Last minute cruise tickets - do they still exist?
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Oct 1, 2012 3:32 AM Last Post By: mgtraveler
Sep 30, 2012 6:51 AM
Last minute cruise tickets - do they still exist?Hey all. I have heard about a trick to get on cruise ships, if you're not in a hurry and don't have a specific destination. You can wait around a ferry terminal, and ask about boats leaving with extra beds, unsold. Does anyone know if it's true? Is there a verifiable way to get on cruise ships with no specific destination, and score tickets for severe discounts?
I'd appreciate any stories and advice,many maybe some addresses and phone numbers so I can try it out! Looking to leave east coast America and cruise through the Caribbean.
Thanks form the help.
Sep 30, 2012 10:35 AM
1I don't know about hanging around the ferry terminal, but you can indeed get some great last minute deals. Here are a couple of good websites that can help you find deals: Last Minute Cruise and Cruise Cheap . As you can see, you can find some very good deals when it gets close to the departure date. I've known some folks who live in Florida and have lots of flexibility who've use this approach and they've always been very happy with the results. Note that the prices do NOT include your port fees and taxes which can be somewhat expensive (it could add a few hundred dollars to the cost of your cruise), but that will be true regardless of the price you pay for your cruise since those costs go directly to the ports you are visiting. If it makes you feel any better, please note that you'll also pay similar types of fees to most of the islands even if you land by air, as it is one of the major sources of income for the local governments. No way to avoid it.
If you are interested in finding out more about particular cruise lines, or really anything cruise related, Cruise Critic is an excellent source of information for all things cruise related.
Sep 30, 2012 9:20 PM
Oct 1, 2012 3:32 AM
3You are generally charged for each port you visit as well as your port of departure and each island sets the price they charge the boats. It can also vary by size and type of boat, etc. so I'm not aware of any list you could go to to get an exact estimate. As a rule of thumb, for a 7 day cruise, I'd guesstimate that it could be another $150 - $200 In port fees and another $100 in taxes over the base cost that the cruise line advertises. Also, you'll need to add in tips for the cruise ... a good guesstimate for those would be probably $15 per day. Staff gets paid very little so there is an expectation that tips will be a major part of their salary.
As you can see, there are many "hidden costs" to cruising but out of all the costs I noted above, none goes to the cruise line itself. They charge the low last minute fares to help offset some of their fixed costs and they can also hopefully get you to book some shore excursions with them which can be pretty profitable from their standpoint.
All these taxes and fees are not unlike the charges you get these days when you fly. It's frustrating to book a flight or a cruise and pay as much in taxes and fees as the amount of the flight or cruise itself. If you're frustrated, imagine how frustrated the airline/cruise company is that they have their money at risk, must pay for the equipment, staff, reservation system, etc. and then the government charges as much as they do. Europe is the worst though ... Taxes and fees for airlines or cruises can easily double your cost.
When you fly from island to island in the Caribbean, you'll almost always pay a "departure tax" of $20 - $30 per island. This is similar to the port charges for visitors coming via cruise, although port fees tend to run even a little higher since cruisers are day visitors who spend much less on the island than overnight guests, and the islands tend to charge cruisers a little more. Like cruises, the flights will also be charged taxes and other fees by the local governments and airport facilities as well that are added to the cost of the airline ticket. If you are visiting the island you are going to at these types of charges one way or the other unless you sneak in on a rowboat :).
As for the port fees being included in the Cruise Cheap fares, I would be very surprised if they are on included those last minute deals at those prices so you should confirm that with them or read the fine print very, very carefully. Cruise companies WILL go ahead and charge you for the fees, however, as part of your booking costs (as opposed to paying up at each port of call) and you will get charged whether you disembark or not at the port.
For a wealth of commentary and postings on port fees and the like, check out the bulletin boards at Cruise Critic . There's a lot of lively discussion over there on the topic.
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