With a bit of savvy and patience, last minute cruise auctions could help you book a world-class vacation at a sizable discount. Just think, one day you're searching for a holiday deal; next, you're preparing to set sail on a luxury voyage. It all begins with a bid.
Bidding for a Last Minute Cruise Bargain
In travel terms, "last-minute" cruises are sailings that are two to three months away. The reason being, ships have a cut-off date for cancellations before penalties are applied. Thus, by this deadline, they have a good idea of how many staterooms and suites are available. These are the cabins that go on sale and some go on auction.
To take advantage of last-minute cruise auctions, you need to be persistent, checking websites daily for the latest deals. Most auctions last 14 days and you'll want to compare and contrast packages within that time. Factors that may influence your bid include destination, return port, and date of departure. For starters, see what's available at the providers below.
To place a bid and compete, consider:
- SkyAuction.com: In 1999, SkyAuction.com entered the travel-auction marketplace and has had over 850,000 auction winners since. Its cruise deals are constantly changing, with minimum bids that fall within most everyone's price range.
- eBay: Known the world over for its auctions, eBay categorizes its cruise packages by destination, departure port, cruise line, and length of cruise. At any given time, find over 100 cruises ready for bids.
- Luxury Link: Specializing in ultra-luxury travel, Luxury Link allows you to bid for your dream vacation. Check available cruises by destination.
Tips Before You Bid
If you're ready to get away, then a last-minute cruise may just be the answer. Typically, you'll have a few months to prepare and then, you're off to a beautiful locale on board an all-inclusive liner. To help you get there, keep in mind these tips when talking last minute:
- Compare and contrast: Budget gurus advise us to not grocery-shop when we're hungry. The same for travelers eager to go on holiday - "everything looks good!" While deals are certainly available when it comes to auctions, you'll still want to exercise a bit of patience and savvy when placing your bids. Compare and contrast the deals out there; read the fine print; then make your move.
- The fine print: Auctions are great, but they also have inherent limits. Unlike when you book a cruise directly, you won't be able to make any special requests. Thus, you'll need to read the fine print and know exactly what you're getting before you commit.
- Factor in airfare: Unless you live near a port of departure, you'll need to book a flight. While plane tickets can be reasonable these days, they still contribute to the overall cost of the cruise -- especially if you need to fly back from a different port. Check the fare before bidding, keeping in mind that plane ticket rates can go up quickly!
- Be prepared to commit: If you bid on a cruise, you must follow through with your purchase if you win. Avoid bidding on multiple cruises at the same time - you won't find your great deal to be such a bargain if you are obligated to purchase multiple packages.
Enjoy the Challenge
Bidding is not the same thing as looking for a last minute cruise bargain. While travel sites like Travelocity and Expedia also offer a number of cruise discounts, you won't find any auctions. If you like the challenge of bidding - and you're willing to take your chances, an auction just might be the best way for you to go!