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Cheap Last Minute Cruise Deals. The 10 Best Ways To Find Them!

Many cruise lines offer bargain bundles that may include airfare, shore excursions, drink packages, specialty dining, spa treatments, or other items. These items are often discounted as part of the offer, but if theyre not deals youd be interested in using anyway, then it isnt a good price for you. Do the math carefully to decide if it would be better for you to purchase just what you want or need separately, or if youd rather just skip the deals altogether for even better savings.

Sail On An Older Ship

At many big lines, youll find that the newest, most amenity-filled cruise ships sell at a premium price. Older ships come with a discount.

The older ships are, of course, older. And they sometimes dont have quite as much to offer on board as the newer ships. But if youre looking for a deal, they can bring great value.

A six-night Caribbean voyage on Royal Caribbeans just-unveiled Odyssey of the Seas starting on Feb. 6, for instance, currently starts at $749 per person. Similar six- and seven-night Caribbean voyages departing the very same day on the lines older Jewel of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas start at just $400 and $509 per person, respectively. Thats a 47% to 32% discount.

Jewel of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas are 17 years old and 14 years old, respectively.

Extra Costs Of Repositioning Cruise Deals: Taxes & Gratuities

Do know that the repositioning cruise prices mentioned here are before taxes, port fees, and gratuities. This is the industry standard when quoting cruise prices. So understand that the total cost of repositioning cruises will end up being just a bit more after factoring in these compulsory charges.

Taxes & port fees for repositioning cruises will vary greatly depending on the ship and itinerary. But expect taxes to add at least $100, or more, to the total price for each person. This is all added to the repositioning cruise price during the booking process.

Gratuities are the semi-obligatory tips to deserving wait staff, room attendants, and other crew. This service fee typically adds $12-$16 per person, per night and usually isnt charged until youre onboard the cruise.

So taxes and gratuities do add to repositioning cruises prices. But even after budgeting for those costs, repositioning cruises are still incredible deals that often remain under $50 per day. In addition to those little extra costs, the section below details everything you should be aware of before booking a repositioning cruise deal.

Beyond the compulsory charges, theres no major hidden costs for repositioning cruises beyond the typical extras passengers may want to indulge in. For those unfamiliar with cruising, additional expenses can include purchases such as alcoholic drinks, dining in specialty restaurants, shore excursions, wifi at sea, spa packages and other splurges.

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Why These Deals Arent For Everyone

Weve all heard the saying you get what you pay for, and thats true in the case of last-minute cruise deals, too. There are a few things you need to know including a couple which might make you say, Yeah, thats not for me.

Right off the bat, its important to know that the staterooms available at these low prices are often what are called guarantee cabins.

What that means is that if, for example, you book a guarantee ocean view you definitely will receive an ocean view stateroom, but youll have no say over which one or where it is located. That means you could wind up with an obstructed view or beneath a bowling alley.

The same goes for guarantee balcony staterooms. You will 100 percent receive a balcony cabin, but it might be one with a smaller balcony or an obstructed view.

It could also be located in a relatively undesirable location. So you have to balance the possibility of a less-desirable stateroom against the low price.

These last-minute deals usually dont include perks that you might otherwise receive.

For example, Norwegian Cruise Line is very well known for its popular Free At Sea program which offers a variety of perks based on what level of stateroom you book.

RELATED: The Pros and Cons of Booking a Guarantee Stateroom

However, if the last-minute cruise you book is in a guarantee stateroom whether its an inside, oceanview, balcony or even suite youre unlikely to get any of the associated perks.

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How Much Are Drinks On A Cruise


Youll find drink prices about the same as whats offered in most average chain restaurants at home. Beer will be in the $6-7 range, Wine in the $8-11 range, and mixed drinks with regular spirits and simple cocktails within the range. Prices are in US dollars and typically have an automatic 15-20% gratuity added to the bill. They are not cheap, but they dont take advantage of their monopoly. There are the odd drink specials on featured cocktails or multiple beer purchases.

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Targeted Group Price Reductions

When cruise lines want to offer soft-selling cabins at a lower price without advertising discounts, they might target promotions to select groups of travelers.

For example, Mahnken explains that to fill inventory, cruise lines will leverage their most loyal clients by offering perks like double loyalty points reduced or even free cruise fare to casino club members…. Resident discounts are often available when a ship in a particular port has some space to sell. Price drops for senior cruisers or certain professions are also popular ways to fill ships.

Set yourself up to receive these discounts by joining the loyalty program of every cruise line you sail and subscribing to promotional emails. The more you sail on one line, the better chance you have of being offered exclusive discounts.

You may also want to cultivate relationships with or sign up for emails from cruise-focused travel agencies. Cruise lines looking to move unsold cabins will offer flash sales or exclusive promotions to their best partners. Youll only find out about these deals if youre on the agencys email list. Sometimes, the discounts are so secret, you can only find out by calling or having an agent reach out to you because they know your travel interests.

Whats The Best Cruise Line

Best for who? Your needs and your budget? Depends on your expectations of service, space, quality of food and beverage, type and amount of on board entertainment. The lines offered on our site are all good, some are excellent, and some our outstanding, but what is best is determined by your needs and budget. Speak to our agents to help sort through this. Really, there are no bad cruises offered on

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Outlook On Booking A 2021 Repositioning Cruise Deal

With cruise lines greatly relaxing their cancelation policies. It can make sense to book a good deal if you see one. Particularly if you really like a certain repositioning cruise deal you see now, its probably best to strike while you can. Otherwise you may become disappointed if prices go up or if the cruise sells out.

Repositioning cruise pricing trends can be somewhat predictable for those in the know. Yet with all the uncertainty going on in 2020 and into 2021, all bets are off. There will be many changes implemented as repositioning cruises start back up again. Some of those occurrences could affect how good of a deal may be available on a repositioning cruise.

For example, many cruise lines are currently not filling their ships to capacity, so guests can more easily keep distanced. Also, weve noticed some repositioning cruises have been cut from the 2021 calendar. Certain ships have gotten sold or scrapped, while other itineraries have been altered to accommodate shorter and closer cruises that people may be more attracted to in 2021. All of these actions will lead to reduced inventory of cabins on repositioning cruises in 2021. This could potentially lead to cruises selling out and/or higher prices.

There is pent-up demand for cruising and many cruisers are in need of using their future cruise credits they have accumulated from canceled 2020 cruises. This could further make getting a cabin on a repositioning cruise potentially more competitive.

Why Choose A Cruise Nation Cheap Cruise Deal

How To Find Travel Deals! GREAT Flight & Hotel Deals

Whether this is your first or fiftieth time booking a cruise, we guarantee youll be amazed by the savings you can make with one of our cheap cruise deals.

At Cruise Nation, we know that every customer has a different budget, dream destination and holiday style, which is why we have the best selection of cheap cruise deals available online.

Whether you are looking for a cheap mini cruise, a great price on a last minute cruise or a cheap all inclusive luxury cruise, our deals give you the biggest range of cruise lines, ships and itineraries.

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Where To Find Cheap Cruise Deals

Now you know which cruise lines offer the cheapest cruises as well as which ships to choose , cabins , destinations and the cheapest time of year to cruise .

The next step is to know where to look for the cheapest deals. My one secret to finding cheap cruise deals is

Dont go looking for deals, let the deals come to you!

Why? Well, lets imagine you own a cruise line for a moment Most of the time youll want to sell cruises with as much profit margin as possible, right?

Most of the time, you can rely on a steady income of high-profit sales. People search for your website, find what they want and book it.

However, that strategy doesnt work when:

a) Its getting closer to the sailing date but your ships are still half-empty

b) Youve just released six months worths of new itineraries so your ships are completely empty

In these cases, cruise lines will reduce prices and add on free extras to encourage people to BOOK NOW. When they do this, theyre no longer going for a high profit margin theyre going for volume of sales.

Now, imagine you work in the marketing department of the cruise line. The prices have dropped and its your job to sell as many cruises are possible. How do you get the biggest volume of sales?

You could reach out to contact as many potential customers as possible and tell them about the great deals. Or, even better, you get travel agents to do it for you.

How do customers find these cheapest cruise deals?

  • Opt in to receive deals by text message
  • Be Flexible When Booking

    When you are retired, you are free from various time commitments and scheduling conflicts that limit your ability to travel. You have the opportunity to enjoy unlimited vacation days as you dont have a strict work schedule. As a result, you are able to save a significant amount of money by booking a cruise at any time of the year.

    One of the best ways to save money on a cruise is to book at the last minute. The chances of getting an amazing discount can be higher when you book the cruise at the last minute. This is especially true for less desirable rooms like interior staterooms. Cruise companies know they need to fill these rooms before the ship departs otherwise they lose out on that revenue.

    As the departure date gets closer, the cruises start reducing their rates. The cruises need to fill rooms because they want to make as much money from a trip as they can. In this struggle, they reduce the prices before the departure date. They dont reduce their prices instantly but they do it step by step so they may make more profit. You must keep in mind that the prices keep going down until the ship leaves port.

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    Use Travel Rewards Or Loyalty Points

    Over the past 5 years, we have sailed on three cruises for only the cost of the port taxes and fees. How? Well, we used rewards points from our credit card and redeemed them for a free cruise.

    Whether you have general travel points, airline miles, or a cruise lines credit card, earning points and then redeeming those for cheap cruises is easy once you earn enough points.

    Indeed, you need to review the terms and conditions to make sure the offer is right for you. When deciding whether to join a rewards program or apply for a credit card, make sure that you understand the benefits and potential fees for said programs.

    For us, we have credit cards with the major cruise lines and airlines with which we regularly travel. With smart money management, we have used these for the above mentioned free cruises as well as dozens of free flights over the years.

    Of course, if you are loyal to a particular cruise line, you can also earn discounts and even free cruises. By enrolling in cruise line loyalty programs, you will earn points for each day you spend at sea. Once you achieve a high enough status with the brand, you can begin taking advantage of these perks.

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    Cruise During Shoulder Season


    Cruises departing during prime travel times, such as Christmas, spring break, or the middle of summer, have a good chance of selling out long before you even start searching for last-minute cruise deals. Instead, look for cruises that sail during shoulder seasons when youre more likely to find a steal.

    For example, if you want to get a good Mediterranean cruise deal, look for dates during mid-September or early October when schools are in full swing and most families with kids are back at home.

    Those searching for a cruise around Australia and New Zealand should try and book a last-minute cruise from Sydney during the cooler months of October or April.

    Sydney, Australia

    If you want to try finding a deal at the last minute on a Caribbean cruise, searching for dates during hurricane season is your best bet.

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    Rule #: Dont Think There Is A Magic Website With Cheaper Cruise Fares

    The cruise line website, Expedia,, Travelocity the list of sites where you can search for cruises is endless. The odd thing? They usually all have the exact same rates.

    We researched the most popular sites for an upcoming Carnival cruise, comparing prices with the cruise lines official website. Weve tabulated the prices we found below:

    So which site should you use?

    We generally suggest booking through the cruise lines website. We like this because it takes out the middleman in booking your cruise. Should there be an issue, you can call the cruise line directly and everything is dealt with through their site.

    However, many third-party sites can have special deals such as onboard credit thats not available if booking through the cruise line. We seen up to $750 in onboard credit just for booking through these types of sites, depending on their offers.

    Read:The Best Websites to Book a Cruise

    As well, third-party sites take your search across multiple cruise lines. So instead of just searching for Carnival cruises to the Caribbean in October, you can search every cruise line potentially finding a cheaper cruise with another line. Meanwhile, you typically wont pay any more than booking directly from the cruise line.

    If you know the cruise line youd like to sail, we suggest booking directly through them. If you are open, then third-party websites give you the ability to search more cruise lines and itineraries to find a better price.

    Choose Your Ship Carefully

    Newer, larger ships with fancier features robot bartenders, roller coasters, exclusive restaurants, floating breweries, skydiving simulators, go-karts, snow grottos, escape rooms, etc. often have higher fares because of the popularity of these new and exciting options.

    Older or smaller ships with fewer features will typically have cheaper overall fares, but they still offer amazing service, stunning ports of call, and many tried-and-true onboard favorites. Check when ships were most recently renovated and browse through deck plans to see what different ships offer. Comparing ship options with overall prices can help you find the best deal with the features youre most excited about.

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    When Do Repositioning Cruises Travel

    Repositioning cruises tend to be most active during the change in seasons:

    • Spring,
    • Fall.

    As an example, lets take a look at transatlantic repositioning cruises to illustrate these seasonal cruise relocations. The Mediterranean Sea boasts pleasantly warm weather and is high season for travel in the summer. So cruise lines often move ships to the Mediterranean in the late Spring to serve the many passengers who desire taking a summer Mediterranean cruise.

    Meanwhile, summer months are the Caribbeans hot and stormy summer offseason. So its only natural for cruise lines to move ships across the Atlantic Ocean by May, relocating them from ports serving the Caribbean to ports serving the Mediterranean and Europe.

    The reverse occurs each Fall. Thats when many cruise ships are moved from Europe across the Atlantic to Florida, among other home ports serving the Caribbean, in time for the winter high-season months.

    These transatlantic repositioning cruises form the most common repositioning cruise route. But there are many other repositioning cruise routes to consider.

    Alaskan cruises cant sail in the winter. So those ships need to go elsewhere, of course! Europe-Asia repositioning cruises can provide for port-intensive journeys between the adjoining continents. Transiting from North to South America can be an interesting voyage that often includes a Panama Canal Cruise. There are many seasonal shifts in cruising that bring about repositioning cruises.

    Rule #: Do Choose Your Room Location Carefully

    How To Find A Last Minute Cruise Deal Finding Cruise Vacation Bargains

    While not every cruise line does it, many will charge you different amounts for the same class of room in different locations of the ship. For example, a room on a higher deck will cost more than one on a lower deck. Through years and years of bookings, the cruise lines know which rooms are most desirable and charge accordingly.

    Most times the premium you pay for room location wont seem like a big deal. The cruise lines typically frame it by adding something like $3-5 per person, per day.

    Lets do the math, however.

    A room with two people being charged an extra $5 per person, per day would rack up $10 per day or $70 in room location charges over the course of a week-long cruise. That may not sound like much to some of you, but that comes about to about 6-8 drinks from the bar if you were to want to spend your money on alcohol instead.

    The rule of thumb is that the higher up your room is on the ship, the more you will pay.

    For the absolute best rate for your particular room class, let the cruise line place you automatically at their lowest rate.

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