What is your opinion on how we can go about finding the best LAST MINUTE cruise deals? If we schedule our vacation, but wait till the last minute to book a cruise (to whereever) what places can we go find out what deals are available?
Finding the best price is a real balancing act. You don't want to wait too long because cabin selection reduces your chances of getting the cabin and or category you require. I usually go ahead and book at a price I think is fair and then watch pricing. If there is a reduction in price, I call my travel agent and ask for the reduction. If it is past the final payment, often they will give you an upgrade or on board credit which is just as good as cash.
Also plane fares are often cheaper when purchased quite a bit ahead. The tickets often do not allow any changes. It is possible to wait for the cruise fare to come down only to find that your plane fair has gone up!
My cruise last June to Alaska on the Amsterdam I booked in March. The price only went up after I booked. In fact it more than doubled in cost between when we booked and when the ship sailed. I'm going to be on the Veendam for Thanksgiving and we paid $657 p.p. for outside cabins back on April 30th when we first booked. The price now for the same cabin is over $1050 p.p.
I guess my point is that waiting is not always in your best interest, especially if you find a T.A. that is willing to work for you in the event of a price reduction.
I always do better booking early. I've gotten some great deals by booking one year in advance. I recently booked for Jan 05 on the Millenium for a 7 night Eastern Carib for $500. This particular week was only only time it was offered for this price, plus I got the cabin that I wanted.
There are some great off peak prices as well, especially the one or two weeks before Xmas and right after New Year's and of course September (hurricane season in the Caribbean).
My TA has a website where it shows all the prices for the entire year or even further out and I can see when the lowest prices are. So here I can see the peak and off peak prices.
There are several online agency that have an email list for last minute specials. Also sometimes the cruise lines themselves will email past guests with discounts. May want to sign up with your favorite cruise line.