How to get the best deals on a cruise

Date Published: 09/01/2020 14:08

Maybe the gloom of winter has got you thinking about getting away from it all on a cruise somewhere warm. I know it has me; I do love my cruises!

So, can you get a last-minute bargain? Yes, you can if you play your cards right. Gone are the days when you could turn up at the quayside and negotiate a deal. Cruise lines have to submit their passenger manifests within 24 to 48 hours of departure by law. But get the timing right and there are still bargains to be had.

With most cruise companies passengers have to cancel about 60 to 90 days before departure to avoid a massive penalty; although for some it may be 120 days. Obviously the cruise line wants to maximise income, so they may discount heavily then to avoid empty cabins.

But don’t expect to pick up a bargain on popular ships and routes easily; you may have to compromise and go with a more unusual route. And you may have to compromise on when you go. Easter week, for example, may prove a tough one, but a few weeks either side may be easier.

There is also the situation where ships need to change region and get back to the original port on a lesser used route. These ‘repositioning cruises’ are often longer and involve more days at sea, as the main need is to get the ship from A to B, but they can be cheaper. Beware though, as by starting and ending at different places you may end up having to buy a one-way ticket between the two.

Do be careful about what is included. For example, government taxes, service fees and port charges may be extra. And late booking means you get what’s left; so you are not likely to get a balcony cabin or a prime dinner table. But if you are prepared to be flexible, you could end up having the trip of a lifetime. Happy Sailing!

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