Last Minute Cruise Deals – read this and don’t tell me you’re not tempted…

Thanks to writing about cruises for the family last week, they’ve been on my mind a bit.
I admit it – I’ve gone from no-thank-you to sorely-tempted in one blog post.
So I had a quick casual look at some cruise holiday deals (oh come on, we ALL do it. Bored for five minutes, cup of coffee in hand… before you know it you’re either nosily browsing Rightmove for a new million pound house, or planning your next fabulous holiday for when you win the lottery).  I just wondered what there was to be had. Y’know, if I wasn’t about to head off on a 3 week road trip to Italy… I could sail away into the Caribbean Blue instead, couldn’t I?
But do cruises even HAVE last minute deals?
I didn’t know – it’s all a foreign language to me.
But I had a look… and lo! There are bargains! Big ones!


But a little more considered searching turned up a few restrictions – and I figured out a few key things to sort out if you’re thinking about nabbing yourself last minute cruises for a pretty spectacular way to spend your Autumn holidays.

If you can, be flexible with your dates and departure points. Cruise ships are no different to theatres and hotels – they don’t like empty spaces, and want to get those spaces filled. So like most holiday companies, they WILL try and woo you with a bargain if you can be flexible enough to fit in with their existing schedule. The more you narrow your flexibility (dates, departure port, picky cabin-choosing…), then I wouldn’t expect to pick up a great deal. You’re far better off going the other way, and booking as far ahead as possible to get exactly what you want.


But how late can you reasonably leave it? Not as late as you’d think, actually. Cruise ships have to confirm their passenger lists 48hrs in advance, so hoping for a seat-of-your-pants truly last minute bargain just won’t work.

In fact, a ‘late’ cruise could be anything that’s booked up to 3mths before departure. A last-minute cruise will be inside six weeks of sailing – booked passengers have to confirm and pay their balance 3mths before cruising, so from that point the ships will know just how many cabins remain to be filled. And be actively trying to get them filled, too!

Also – don’t forget that even if your cruise is a total bargain, you’ve got to get to the departure port. If you’re cruising the Eastern Caribbean, for example, you might leave from Cape Canaveral. Which means you have to factor in the cost of flights to the US both ways – and that’ll take a healthy chunk out of the money you just saved, especially as if you’re booking flights at short notice, as the price often goes UP not down!
But again, there’s always a deal if you’re flexible, so maybe adding a couple of days in port and taking the red-eye flight will make that Caribbean dream happen after all.


Or, of course, you can simply cruise from right here in the UK, and just drive to the port.  All the major UK ports have cruise departures, and you’d be amazed at where they go. It’s not just wine trips to France, y’know. How d’you fancy a Mediterranean Medley from Southampton (SouthamptonBarcelonaCorsicaRome (Civitavecchia)LivornoGenoaMonte Carlo – GibraltarSouthampton)? Not too shabby!

(Plus, of course, no planes means no luggage limits… Cue LOTS of room for souvenirs!)


Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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