Not sure how to research eleventh-hour discounts on sailings? We rounded up the best ways to watch the Internet for bargains that could inspire you to book your next trip:
Sign up for alerts from discount travel sites.
Many travel agency websites have weekly — or even daily — email blasts that they send their customers to keep them informed on current promotions. Often, multiple agencies get the same rates, but it doesn’t hurt to sign up for a variety of deal “blasts” just to ensure you don’t miss a thing.
Check out the “Deals” section on the cruise line’s website.
All of the lines have a tab on their home page for the latest steals they’re offering on cruises. These are usually available for just a limited time — and only on specific sailings.
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.
Remember to check for cut rates at the 90-day mark.
Three months to sailing is a date all cruisers should remember, as it’s when many cruise lines discount remaining cabins on their cruises. Mark a reminder on your calendar if there’s a specific sailing you’re watching.
Be flexible with ports, times, and destinations.
To get a really good deal on a cruise, you may have to be ready to travel on a whim. Although you may be able to find a great deal on a last-minute Caribbean cruise, it may not include your wish list of ports, so be open to trying other destinations. Remember, if you don’t live within driving distance of a major departure port — such as Miami, Florida or Galveston, Texas — you’ll have to factor in the cost of last-minute airfare, which will eat into your savings.