I'd look about 6-8 months out and find the best deal. Usually, if there's a fare decrease your TA will make it up to you in onboard credit. Gratuities are added to your account the moment you board, figure $10 per day per person. Excursions are extra, figure min $50 per person per port. They're not necessary, you can always grab a cab or just flop on a beach. Consider the weather when booking. The Bahamas are always the cheapest, but there's a reason for that. IMO, the 5 day western caribbean cruises just blow away the Bahamas and the weather is better in winter when the rates are low. Take a look at Inspiration outta Tampa to Grand Cayman/Cozumel or Imagination outta Miami to Grand Cayman/Ocho Rios. Most staterooms are 185 SF. The Cat 4 are inside staterooms with NO WINDOWS. This may be a problem for your hubby, so you 'd probably want at least a Cat 6 oceanview. You can save yourself a few bucks by booking Cat 6 "guarantee". Carnival will place you in a Cat 6A stateroom OR BETTER of THEIR choosing. If you're prone to seasickness, better to choose your own room on the lowest deck midship. Further up, fore, or aft the more the ship moves. The cruises are all inclusive except drinks, gambling, massages, hairdressers etc. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, pizza, deli, poolside grill, 24 hour room service, shows all included in the fare.