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IslandHopperPro

Last minute bookings - how much can be saved?

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Hello all

Each year, my wife and I normally book our cruises out of Sydney about a year in advance (usually with RCCI).  Our sailings are also normally done in the January school holiday period due to the fact that my wife is a school teacher.  

My question is:  seeing as we are both retiring in the near future, how much money can be saved by making bookings at a moments notice before a cruise?  Has anyone had any experiences or done well with this sort of thing?

I've tried to do a bit of research on this myself but the cruise season hasn't begun and I don't see last minute offers yet.  Any views or experiences would be appreciated.

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If you are 100% flexible you can get some deals. Other cruises seem to only go up

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If you want a cabin in a particular location you are probably better off booking early and waiting to see if there is a price drop. This has been my way of handling bookings and Princess have always honoured price drops for me. If you leave it until the last minute you only get what is offered in relation to cabins and it may not be to your satisfaction. A late offer may not necessarily be for a cruise that you want.

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Being retired I've picked up quite a few last minute discounted offers,  as have some of our friends. Including a 16 day Sydney/NZ/Perth where we got a great deal. Then two weeks before sailing RCI had spare cabins to unload so they halved the price we got and TWO DAYS before halved it again.

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35 minutes ago, IslandHopperPro said:

Hello all

Each year, my wife and I normally book our cruises out of Sydney about a year in advance (usually with RCCI).  Our sailings are also normally done in the January school holiday period due to the fact that my wife is a school teacher.  

My question is:  seeing as we are both retiring in the near future, how much money can be saved by making bookings at a moments notice before a cruise?  Has anyone had any experiences or done well with this sort of thing?

I've tried to do a bit of research on this myself but the cruise season hasn't begun and I don't see last minute offers yet.  Any views or experiences would be appreciated.

 

Savings are a bit hard to quantify since cruise prices fluctuate so much from initial offering to departure. For Australian sailings I have occasionally picked up last minute cruises at around 50% of the price they were averaging over time.

 

However, during the most recent cruise season it seemed to me that there were far fewer such specials available. It's impossible to predict which cruises will have last minute bargains, so you have to take pot luck.

 

The best time for these is during the cruise season, this is a terrible time of year to be looking for any kind of specials.

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If its a unique itinerary i.e only offer its once a year or occassionally then you be lucky to get a cabin.  If its a well used cruise route which many cruiselines do then you can easily find some bargains (more so outside peak times i.e school holidays, xmas, Easter).

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We have several cruises booked. They were all at significant savings (up to 50%) but none are last-minute. We checked a few of the on-line cruise TAs and booked quickly when we saw that either P&O or Princess had a sale. These were for a limited time, after which the prices went up again.

 

There are a few ways to find these bargains: check the internet every couple of days, check the 'Cheapie cruises' section of this forum or register with several on-line cruise TA's for email notification of their deals. This will probably mean getting emails about a lot of cruises that don't interest you.

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As mentioned, if you are ready to do any cruise, on any ship, in any cabin, on any line at anytime, then there are some great last minute deals to be had. Last minute in this sense is within the month or less. Whether they have any for when you want to go is the real gamble but it really depends on how flexible you can be.

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Before last Xmas for our group of 6 I booked 3 balcony cabins in a good spot for a 13 night cruise to NZ in November. The price we paid is $2598.00 pp. I've been following the prices and as of 2 weeks ago when it must have been the last sale of the cabins the price being asked in the same area on our deck was $4200.00 pp.

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You can absolutely get some great deals last minute – but it really depends on where you are located, and where you want to sail to/from?

 

I book last minute cruises for my parents two or three times a year, and they are constrained by sailing Brisbane/Brisbane so the cruise destinations (and ships) are not terribly exciting, but they just enjoy being on a cruise. I shop on price so they are completely flexible on ship/cabin/timing. If you have your heart set on something in particular then you should book earlier.

 

You have to stay on the ball because cruise deals come and go quickly. If I see a deal I book it straight away, before I even tell my parents about it. No time to dilly-dally! If you've been watching particular cruises you can often get a sense of how well they are selling, and then you'll not be surprised when prices do/don't drop after final payment date has come and gone. Cruise price stalking is basically my hobby so I’m glad that my parents can go at the drop of a hat. It keeps me satisfied, but this poor sucker usually has to work! 

 

Good luck - and happy cruising!

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I'm quite jealous of those able to cruise from the east coast without the added cost of air fares, accommodation etc.  There are currently so few cruises out of Fremantle that they tend to book out very quickly.  As a consequence, not too many specials available for last minute bookings.  CMV offers 2 for 1 cruises from time to time but now that they've canned the Astor, I'm not sure how many will depart from Freo.  

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15 minutes ago, Bubbeh said:

I'm quite jealous of those able to cruise from the east coast without the added cost of air fares, accommodation etc.  There are currently so few cruises out of Fremantle that they tend to book out very quickly.  As a consequence, not too many specials available for last minute bookings.  CMV offers 2 for 1 cruises from time to time but now that they've canned the Astor, I'm not sure how many will depart from Freo.  

 

You will have a new ship 

https://www.cruisecritic.com.au/cruiseto/cruiseitineraries.cfm?cl=137&shipID=1360&taparam=ECCGoogleUS_K376858920_A42845219961_NS&=&supai=264256723818&supsn=g&supmbl=&suppos=1t2&supap1=&supap2=&supdev=t&suprnd=7808009312153635653

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Princess is offering good prices on some cruises at the moment. There is one I like, but it overlaps one we have already booked. If we changed, we would lose our deposit on the one already booked. 😢

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1 hour ago, Kiwi Kruzer said:

Thanks KK, this ship has 'replaced' the Astor which was taken out of service this year.  The itinerary is the same as the Astor's Christmas cruise, we have done this a couple of times and enjoyed ourselves but I'm not sure we would do it again for the sake of doing it, if you now what I mean.  While I enjoyed the previous CMV cruises we did, I'm sort of over smaller ships offering 'a traditional cruising experience'.  I'm afraid that I have been seduced by the additional comfort and options that large - mid size ships like Princess and Royal Carribean offer.  Nevertheless thank you for taking the time to let me know about the Vasco De Gama.

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48 minutes ago, Aus Traveller said:

Princess is offering good prices on some cruises at the moment. There is one I like, but it overlaps one we have already booked. If we changed, we would lose our deposit on the one already booked. 😢

I once was forced to cancel a Princess Cruise because my dad was sick but Princess allowed those of us with another cruise already booked to transfer our deposit to the other booking. My sister didn't have another cruise booked so she lost her deposit, the other 3 of us had ours transferred with no issue. Maybe ask them...

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27 minutes ago, mum and son said:

I once was forced to cancel a Princess Cruise because my dad was sick but Princess allowed those of us with another cruise already booked to transfer our deposit to the other booking. My sister didn't have another cruise booked so she lost her deposit, the other 3 of us had ours transferred with no issue. Maybe ask them...

The cruise we have booked is with P&O. I wanted to cancel (transfer) this booking to a later date so we could book a Princess cruise. I phoned the TA but I had difficulty explaining that I was enquiring about transferring the booking so we wouldn't lose the deposit. She kept explaining the cancellation policy where we would lose the $600 deposit. I then phoned P&O direct, but the answer was the same. My out-of-date P&O brochure allows for a transfer of a booking if it is beyond 120 days, as ours is, but it is obvious that P&O no longer do this.😒

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2 hours ago, Aus Traveller said:

My out-of-date P&O brochure allows for a transfer of a booking if it is beyond 120 days, as ours is, but it is obvious that P&O no longer do this.😒

That's a shame. 

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3 hours ago, Aus Traveller said:

The cruise we have booked is with P&O. I wanted to cancel (transfer) this booking to a later date so we could book a Princess cruise. I phoned the TA but I had difficulty explaining that I was enquiring about transferring the booking so we wouldn't lose the deposit. She kept explaining the cancellation policy where we would lose the $600 deposit. I then phoned P&O direct, but the answer was the same. My out-of-date P&O brochure allows for a transfer of a booking if it is beyond 120 days, as ours is, but it is obvious that P&O no longer do this.😒

P&O have 3 different fares, with the top level you would likely be able to but with the Go fare you would not.

https://www.pocruises.com.au/plan/how-to-book/pricing-structure

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, MicCanberra said:

P&O have 3 different fares, with the top level you would likely be able to but with the Go fare you would not.

https://www.pocruises.com.au/plan/how-to-book/pricing-structure

No it wouldn't. With all their fares, cancellation within six months results in loss of deposit. The cruise is in less than five months' time. 

 

Refund Schedule - based on days prior to cruise departure
181 days or more = Total fare minus deposit amount, 180-76 days = Total fare minus deposit amount, 75-31 days = 25% of total fare, 30-15 days = 10% of total fare, 14 days or less = No refund

 

We did get a really good price, so we will go and enjoy the cruise anyway.

Edited by Aus Traveller

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Ah well, I just knew they had these differing fare structures and I knew that one offers more and also flexibility but you have to pay for it.

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On 7/19/2019 at 9:54 AM, IslandHopperPro said:

Hello all

Each year, my wife and I normally book our cruises out of Sydney about a year in advance (usually with RCCI).  Our sailings are also normally done in the January school holiday period due to the fact that my wife is a school teacher.  

My question is:  seeing as we are both retiring in the near future, how much money can be saved by making bookings at a moments notice before a cruise?  Has anyone had any experiences or done well with this sort of thing?

I've tried to do a bit of research on this myself but the cruise season hasn't begun and I don't see last minute offers yet.  Any views or experiences would be appreciated.

There’s absolutely not rules with finding a bargain with RC ,you think you did the right thing and got a bargain,then the price drops.

My theory is be happy with what you got and enjoy,I’ve met people on cruises that are burning with anger that the prices dropped,ruined their holidays.

 

My guide lines are ,if you want a specific cabin such as a grand suite on the hump just book it because the premium cabins don’t fluctuate much.

If your flexible just after the final payment date which is about 3 months before departure unsold cabins can be heavily discounted.

Some of the cabin may not be desirable but there’s usually some good ones.

 

we got a balcony on the hump on Ovation for 12 nights around NZ last Feb for $1800 each. That was a spur of the minute booking 10 weeks before departure.

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Yes, I must say that if I am happy with the price I pay for a cruise I just do it. If a price drop comes later and Princess give it to me after calling them then that is a bonus. If I was not satisfied with the original price on offer I would not have taken it up in the first place.

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On 7/21/2019 at 9:03 AM, Chiliburn said:

There’s absolutely not rules with finding a bargain with RC ,you think you did the right thing and got a bargain,then the price drops.

My theory is be happy with what you got and enjoy,I’ve met people on cruises that are burning with anger that the prices dropped,ruined their holidays.

 

My guide lines are ,if you want a specific cabin such as a grand suite on the hump just book it because the premium cabins don’t fluctuate much.

If your flexible just after the final payment date which is about 3 months before departure unsold cabins can be heavily discounted.

Some of the cabin may not be desirable but there’s usually some good ones.

 

we got a balcony on the hump on Ovation for 12 nights around NZ last Feb for $1800 each. That was a spur of the minute booking 10 weeks before departure.

Please can you tell me what “the hump”is.

Cheers Carole

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