So I have been trying to figure this one out, do cruise lines offer deep discounted prices a few days before the cruise, just to fill the ship or is that a myth?
They used to but I have heard they are doing this less now. I know a year ago i saw them doing this but only within the last week before the cruise. I have heard that the industry wants to stop or minimize this but not sure if they have what it takes to stand by that.
I believe that, like any event or venue, there is point where one would "break even". I'm pretty sure they have a number for the cruise ships. With the increase in drink ,dinning and other packages, coupled with the option of pay restaurants and pubs, maybe the "break even" is different than it used to be.
There may be no need for the lines to discount at the last minute as they have already made their bucks and those bookings would only be gravy on the potatoes.....
I've been amazed when the conversation comes up on a cruise the difference in price everyone pays for the same cruise (taking cabin differences into play). I have two different ways I can price a cruise via Princess (my local casino site - https://book.princess.com/affiliates/login.page or their normal site princess.com). As a cruise draws nearer, there are more "deals" on the Princess site than the normally discounted site.
You have to watch the prices, they do come down. Given example. The cruise we are on the 17th, ten day Alaska. When I first looked at it inside cabin was $1199, we booked 30 days out for $749 right now it's $649. So they do come down, but not always. So you need to be flexible.
They are not dropping the last min prices like they used to. You can still get some good deals but you need to keep a look out for them. I watch a web site that has a section of the less then 90 days out prices.
In the three short years we have been cruising, I notice a big difference this year in prices. Not as many bargains to be found. We cruised on the Sunshine deck 8 forward balcony in 2014 for 7 days for less than 5 days would cost now in a Riviera deck interior. And we booked that around six months out.
The last minute deals are nothing like they used to be. Years past the discounts were really great because the ships prefer to sail close to capacity. I think the increased popularity of cruising as lessened the last minute deals.
Ironically enough, we just had a cruiser come through the port on Sunday that booked her cruise that morning, and was late to get checked in (probably from the last minute booking). Long story short, it was a bit of work and the pier coordinators had to handle most of it, but we got her checked in... Don't think I could do it...
Due to security measures the new last minute pricing is now 90 days out. Although the cruise lines say they will not be reducing fares last minute meaning 90 days out, I don't think that they are sticking to it.