ON LOOKOUT FOR LAST-MINUTE DEALS

As the Australian cruise season winds down P&O cruise ships based in Sydney and Brisbane year-round offer special deals on cruises to the South Pacific islands.
As Australia’s cruise season winds down P&O ships based in Sydney and Brisbane year-round offer special deals on South Pacific cruises.

TIME-rich travellers ready to leave home at a moment’s notice are often lucky enough to grab great value cruise deals on ships that  sail within weeks to diverse regions of the world.

True, security now prevents a would-be passenger turning up at a cruise port with suitcase in hand to see if there is a spare cabin on board a ship. These days cruise lines must give passenger information to relevant authorities days before embarkation.

Last-minute deals for sailings are widely advertised two or three months before departure that coincide with the last opportunity passengers have to cancel a cruise without penalty. At this point cruise lines know how many cabins are available, and are likely to reduce fares at the eleventh-hour to fill those beds.

It helps to belong to a cruise line’s loyalty programme for frequent cruisers as members are notified of special deals as they come up.

The internet is a great resource for nabbing last-minute deals on cruise line websites as well as from travel agencies that specialize in cruising such as Cruiseabout, an arm of Flight Centre, cruiseabout.com.au; specialist cruise travel company Cruise Away, cruiseaway.com.au; and the American based Vacations To Go which is a clearing house for discounted cruises worldwide, vacationstogo.com

Calendar-wise, there are rarely bargains on Christmas, New Year, Easter, or school holiday sailings, but there are likely to be good deals before and after those major holiday breaks.

Those who snap up a discounted cruise fare need to be flexible as what is available at that later stage is what is left over so be sure to read the small print. An inside cabin is no bargain for those who suffer from claustrophobia, while an outside cabin may have an obstructed view to a lifeboat that blocks out light as australiancruisingnews.com has experienced.

Finally, those who are keen to nab a cruise bargain at the eleventh-hour should make sure their passport is up-to-date so that they can leave at a moment’s notice.

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