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If you’re able to book a cruise on short notice, pay attention to last-minute cruise deals from all the major cruise lines. We’ve seen incredible savings from Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Celebrity, Margaritaville, and even Disney. Just a fair warning, cruise prices aren’t set in stone and can fluctuate throughout the day, so if you see your perfect bargain getaway, it’s best to book ASAP.
Here are the top places to find cheap cruise deals no matter when you’re setting sail.
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1. Book a Margaritaville cruise when they’re BOGO free.
You can’t beat the all-around vacation vibes of the Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville franchise, and now the brand has cruises, too. For a limited time, their 3-day, 2-night Bahamas cruise was BOGO free for sailings through Dec. 31, 2023. The cruise leaves from Palm Beach, Florida, and travels to Grand Bahama Island.
Fares are usually pretty reasonable ($129 & up for an interior room), and they frequently offer this buy 1 get 1 free promotion. Check the Margaritaville at Sea website for all the latest last-minute deals. They don’t include taxes, fees, or gratuities in the fares listed on their site, so mentally add about $116 per person to cover those.
Here’s a great deal on a Margaritaville cruise I found when I looked about two weeks out from the sailing date:
- 2-night Bahamas cruise from the Port of Palm Beach, Florida: $149 for two people in an Interior room (50% off)
Related: You can get a free Margaritaville at Sea cruise if you’re a member of the military, police, teacher, or first responder.
2. Check the Royal Caribbean website for 30% off and kids sail free perks.
Mega cruise lines like Royal Caribbean usually have some sort of “limited time” deals going on — complete with that anxiety-inducing countdown clock to make you feel like you have to book NOW. But if you visit the deals section of the Royal Caribbean website often, you’ll see that their sales actually happen quite often.
In December 2022, we saw a deal for 30% off all cruises. Plus, they have the popular “Royal Caribbean Kids Sail Free” deal through Jan. 2, 2023. The WOW sale in February is known for giving you free onboard spending credits of $50 or more. You can also subscribe to their email list to get an easy $50 off your next sailing.
Here’s one Royal Caribbean cruise deal I found in September 2022:
- 4-night Western Caribbean cruise from Galveston, Texas: $179 per person, for two guests in an Interior room (30% off)
TIP: After you book a Royal Caribbean cruise, look to see if the price drops within 48 hours. If so, call 1-866-562-7625 or fill out the online form for the Best Price Guarantee program. You’ll get reimbursed the difference in an onboard spending credit or a rate adjustment on your final bill.
3. Book a last-minute Carnival cruise to save 35% – 40%.
Carnival Cruise Line has all sorts of last-minute cruise deals they announce on their website. During their “Unwrap Fun” promotion in winter 2022, you can get 40% off cruise rates, reduced deposits, and $50 (or more) in onboard spending credits. Their sales can be as quick as 72 hours, so you’ll want to check back often, especially during the busy summer months.
Here’s a Carnival cruise deal I saw in September 2022:
- 4-night Bahamas cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida: $114 per person, for two guests in an Interior room
Fares don’t include taxes, fees, or gratuities, so add about $124 per person (plus gratuities) for the deal above. But it’s still an awesome price when you consider that it includes the room, entertainment, and all meals.
TIP: If you book a Carnival cruise far enough in advance (90+ days before sailing), you can apply for financing through Uplift with no money down and 0% APR for up to 18 months. Check the Carnival site to see if you qualify.
4. Use the ’90-Day Cruise Ticker’ on VacationsToGo.com to save up to 85%.
The site isn’t much to look at aesthetically, but the deals shared on Vacations To Go’s 90-Day Ticker are legit (you’ll need to sign up for a free VacationsToGo.com account in order to access it). The site brings together last-minute cruise deals from all the major cruise lines. You’ll have to act fast if you see anything good — many of the offers sell out in minutes.
By default, the list of markdowns is organized by sailing date, but you can also sort the list by departure port, number of nights, ship rating, price, or percentage off. They also tell you whether or not proof of vaccination is required.
Here’s one amazing Alaska cruise deal I saw on the 90-day ticker in September 2022:
- 7-night Norwegian cruise to Anchorage, Alaska, from Vancouver, B.C.: $399 per person, for two guests in an Interior room (reg. $2,716) — that’s 85% off!
TIP: Sign up for the free Vacations To Go Cruise Newsletter to get the deals sent to your email inbox every week.
5. Book cruises through Costco Travel to earn 2% cash back and free Costco Shop Cards.
As if we all needed another reason to love Costco, they have nice perks for cruisers, too. You can find deals on their website from all the major cruise lines, including Carnival, Celebrity, Disney Cruise Line, Princess, Royal Caribbean, and more.
While anyone can browse Costco’s cruise deals, you have to be a member to actually book one. If you reserve through Costco Travel or transfer an existing cruise reservation over to Costco, you’ll get a free Costco Shop Card (their version of a gift card) that you’ll get within four to six weeks after you return. The amount of the gift card depends on the amount you spend.
If you’re a Costco Executive member, you’ll also earn 2% cash back on all your travel purchases, including cruise bookings.
Here’s an example of the benefits of booking this 3-night Disney Wish cruise to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral, Florida, with Costco Travel:
- $3,413.68 total, including taxes and fees, for two adults & two children in an Interior room (this is the same price as booking directly through Disney)
- Free Costco Shop Card: $260
- 2% Cash Back for Executive Members: $68.27
That comes out to $328.27 back in your pocket just by booking through Costco.
Related: Did you know you don’t have to be a Costco member to go on a vacation booked through Costco Travel? Learn how it works.
6. Hunt for Disney cruise deals on their Special Offers page to save up to 35%.
Let’s be honest — it’s almost impossible to find deals on Disney cruises, especially if you’re booking at the last minute. But if you’re determined to find a deal, you’re going to need to start checking their Special Offers page religiously.
Here are some Disney special offers you might see throughout the year:
- 50% off deposits on select cruises — happening now through Feb. 17, 2023!
- Select domestic sailings up to 35% off
- Florida residents save up to 35%
- “Children Sail Free” promotions
- $300 statement credit for new Disney Premier Visa card members
- Free dining offers (typically in September, November, and December)
- Play, Stay, Dine & Save discounts (usually offered in the spring)
- Special offers for Disney Plus subscribers
Related: See more of our best strategies to save on Disney cruises.
7. Black Friday cruise deals and Cyber Monday sales will save you 30% or more.
You’ll want to look closely at the fine print of any deals you see and also weigh their overall value. Getting free onboard Wi-Fi may sound like a good perk, but in most cases, it’s only going to save you about $15 – $30 a day.
Here were the Black Friday cruise deals we saw in 2022:
- Royal Caribbean: 30% off every guest and up to $600 in savings per stateroom
- Celebrity: 75% off the second guest in a stateroom and $50 – $200 in onboard spending credit
- Princess: select sailings under $60 per day or under $100 per day, plus deposits from $1
- Norwegian: second guest sails free
- MSC Cruises: up to 40% off cruises, free drinks, free Wi-Fi, and up to $200 in onboard spending credit
8. Wait for ‘Kids Sail Free’ promotions from Princess, Royal Caribbean, and more.
If you’re traveling with children or young teens, the “Kids Sail Free” cruise offers are like gold. Most promotions require that your children are booked as your third and fourth guests and stay in the same cabin as you.
The great part? You can combine Kids Sail Free offers with other discounts and savings.
Here are the cruise lines that offer Kids Sail Free promotions at various times during the year:
- MSC Cruises: ages two and under ALWAYS sail free; ages 17 and under sail free during special promotions
- Princess: ages 17 and under sail free during special promotions
- Royal Caribbean: ages 12 and under sail free during special promotions
- Norwegian: third and fourth guests sail free during special promotions
- Disney: third and fourth guests sail free during special (rare) promotions
TIP: If you’re a Disney Plus subscriber, cash in on this Disney cruise deal through April 2023.
9. Repositioning cruise deals (aka one-way cruises) can save you up to 75%.
At the end of a season, many cruise lines have to relocate their ships to another port in a better climate. Rather than making the trip without passengers, they make it a bookable journey and call it a one-way repositioning cruise. If you’re okay with starting and ending your cruise in a totally different place, you’ll often be able to sail for less per day than you would with the normal itinerary.
Although searching for repositioning cruises can be a challenge, RepositioningCruise.com makes finding them fairly easy. You can book months in advance on several cruise lines; however, we saw last-minute deals that can save you up to 75%.
We found a 13-night cruise from San Diego, California, to Papeete, Tahiti, aboard the Windstar Star Breeze for $1,799 per person (regularly $7,196) for two people in a balcony suite. That’s a savings of 75%! Just budget some extra money for your flight back home.
TIP: Looking for airfare deals? We found out exactly when to book your flight to save the most money.
10. Shop AAA cruise deals to lock in member savings and freebies.
AAA is more than a roadside assistance service. Yes, you can find some last-minute cruise deals with AAA, but you’ll need a valid membership to book.
We recently found a 3-night Royal Caribbean cruise to Ensenada, Baja California, from Los Angeles for $299 per person in an interior stateroom. After fees and taxes, the total was $994.41, which came out to a savings of 30% off the regular price. The AAA offer also included several amenities:
- Complimentary bottle of sparkling wine
- Free welcome fruit basket
- $25 onboard credit
11. Norwegian cruise deals and off-season discounts can save you 40% – 70%.
Look for Norwegian Cruise Line’s current deals for cheap last-minute deals that’ll save you up to 40% on regular prices.
They have a range of ever-changing promotions, including holiday sales like their “Free at Sea” promotion during Labor Day. During the Labor Day sale, you could get 40% off all cruises plus your third and fourth guests cruised for free. The other “Free at Sea” goodies were a free open bar, free specialty dining, free Wi-Fi, and free excursions.
If you can wait to book a cruise until the off-season, you might get an even better deal. In January 2022, Norwegian’s offers during their New Year’s Sale included 70% off your second guest plus free add-ons worth up to $4,250:
- Open bar
- Specialty dining
- Extra third and fourth guests free
- Roundtrip airfare for a second guest
- $250 CruiseFirst certificate for a future booking
12. Score 87% off a last-minute getaway with Expedia cruise deals.
When you’re searching for low-priced cruises, be sure to check ExpediaCruises.com (yes, that Expedia). We found a last-minute cruise deal that came out to 87% off.
- 4-night Bahamas cruise on the Carnival Liberty from Port Canaveral, Florida: $129 per person (reg. $1,069)
With this deal, you got a free room upgrade and a $25 onboard spending credit. Adding taxes and fees, the total came out to just $503.72.
13. Celebrity cruise deals can save you up to 57%.
We found most last-minute Celebrity cruises depart from places like British Columbia, Spain, and Italy. However, a few “cruise only” specials (not including flights) depart from U.S. locations like Los Angeles, San Diego, and Fort Lauderdale.
- 7-night Mexican Riviera cruise onboard the Celebrity Solstice from Los Angeles, California: $500 per person (reg. $1,520) for an ocean-view stateroom. After taxes and fees, the final price was $1,283.58 for two people (57% savings).
- 15-night Panama Canal Eastbound cruise aboard the Celebrity Millennium from San Diego, California: $772 per person (reg. $2,684) for an interior stateroom. After taxes and fees, the final price was $2,340.76 for two people (56% savings).
- 9-night Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao cruise on the Celebrity Equinox from Fort Lauderdale, Florida: $796 per person (reg. $1,954) for an interior stateroom. With taxes and fees, the final price was $1,860.62 for two people (52% savings).
TIP: Going solo? Check out our tips on how you can avoid paying single-occupancy fees.
14. Check CruisePlum for cheap cruise deals that can save you up to 61%.
Want to compare or track current prices on cruises based on options like the cruise line, cabin type, and the number of passengers? If so, CruisePlum.com should be your go-to website, especially the Last Minute Deals page.
Recently using their site, we found a 4-day Royal Caribbean cruise on the Freedom of the Seas from Orlando, Florida, for just $167 per person for two people in an interior room. Once you added in all the extras like taxes and port charges, the price came to $358 per person, or a savings of 61% on the regular base fare.