In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in a monotonous routine. That’s why many people find the idea of going on a cruise so appealing. Traveling is important for our well-being, but unfortunately, it can be expensive, especially with the current high inflation rates. However, there is good news: last-minute cruise deals! These deals offer the opportunity to embark on an exciting sea journey and enjoy luxury amenities at a fraction of the usual cost.

However, it’s not always a straightforward affair. Snagging a better deal at the last minute might not align with every traveler’s plan or preference. Though it may not be the perfect option for everyone, choosing a last-minute cruise can be a financially savvy move, particularly for those who thrive on spontaneity and flexibility in their travel plans.

What Are Last Minute Cruises?

Last-minute cruises are practical solutions for cruise lines to fill unsold cabins as the departure date nears. This approach benefits both the cruise lines and travelers looking for a good deal. Almost every major cruise line, including names like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, offers last-minute bookings. These cruises are ideal for those who are flexible with their travel plans and are looking for a more affordable cruising option.

guy in a gray top looking at his watch

Do Cruise Prices Always Go Down Last Minute?

While it’s often true that cruise prices can decrease as the departure date approaches, it’s not a guarantee that last-minute cruises are always the cheapest. The real strategy is to compare options. Sometimes, booking in advance might offer better savings, especially with early saver deals and booking discounts, you may even get deals like kids sail free, free drinks, or other great benefits.

holland america cruise ship docked by the mountains

Cruise lines do appreciate bookings made in advance, and they often reward early planners with discounts. This doesn’t mean you should overlook last-minute deals, though. Flexibility is key. If you’re open to different itineraries and dates, a last-minute cruise can offer significant savings.

However, if you’re looking for a quick getaway, finding deals on popular routes during peak seasons can be challenging. Ultimately, if you’re willing to be flexible and keep an eye out for deals, last-minute cruises can be a great way to save money.

What are the Advantages of Last-Minute Cruise Deals?

Last-minute cruise deals come with several advantages, starting with great fare opportunities. These deals often feature some of the best prices available, making them a smart choice for budget-conscious travelers. Although you might not get typical perks like preferred cabin selections or seasonal promotions such as upgraded drink packages or onboard credits, the savings can be substantial.

In addition to financial benefits, opting for a last-minute cruise can lead you to explore unexpected destinations. With cruises covering various global locations, you could find yourself discovering captivating places you hadn’t considered before.

mountain and ocean view from the top

The element of surprise adds a unique charm to your travel experience. Furthermore, last-minute cruises are perfect for embracing spontaneity, allowing you to make the most of any sudden free time. These cruises offer the excitement and freedom to break from routine. They are particularly ideal for flexible travelers, such as retirees or those without rigid work schedules, offering an excellent way to enjoy unplanned vacations and embrace new experiences on the sea. In line with this spontaneity, if you decide to add another person to your cruise after booking, most cruise lines are quite accommodating, as long as there is availability and the room can support an additional guest.

How Much Can I Save on a Last-Minute Cruise?

When it comes to savings on a last-minute cruise, the potential is quite significant, but it varies based on several factors. These include the method and timing of your booking, as well as the specific deals you manage to find.

In some scenarios, it’s entirely possible to save 50% or more on the original price. Even more impressively, deals for cruises departing in the next 30 days can sometimes offer discounts ranging from 60% to 70%.

person counting money on a table with coffee

However, such massive savings are not a guarantee. This is where your research skills come into play. By thoroughly comparing different options, you might stumble upon similarly attractive deals that fit your travel plans.

How to Find a Last-Minute Cruise Deal?

Whether you want to set sail for Key West, sail to the Middle East, book a Norwegian getaway, or simply do some whale watching, here are a few ways to find the best last-minute cruise opportunities:

  1. Check Cruise Line Websites: Regularly visit the websites of leading cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line. They often have dedicated sections for last-minute deals.
  2. Use Price Comparison Tools: Make use of online price comparison tools such as Expedia, Priceline, and TripAdvisor. These platforms can help you scout and compare various last-minute cruise deals efficiently.
  3. Explore Cruise-Specific Booking Platforms: Websites tailored to cruise bookings often feature exclusive last-minute offers. These platforms can cater to your specific cruise preferences and needs.
  4. Subscribe for Email Alerts: To ensure you’re always in the loop, subscribe to email alerts from your favorite cruise lines. This way, you’ll be among the first to know about new deals, giving you a head start in booking those sought-after last-minute cruises.

When looking for last-minute cruise deals, it’s crucial to review the booking terms carefully. Be wary of nonrefundable offers and make sure you fully understand the cancellation policies to avoid any unexpected costs. Also, consider the gratuity policies of the cruise line, as these fees are typically mandatory and can add a significant amount to your overall cost. Knowing whether you have to pay gratuities and how much they will be is an essential part of budgeting for your cruise.

woman booking an online summer sale holding a card

Also, when calculating your total travel costs, don’t forget to consider additional expenses. This is especially important for last-minute bookings, as airfare costs can be significantly higher. Lastly, keep in mind that with last-minute deals, your options for cabins and extras might be limited. There may also be increased costs for add-ons like drink packages or excursions, which can impact your overall budget and experience.

Why You Should Consider a Cruise During the Shoulder Season?

Cruising, much like any other travel industry sector, operates on the principles of supply and demand. Naturally, there are peak times throughout the year when cruises are in high demand – think holidays, summer breaks, and other popular vacation periods.

Additionally, the appeal of certain itineraries can vary based on the season, making some months more ideal for cruising to specific destinations. As a result, traveling during these peak seasons typically comes with a higher price tag due to increased demand.

jewel of the seas docked beside another ship

This is why it is best to book during the shoulder season – that sweet spot between the peak and low seasons. During these periods, demand dips, resulting in a larger number of available cabins or staterooms on cruises.

For travelers with flexible schedules, this can be an opportune time to snag a luxurious stateroom, like a balcony cabin, at a fraction of its usual cost. By dedicating time to research and compare prices for cruises during the shoulder season, you can potentially score a fantastic last-minute deal.

Look Out for a Repositioning Cruise for Better Savings

While exploring your options, it’s also worth considering a repositioning cruise. Unlike standard cruises, which typically return you to your starting port or a predetermined port, repositioning cruises – sometimes referred to as one-way cruises – begin and end in different ports.

These cruises often involve longer ocean crossings with ample time spent at sea. Due to their unique structure, repositioning cruises don’t sell out as quickly as more traditional routes, often resulting in significant savings for passengers.

view of the ocean with a cruise ship and a yacht

However, it’s important to factor in the potential extra costs, such as airfare. Since you’ll be starting and ending in different ports, you might need to book two one-way flights, which can be pricey. But there’s a workaround – using an airline credit card to cover flight costs can help reduce your overall expenses, making repositioning cruises an attractive option for those looking to save.

With a bit of strategic planning, opting for a repositioning cruise can be a smart way to enjoy a unique cruising experience while keeping your budget in check.


Last-minute cruise deals present an array of opportunities for travelers looking to explore the seas at more affordable prices. They offer the excitement of unexpected destinations, the thrill of spontaneity, and significant savings. However, it’s important to balance these benefits with potential limitations, such as restrictions on cabin selection and the possibility of higher ancillary costs.

Every traveler should weigh these factors against their personal preferences and travel circumstances to make the most informed decision. For more insights into cruising, including a wealth of tips and tricks to enhance your sea voyages, keep checking out the Funky Cruise blog. It’s your go-to source for staying updated and making the most of every cruise opportunity.


Are cruises cheaper last minute?

Last-minute cruises can be cheaper due to cruise lines’ efforts to fill unsold cabins. However, the extent of the discount varies and isn’t guaranteed. These deals are often for cabins that didn’t sell during the regular booking period. While you can find significant savings, it’s important to compare prices and consider the limitations of last-minute bookings, such as cabin availability and added travel costs.

Do cruises get cheaper the closer the date?

Cruise may be offered at reduced rates as the departure date approaches, primarily to ensure full occupancy. However, this isn’t a steadfast rule. Discounts on last-minute bookings depend on the cruise’s popularity, destination, and season. While there’s potential for lower prices, it’s crucial to balance this with the constraints of last-minute travel, including limited cabin choices and potentially higher travel expenses.

Are last-minute cruise deals good?

Last-minute cruise deals can be advantageous, offering substantial savings compared to regular prices. They’re ideal for flexible travelers open to exploring various destinations. However, the quality of these deals can vary. Potential downsides include limited cabin options and fewer amenities or add-ons. It’s essential to weigh these factors and assess whether the savings justify the potential compromises in choice and convenience.