Popular Cruise Lines
- Carnival Cruise Lines
- Royal Caribbean International
- Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)
- Costa Cruises
- Princess Cruises
- Holland America Line
- Celebrity Cruises
- Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)
- Disney Cruise Line
How Does Last Minute Cruising Work?
The cruise industry’s definition for “last minute” is quite flexible and dynamic.
While for many people the term represents a near-instant timeframe, meaning today, tomorrow, this weekend, next week and so on, for most of the players in the industry even 60 or 90 days before departure date fall into the category of last minute deals.
U.S. law requires cruise lines to submit their passenger manifests within hours of departure (for security purposes), which means it’s practically impossible to book a package at the last-second, on the same day the ship leaves port.
However, making a reservation for next day departure or any alternative future dates is a totally different ballgame.
The logic behind the last-minute booking strategy is quite simple and understandable.
Cruise lines will lower fares as departure date approaches in order to fill any vacant cabins that have not been sold through regular marketing channels.
Nobody in the industry likes to see a ship sails half empty and an unsold cabin is a financial loss that can never be recouped.
The solution? Slashing prices aggressively and quite fast, usually 45-90 days before sailing.
Those who can travel on short notice can sometimes take advantage of bargain discounts and low cost specials that can’t be obtained in any other circumstances.
However, it requires you to act quickly.
Don’t forget that there are plenty of other bargain hunters out there with the same motivation and the same tactic, who are equally passionate about finding a great deal at the last minute.
If you see a package that you like, in terms of contents and price, you may want to grab it before someone else will.