I usually do a lot of on-line research. Kayak is my first tool of choice. After find a property (or properties) of interest I check out the hotel's direct site to see if they have any "exclusive" deals.
We did HotWire once on a trip to Boston and NYC. Got the Hilton in Boston (near the Pru and Hynes) for a very good price. In NYC we got a substandard independent hotel. Not very clean, tiny rooms. It did not live up to the definition of 3 stars (that is what it was billed as)
All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by; John Masefield
Carnival: Glory 2004, Destiny 2008, Splendor 2009, Freedom 2011, Valor 2012, Dream 2013
Celebrity: Summit 2011
Princess: Ruby 2010, 2014, Caribbean 2013, Coral 2014, Regal 2014
Star Clippers: Royal Clipper 2015