Hello there. I checked other messages on this board going back to the begining of September for something like this, so please forgive me if this was posted earlier.
I once heard on the news (Paul Harvey to be exact) several months ago that it's possible to go on a cruise at pracitcally the last second and get a dirt cheap rate. What was said was that you go down to the dock with your luggage, go to one of the desks and ask if there are any availible cabins for that days cruise left. Rather then leave a cabin empty, a cruise line may offer any cabins left at a dirt cheap rate just to fill up a room. But then again they may not. I emailed Carnival with this info and did not get any response from them, I believe for obvious reasons. Has anybody else ever heard of this? Have you tried it & did you get a great rate? And what would be the best way to go about doing this?
Sign up at Carnival for news on specials. I got a email last week about a 5 day cruise on the Sensation out of Tampa for $199 that started today. You can't just go down to the pier anymore because they do mini background checks on you.
You can sometimes get very good last minute deals but here is the catch...You CANNOT just go to the pier and purchase a ticket. Not done, impossible, period. You CAN get notifications directly from the cruiseline with dates being about a week away. You need to sign up for these "specials' on the CCL website. You can also if you have a good relationship with a TA have them notify you of any last minute cruise sales that cross their desk. Again, these are at least a week away. You can even check the Cruise Bazaar area of Cruisemates as our advertisers are able to, and often do, post last minute specials that are hot off the presses. Again, this is all great if you know what you are doing and are near a port. The killer for many is air fare is usually very high for last minute plans.
I've been given a TINY bit of consideration to buying my air fare to Miami in advance and then playing a waiting game to see if I can luck out with a last minute great price on a cruise. Haven't decided whether to take the chance or not. I'd hate to end up with NO cruise...
Anyone ever taken a chance like that and ended up with a good deal - or stuck with no cruise??
Jim's advise is probably more up to date than mine on this but years ago (prior to 9/11) the couple across the hall from us in the inside cabin told us that they drive to the port and check to see what is available and that they got really good deals. You might try calling Carnival a day or two before you hope to cruise and see what they can do for you.
February 25, 2011
Not anymore. The cruiseline will do a security check on you prior to issuing tickets which can't be done at the pier.
As Jim says, if you can drive to the pier you have a better chance of getting a good deal since you avoid the last minute sky high airfares. One week in advance of sailing is probably as close as you can get.
Since 9/11 don't you have to be booked 72 hrs in advance. No more walk ups. In Miami you need your cruise documents to even get in the port area.
Anytime in a month before sailing you can check with a TA or any of the many online cruise brokers and find some good deals. Then you might be able to still get a decent airfare if you have 14 or 21 days notice.
Just be aware that the cruise fares don't always go down at the last minute. We are sailing on sunday and the fares for our cruise have gone way up, much higher then what we paid.