruise, booking a last minute cruise during the shoulder season may be one of the best choices, if you can get it. The shoulder season is that sweet spot in late Spring or early Autumn when the weather is still good, but the crowds and peak prices have calmed down.
Another type of cruise that lends itself to last minute price discounts is the repositional cruise. Most cruise ships tend to follow the same return route, but repositional cruises are different in that they relocate to follow the sun, which means you will be able to cover a much bigger distance. During a repositional cruise you will be sailing much further, say from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, and this will mean more sea days and more expensive one-way plane tickets. Make sure to include the plane tickets into your budget to ensure you are still saving money on your last minute booking.
How To Book A Last
Who doesnt want to save money on their vacation? One popular way to save money on a cruise is to wait for a last-minute discount. As the departure date draws near, cruise lines will sometimes slash prices on unsold cabins in order to try to fill the ship. After all, empty cabins are lost profit, so its to the cruise lines advantage to try and fill every stateroom before the start of the cruise even if that means selling them off for deeply discounted rates. This can help you, as flexible travelers can take advantage of these last-minute deals and enjoy the full cruise experience for less than the full price.
Youll be shocked at some of the deals you can find!
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Being Flexible With Sail Dates Is Important
It makes sense that flexibility is key to getting the best deal. Youll find the cheapest rates if you are able to sail during off times of the year. This is usually when school is in session.
With school in session its difficult for families to cruise, taking away a major source of revenue for the cruise lines. As a result, they often slash fares during the school year to fill up the ship. Look especially at the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas for the best deals. As well, early winter like January and February also have cheap cruises.
How Much Can You Save On Last Minute Cruises
Saving money on a last-minute cruise is like finding cash in a treasure chest on the beach.
Its not uncommon to see deals priced as low as $25 or $30 per night per person for a last-minute three-day cruise.
Last year, we even saw a 4-night cruise on Norwegian Sky go for $89 per person thats $22.25 per night. Youd pay more than that for a single meal in a nice restaurant, but your cruise fare includes 3+ meals a day, accommodations, entertainment and transportation. Thats an amazing value that only a cruise can provide.
Dont Limit Yourself To Specific Sail Dates
If you are set on finding a last-minute cruise deal for an upcoming vacation, one of the most important things to remember is to be flexible. If you are looking to travel to one destination during a limited timeframe, your chances of getting a stellar deal become much more limited.
If you remain open to multiple destinations and have flexible travel dates , then youre much more likely to find better cruise ship deals.
How To Book A Last Minute Cruise In 2020
20th May 2019
If youre looking to get a real bargain on your next cruise, you should consider looking at last minute cruises. As long as youre willing to be flexible and do some research on whats available, this could be the perfect cruise option for you.
A last minute cruise is a cruise that is usually booked between ninety days and just a few days before the cruise departs. This is because there is usually a clause that allows guests to cancel their cruise up to 90 days before it departs, which leaves more cabins free that the cruise ship then want to fill. They will often discount these tickets and/ add value in terms of an upgrade or an all-inclusive drinks package.
One tip to keep in mind is to not leave it too late. Cruise ships need more notice than other forms of travel, like taking a plane. Ideally, look at ninety to thirty days before the cruise to book. And if you really want to leave it until the last minute, be aware that the ship sometimes needs a list of all passengers around two days before departure and once that list has been submitted, no one else can sign up for the cruise.
Speaking of leaving it until the very last minute, i.e. thirty days or fewer before the cruise, one of the best ways to then get a great deal is to call the cruise company and haggle. The agents can sometimes organise deals for you that arent listed on the website.
In this blog, we will look at the top ten tips you should consider when booking a last minute cruise.
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Cruise Lines Have Experts To Price Trips
Cruise lines hire a lot of smart analysts to figure out the perfect prices to fill a ship at the highest prices possible. That means they often get the ships filled before having to resort of slashing prices just before the cruise departs.
It doesnt always work out, so you will run across some great deals from time to time. Thats why its important to be on your toes and be ready to buy if you do find a deal.
Book In Low Or Shoulder Season
As winter approaches, so does the low season for cruising. Except for holidays, most cruise lines see a dip in their occupancy, as many destinations including the Caribbean, Alaska, and the Mediterranean are most popular in the summertime. But remember, these are slow times for a reason: Research your itinerary and the average temperatures, as well as weather-related issues such as hurricane threats.
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